Ed Hugus

Ed Hugus

30/6/1923 - 7/7/2006

Hugus started racing in 1952. Between 1956 and 1966 he drove at Le Mans every year, finishing in the top 10 five times. In 1957 he took a class class win with De Beaufort. In 1965 Hugus was a reserve driver for the Ferrari 250LM of Maston Gregory and Rindt that won the race. Ed maintained that he took the wheel for two hours in the middle of the race but it was never recorded.

Hugus grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and Ohio. After World War II, which he spent as a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific, he went to work for a friend at the first import car dealership in Wheeling, West Virginia. Eventually Hugus established his own dealership in Pittsburgh, European Cars, and became the second Ferrari dealer in the U.S.

He started racing in 1952 with Jags, MGs, and Alfas, and was an early sports car enthusiast, helping to establish the Steel Cities Region of the S.C.C.A.

Hugus went to France in 1956 and entered Le Mans in an 1100 cc Cooper with John Bentley, finishing 8th overall. Hugus struck up a friendship with the ACO Clerk of Course, Jacques Loste. Loste told him that he could have an entry for the race anytime he wanted. He was a good friend with Luigi Chinetti and Hugus's carte blanche entry at Le Mans gave Chinetti a way to enter some of his cars before he established the North American Racing Team (NART).

Between 1956 and 1966 he drove in the 24-hour race every year, finishing in the top 10 five times.

In 1957, he drove a Porsche 550 RS with Count Carel De Beaufort finishing 8th overall and 1st in class. De Beaufort collected the Shell prize money and promptly left, failing to share it with Hugus.

In 1958 he passed on a chance to test at the Indy 500 preferring to stick to his first love of endurance racing.

When Shelby Cobras first appeared in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1963, one entered by Carroll Shelby, the other by Hugus.

In 1964 Hugus drove a GTO, but retired when the rear axle literally blew up sending pieces of differential into the crowd, injuring a couple of people. Another piece apparently went through Briggs Cunningham's trousers.

The 1965 race has a degree of controversy. Hugus was down as a reserve driver for the Chinetti entry of Gregory and Rindt however the record book shows no indication that Ed Hugus drove the winning car. Ed maintains that he took the wheel of the winning Ferrari 250LM for two hours in the middle of the race. Apparently Masten Gregory was struggling with tiredness, so at around 1 a.m. he made a pit stop and Ed took the wheel until 3 a.m..

It is possible that in the middle of the night few people would have been paying much attention and had officials found out, the car would almost certainly have been disqualified. Hugus did ride on the car during its victory lap, but it was not uncommon for crewmembers and others associated with the winning car to do that.

In 1968, he sold his Pittsburgh car interests and moved to Florida to become a BMW distributor for the southeastern United States. Mr. Hugus moved to Pebble Beach in 1992, where he lived until his death.

historicracing.com

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