Chassis Num: 0585GT
Engine Num: 0585GT
Sold for $6,710,000 at 2012 RM Sothebys
Enzo Ferrari and his team had an uncanny knack for predicting the future of motorsport and for creating a chassis that would absolutely dominate. After the Le Mans tragedy in 1955, the FIA regulations would lend themselves to facilitating a design Ferrari would unveil the very same year. Not surprisingly, a legend would be born and the Ferrari 250 GT would become one of the most coveted and sought after of all Ferrari models.
At the beginning of the 1956 season, the FIA would create the brand new gran turismo class. Lance Macklin had been hit in the back by Pierre Levegh driving a Mercedes 300SL. Macklin was quite exposed driving an open top Austin Healey. And while Macklin would survive and it would be Levegh that would perish in the worst motor racing accident in the history of motor racing, it would be clear there was a need for improving safety. In the case of Macklin, it would be by sheer Providence that Levegh's Mercedes didn't drive right up the back of the car and strike him in the back of the head. And so, the new gran turismo class would introduce cars with increased performance and safety. And Ferrari would find itself poised and ready to capitalize.
Ferrari already had its car and it would have it on display at the Geneva Motor Show in 1956. There would be two cars on display and they were the 250 GT. One would have a Boano body while the other would be designed by Pinin Farina. But while these cars would be designed with bodies and comforts clearly meant for the streets and public roads, Ferrari would recognize very quickly they had the necessary chassis to conform to the homologation rules laid out by the FIA.
Ferrari knew well that he had the car for this new class and he would turn to Pinin Farina to design a body that would be ready for competition. Pinin Farina would come through designing a body and Carrozzeria Scaglietti would be commissioned to build them. These would be no ordinary 250 GT. From its thin-gauge aluminum body to its Perspex windows, everything about the car was meant for the track. Just a total of 77 of these would be built by Scaglietti and one of those very special long wheel-based 250 GTs would be offered by RM Auctions at their Monterey event in 2012.
The Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta would be an incredible success in races, including the grueling 3,600 mile Tour de France Automobile. Enzo would be apparently so pleased with the success of the car in the long distance races that he would internally refer to the early 250 GTs simply as the 'Tour de France'. The 'Tour de France' would be produced up until 1959 in a series of four different body styles.
The first series would be differentiated from the second series by the fact the second series boasted of fourteen louvers in the rear three-quarter panel. Though not the first, the second series would actually end up being the rarest of the all the series of the 250 GT produced as there would only be nine examples built by Scaglietti. RM Auctions, therefore, has the honor of presenting for the first time at auction the very first of the exclusive second series fourteen louver 250 GTs!
This stunning 'TdF' would be purchased in November of 1956 by Tony Parravano, an Italian national that was also a very important building constructor in Southern California. Tony would be quite well known among the SCCA circle as he would campaign a number of Ferraris. He would even chassis 0585GT, the very one offered at auction, at the Palm Springs road races in early 1957. However, he would end up being disqualified. The reason being, none other than the fact that the sanctioning body didn't recognize the car as a production model.
After a couple of owners, 0585GT would come to be the property of Walt Disney Studios in 1966. This would be the moment when 0585 would begin its acting career. Closely watching the lovable film about 'Herbie' and one will notice a Ferrari 250 GT in the field and that is the very rare 0585GT.
Totally unaware of the car's true value, it wouldn't be long until the car would be left abandoned by the side of a freeway just outside of Hollywood. A couple of more owners later, and the car would be offered by David Cottingham's DK Engineering of Watford, England in September of 1994. In an un-restored state and not looking anything like the