Today the words “Tour de France” are usually associated with a grueling bicycle race, the highest-profile and most important race in the cycling world. But from 1899 to 1986 it was also a car race, and like the bicycle race, it took place over several days and in a wide variety of conditions. Since it included circuit races, hill climbs and a drag race, it required a thoroughly well rounded car, and Ferrari had just the thing in the mid-’50s. The 250 GT LWB Berlinetta would dominate this race during the second half of the ’50s, and racing versions of the 250 GT LWB would adopt the “Tour de France” name.

The 250 GT LWB Berlinetta Competizione was the most successful racing model of the whole 250 series, taking more wins than even the legendary 1962-1964 Ferrari 250 GTO. The Tour de France cars also served as the inspiration for the GTO; the GTO was essentially just an updated version of the same idea a few years later. And even though it is a Competizione model, sold to be a race car and bought new by a racing team, it is still absolutely beautiful.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ’Tour de France’ by Scaglietti.

  • 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ’Tour de France’ by Scaglietti
  • Year:
    1958
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V12
  • Transmission:
    four-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    263
  • Displacement:
    2953 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    149 mph
  • Price:
    4500000
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 'Tour de France' by Scaglietti Exterior
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1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 'Tour de France' by Scaglietti Exterior
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1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 'Tour de France' by Scaglietti Exterior
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Unlike the later GTO cars, there is little difference between the bodywork of the Competizione “Tour de France” cars and the regular 250 GT LWB Berlinetta. This being an early 250 model, the design is simpler than those to come along during the ’60s, but it is still every bit as elegant and eye-catching. The body was made by Scaglietti but was based on the design of the 250 Europa by Pininfarina, the first roadgoing 250, which debuted at the Paris Motor Show just two years before the 250 GT LWB Berlinetta came along in 1956.

This being a race car, the body is made of aluminum, even though the look of the car is otherwise the same. The one big difference in the design is the addition of cooling vents in the front fenders, but this was the only thing that identified it as a racing car until the first owner put the numbers on. This car is also one of the first examples of a 250 with covered headlights, although more would come later.

Interior

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 'Tour de France' by Scaglietti Interior
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1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 'Tour de France' by Scaglietti Interior
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1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 'Tour de France' by Scaglietti Interior
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You might be expecting to see a stripped-out interior in this car, given how many GTOs have bare metal interiors and that this isn’t even a homologation car, but a full-on racer. There are probably some Tour de France cars without interiors, but this is not one of them. The car has a full interior, with leather seats, carpet and a full dash. This surely added weight, but given the long string of racing wins that these cars racked up, that doesn’t seem to have mattered much.

Drivetrain

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 'Tour de France' by Scaglietti Exterior
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As with all 250s, this car used a 3.0-liter version of the Colombo V12. Some version of this engine powered just about all of Ferrari’s road cars during the ’50s and ’60s, as well as flagship models in the ’70s and ’80s, and it was seriously capable and versatile engine. The 250 was the first road-going car to use it, and the Tour de France was therefore using an early version of it. Power ratings actually vary from car to car; this one is rated at 263 horsepower, but it’s entirely possible that it wasn’t always. One of the car’s owners swapped the engine out for one from a later version of the 250, but the original engine was tracked down and put back in by a later owner.

The two were swapped back and forth over the years, and the original engine is back in now, having recently been rebuilt. In fact, this rebuild is so recent that GTO Engineering, the company that performed the rebuild, hasn’t finished with the shakedown yet, and now that the car has been auctioned off, the new owner will have to bring it back for this to be completed. We can say that the engine put out at least 237 horsepower when new, and probably a bit more than that — quite a bit for a 3.0-liter engine in 1958.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type SOHC V-12 engine with three Weber 40 DCL3 carburettors
Displacement 2,953 cc
Output 263 HP
Transmission four-speed all-synchromesh manual
0- 60 mph 5 seconds
Top Speed 149 MPH

Prices

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 'Tour de France' by Scaglietti Exterior
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The Tour de France is not as rare as the GTO, and is therefore not nearly as valuable. Ferrari built 77 Tour de France cars, making it downright common when compared to some varieties of the 250. Last year, a GTO sold for $38 million, the record for the most expensive car ever sold at auction. Even with its racing pedigree, the Tour de France doesn’t sell for nearly as much. The car seen here just sold at auction for $7.3 million. That’s still obviously an absolutely astronomical amount of money for a car, but when we’re talking about 250s, we’re talking about money on a different sort of scale.

Competition

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Alloy Gullwing High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 478514

For another breathtakingly expensive ’50s car with a strong racing pedigree, look no further than the 300SL. Thought by many to be the world’s first supercar, the 300SL combined cutting edge technology that came straight from the Mercedes racing effort, with the kind of flash and wow factor that couldn’t be found anywhere else. It is arguably more attention getting than the Ferrari, and since Mercedes-Benz made so many more of them, it’ll only cost you a couple million. You almost can’t afford not to buy one.

You can check out more about the 300 SL Alloy Gullwing here.

Aston Martin DBR2

Not to be confused with the 1950 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage, the DBR2 was essentially just a DBR1 with a bigger engine. It was a contemporary of the 250 GT LWB Berlinetta, but the different engine sizes put them in different classes. One sold at auction for $3.5 million in 1985, and after adjusting for inflation, that puts the two cars at almost exactly the same price. The DBR2 was raced mostly in America, where rules allowed bigger engines, but it was the DBR2’s close relative, the DBR1, that Carroll Shelby drove to his victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959.

Conclusion

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 'Tour de France' by Scaglietti Exterior
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It makes sense that everyone talks about the 250 GTO as much as they do, and it also makes sense that the GTO goes for more money at auction. But a solid argument could be made that it is really the Tour de France that is the more important car, as far as the history of Ferrari goes. The Tour de France propelled Ferrari to its domination of sports car racing in the ’60s, without which there would have been no reason to build a GTO. And of course, it’s important to mention once again that it is an absolutely gorgeous car — always a great bonus.

  • Leave it
    • 250s cost 250 money
    • ownership may induce GTO envy
    • constantly having to say “no, it was a car race too...”

Source: RM Sothebys

Jacob Joseph
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