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1962 Ferrari 250 California SWB Spider by Scaglietti

1962 Ferrari 250 California SWB Spider by Scaglietti

Maybe the most beautiful open-top car that money can buy

The entire Ferrari 250 line seems to have secured its place in the palace of automotive royalties for generations to come. With unmistakable lines, a variety of powerful but also reliable Colombo V-12s, and limited-run production, almost all of the late-50s to early-60s Ferrari 250 models command astronomical values at auction nowadays.

There are, of course, some stars that shine brighter than others, such as the 250 GTO, the 250 GT SWB, and, lastly, the 250 California SWB Spider built between 1960 and 1962. This is one of those short-wheelbase California Spiders but, despite its originality, it lacks the aura of the ex-Alain Delon ’barn find’ that sold for $18.5 million four years ago.

Besides the fact that Alain Delon once owned and thrashed that particular 250 California SWB Spider, what made it even more desirable were its covered headlights. Amazingly, the more sought after variant is, actually, the one Ferrari made more of: a total of 37,250 California SWB Spiders left the factory with covered headlights and just 19 were optioned without the glass over the twin circular headlamps. Read on to learn more about the strange case of a buyer-induced trend that goes against the otherwise untouchable principle of rarity.

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1960 - 1963 Ferrari 250 GT 2+2 (GTE)

1960 - 1963 Ferrari 250 GT 2+2 (GTE)

A genuine four-seater sports car

While the Prancing Horse is best known for its top-shelf performance vehicles and winning racing machines, even Maranello’s finest must occasionally bend to the whims of the passenger vehicle market. But don’t see it as a compromise - rather, it’s best seen as a combination of speed and usability, catapulting the commonplace people mover to the extraordinary realm of apexes and checkered flags. Such is the case with the Ferrari 250 GT 2+2, the brand’s first genuine four-seater model.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1960 - 1963 Ferrari 250 GT 2+2 (GTE).

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1958 - 1960 Ferrari 250 California

1958 - 1960 Ferrari 250 California

When talking about the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder, you are sort of talking about two different cars, the long-wheelbase version and the later short-wheelbase version. The cars debuted a few years apart, and have different bodies and engines with different states of tune. But both are built with the same idea in mind, and you could almost call them two generations of the same car, if that wasn’t such a difficult word to apply to the 250. All Californias, whatever the wheelbase, wore Scaglietti bodywork, and all of them were convertibles.

Throughout the ’50s and early ’60s, small European roadsters had become incredibly popular in North America. On the cheaper end of the spectrum, MG was selling huge numbers of cars in this newly discovered market, and in 1957, Ferrari debuted this new version of the 250 as a high-end convertible specifically for the U.S. market. It was based on the 250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina, but was a higher-performance version of the car, produced in much smaller numbers. In theory, the Pininfarina was meant to be sold in Europe, and the California in America, but those were more suggestions than rules, and certainly today you’ll find examples of both on either side of the Atlantic.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 250 California.

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1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe by Vignale

1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe by Vignale

Ferrari was still very new to the world of building road cars in the early ’50s. Enzo had been involved in racing and the design and building of race cars for decades, but translating that into something for regular people (albeit wealthy regular people) to buy was still being figured out. It was the 250 that would change things for Ferrari, but in the early days of the model line, Ferrari was still figuring things out. It was an era when coach-built luxury cars were starting to disappear, but Ferrari was determined to keep using them for the 250 line, first launched in 1953. Most 250s were built by Pininfarina, including early examples like the Europa, but a handful were built by Vignale.

These early 250s differ from the later models, particularly those of the ’60s, in a number of ways, but it is most notable that at first there were only two versions of the car, the Europa and the Export, obviously intended for different markets. Many more varieties of the 250 would come later, but in 1953, the only way to get something different from the other 250s was to get a coach-built one.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe by Vignale.

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1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 'Tour de France' by Scaglietti

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ’Tour de France’ by Scaglietti

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.

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1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Speciale by Bertone

1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Speciale by Bertone

Just trying to keep all of the different varieties of the Ferrari 250 straight is a fairly daunting task. There were 23 different varieties, but each of these is usually further subdivided and there are versions of the car that were only produced in single-digit numbers. But even among those incredibly rare versions of the car, this one still manages to stand out. It is a 250 GT short-wheelbase from 1962 with special one-off bodywork by Bertone for Nuccio Bertone himself. The car belonged to Nuccio, but he used it extensively as a show car, showing off the coachbuilding abilities of his company.

The car has changed hands a number of times, and at one point was used as a daily driver in California for a full 13 years. It has since been fully restored and is in absolutely pristine condition. It was recently auctioned by Gooding and Co., where it became one of the most expensive cars ever sold at public auction. Enzo Ferrari was so impressed by the car that when Bertone sent him a Christmas present that year, he sent back a letter praising the bodywork of the Speciale and signed it “Your – if you will permit me – friend, Enzo Ferrari.”

Continue reading for my full review of this one-off Ferrari.

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1963 Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta 'Lusso' By Scaglietti

1963 Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta ’Lusso’ By Scaglietti

It can be difficult to keep all of the different Ferrari 250s straight, as the number was attached to nearly every prancing horse for a period running from the early ’50s until well into the ’60s. But the 250 GT/L Berlinetta “Lusso” does at least give you hint as to its purpose right in the name, as “lusso” is Italian for “luxury.” While many of the iterations of the 250 were made to skirt the line between road car and track car, the Lusso was an unapologetic luxury road car, to an extent that was uncharacteristic (though not entirely unheard of) with Ferrari at the time.

RM Auctions has one of the just 350 units of the Lusso built, and it’s going up for auction soon. This particular example is the 21st Lusso ever built, which went to a dealer in Belgium in early 1963. Interestingly, the car wasn’t actually sold to a private owner until 1967, after it had made a trip across the Atlantic to the U.S. It made its way back to Europe in the ’90s, and underwent an extensive restoration from 2009 to 2011, and all numbers are still matching.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta ’Lusso’ By Scaglietti.

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1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider by Scaglietti

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider by Scaglietti

Few postwar classic cars can match the insanely high prices commanded by the Ferrari 250 in its various forms. And of the forms that the 250 took, it is generally the 250 GTO and 250 GT SWB California Spider that fetch the very highest prices. These are prized because of their rarity, and with RM Auction set to auction off a 250 GT SWB California Spider soon, it has caught the attention of collectors everywhere. Not only were there just 56 units of the Spider produced, but only 16 of these units were built with open headlights, this 1961 model being one of those 16. RM auctions is therefore expecting the car to go for 11-13 million euros.

The California Spider was built essentially at the request of a couple of American Ferrari distributors. It is based on the 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France, but with a convertible top for increased enjoyment of the lovely California weather. Most of these cars were of course sent to the U.S., but a handful stayed in Europe, of which this is one. It was bought by its current owner in 2007, and was sent to Ferrari Classiche shortly thereafter for restoration. This was completed in 2010, and you can see, it is absolutely gorgeous.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider by Scaglietti.

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1960 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione

1960 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione

The Ferrari California Spider alone is one of the most desirable Ferraris and sports cars in the world. This 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione, which belonged to the late Sherman Wolf, is an even more desirable model, as it is one of nine examples that boast an all-alloy body and a long wheelbase. That rarity is something that will drive this car to between the $7 and $9 million mark.

This sample was actually the first Ferrari that the famed collector owned, and made its way to Wolf after first being owned by George Reed. Wolf also ran this Ferrari in the first ever Colorado Grand, just adding more to its storied history.

On the mechanical side, this 1960 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione boasts full competition specifications. It has an outside plug motor that has TR heads resting on top of it, 4-wheel disc brakes, velocity stacks, and a ribbed gearbox to help keep it cool. The engine is a 2,953 cc V-12 with three Weber carbs mounted atop it and a 9.8-to-1 compression ratio. It punches out 280 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 203 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm.

The body is draped in a medium shade of red and was fully restored by Ferrari specialist, David Carte. The wheels are the factory-style wires and the headlights boast the full-racing covers to help add to the car’s aerodynamic look.

This 1960 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione is being offered up at the Pebble Beach Auction on August 18th and 19th, 2012 by Gooding & Company. It is one of four Ferraris owned by the Wolf estate that are up for auction in Pebble Beach.

UPDATE 08/20/2012: The Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione has just set a record at Monterey for all-time high price. The classic, drop-top sports car was auctioned off for a whopping $11,275,000! Someone really wanted that car!

Updated 12/27/2013: A Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider will be put on auction by RM Auctions in Arizona on Friday, January 17, 2014. The car is expected to fetch around $7-9 millions!

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

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1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta

1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta

The Ferrari 250 GT lineup was a direct spawn of the 250 racers from the 1950s. In 1954, the first of the 250 GTs, the 250 Europa GT, came into existence, bearing a 217-horsepower V-12 engine and a long racing bloodline. The 259 GT line was neither a long-lived nor mass produced product, as it only lasted one decade and a fairly limited production number.

In 1962, Ferrari released a new version of the 250 GT, which was dubbed the 250 GT Lusso, “Lusso” meaning “Luxury.” The 250 GT/L is one of the more rare Ferraris in the world today, as only 350 models were ever built and the number of surviving models is not readily available.

If you have ever wanted to own one of these particularly rare machines, now is the time to act, as RM Auctions is offering a 1964 Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta up for sale in Monaco on May 11th and 12th, 2012. Not only is this an extremely rare model, but it was the 4th from the last one ever manufactured.

You may be wondering how well this 48-year-old Ferrari is holding up to the test of time.

Click past the jump to find out.

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1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype

1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype

Ferrari is not a company that often reuses names, or revives dead nameplates. This is partly because so many of the names of the cars are alphanumeric, but also because Ferrari wants to present each car as new and advanced, and that’s a lot harder to do when you’re recycling names. So when a name does get recycled, it has to be a pretty special one. So even though today the name Testarossa is most closely associated with Ferrari’s flat-12-powered grand tourer from the ’80s and early ’90s, but the name actually goes all of the way back to 1957, with one of the greatest race cars in Ferrari history.

It actually has to be said that the names aren’t actually identical. The racer was named “Testa Rossa” (two words) and the more recent car was the “Testarossa” (one word). This is important because the meaning is slightly different. The words “testa rossa” mean “red head,” and the original 250 TR got the name from its red valve covers. But just as “redhead” as one word in English means a woman with red hair, the Italian name was given to the ’80s car both as a tribute and also with an implied wink.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype.

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1962 - 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta lusso

1962 - 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta lusso

In 1962, at the Paris Motor Show, Ferrari unveiled the final model in the 250 GT series. Called 250 GT Berlinetta lusso, the new model has been produced between 1962 and 1964 with 350 units being produced. The car replaced the 250 GT Coupe, were designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti in Modena. Actor Steve McQueen is one of the famous car’s owners.

The 250 GT Berlinetta lusso was built on the short wheelbase of the earlier 250 GTs, but with a revised chassis and the engine moved slightly further forward providing additional interior room for the occupants.

A hit already among the 250 models, the single overhead camshaft, 60° V12 was once again used. For the 250 GT Berlinetta lusso the engine had a bore and stroke of 73mm x 58.8mm and delivered 250bhp at 7500rpm with a compression of 9.2:1. The engine was coupled with a 4-speed + reverse all-synchromesh gearbox, with final drive through a propeller shaft to the rigid rear axle, for which two alternative ratios were available.

The 0 to 60 mph sprint was made in less than 7 seconds, while top speed went up to 150 mph.

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1959 - 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta passo corto

1959 - 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta passo corto

In 1959 at the Paris Salon, Ferrari unveiled the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta - or "passo corto". It was designed by Pininfarina and built at the Scaglietti works in Modena. Built on a 2400mm chassis, the 250 GT Berlinetta passo corto was a natural continuation of the Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France.

This was the first Ferrari production road car to be fitted with disc brakes as standard and, unlike the preceding 250 GT Berlinetta series, was available in either left- or right-hand drive. It was also available in competition specification, with an aluminium body, lightweight interior trim, and the engine in a higher state of tune – or in ‘Lusso’ (luxury) road trim, when it was normally fitted with a steel body with aluminium opening panels.

Under the hood Ferrari placed a further development of the original Colombo-designed single overhead camshaft per bank V12 engine, with a capacity of 2953 cc, via a bore and stroke of 73 x 58.8 mm. The engine was delivering between 220 to 280 bhp, dependent upon specification. All versions were featuring four-speed transmission.

Continued after the jump.

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1957 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet

1957 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet

In 1957 at the Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari unveiled the 250 GT Cabriolet - a two-seater spider built for the more refined clientele. After the first 40 cars had been produced, a second series was created. To differentiate it from the more sporting 250 GT Spider California, the Cabriolet’s styling was made more sober, boot space was increased and it was made more comfortable inside. Production continued until 1962, and around 200 cars were built in all, with no two cars were completely identical.

Of course is not the first spider-bodied Ferrari, but until it cabriolets featuring proper folding soft tops had only been produced in relatively small numbers. So, in 1956 when Carrozzeria Boano exhibited a 250 GT Cabriolet, chassis 0461GT, it was the beginning of a new era. This was in fact the first 250 GT Cabriolet that lead to the first series of Pininfarina-designed cabriolets produced during 1957 and 1958.

Like most of the previous models, the 250 GT Cabriolet was built on a 2600 mm wheelbase and they were powered by a 3-litre version of the Colombo ’short-block’ V12 engine that delivered 240 hp.

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1956 - 1959 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta

1956 - 1959 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta

While Ferrari has a big history in building "berlinetta" model, the 250GT is the first one to be built. This car was perfect for both track and racing, and quickly after their unveiling they have become a the racer of choice amongst top drivers. The 250GT Berlinetta made its first appearance at Nassau in 1956. Only one year after, at the 1957 Tour de France, Ferrari took the top three places and proved the versatility of the car.

The "Tour de France" series of cars were the competition orientated berlinetta versions of the 250 GT road cars, designed for racing in the GT category. The car was designed by PininFarina and constructed in aluminum by Scaglietti.

The Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta was powered by the original Colombo-designed V12 engine now tuned by Ferrari to produce 240-280 horsepower using three downdraft Weber carburetors.

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1953 Ferrari 250 Europa and Europa GT

1953 Ferrari 250 Europa and Europa GT

In 1953 at the Paris Salon, Ferrari unveiled their first attempt in building a series production Grand Touring car. The new model called 250 Europa was offered in two versions of the model: the first 20 units were simply called 250 Europe, while the other 44 were being called 250 GT Europa. The difference between the two version was firstly made by the wheelbase: 2800mm for Europa and 2600mm for Europa GT; and secondly by the engine: first one was using a 3-liter Lampredi V12 engine and the second one a 3-liter Colombo V12 engine.

The GT version was revealed in 1954 at the Paris Salon, initially using the same 250 Europa name, but the GT suffix was soon added, to help differentiate it from its predecessor, and then it became known simply as the 250 GT. The overall shape of the majority of the series was virtually identical to that of the 250 Europa Pininfarina three window coupé that preceded it. In fact, unless you had a keen eye for dimensions, you would need a tape measure to tell them apart, the main difference being in the distance between the front wheel arch and the A-pillar.

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1962 - 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO

1962 - 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO

The Ferrari 250 GTO was a sports car and auto racing car made by Ferrari in the early 1960s. It is widely considered to be the quintessential Ferrari model, and one of the greatest sports cars - indeed, one of the greatest automobiles - of all time.

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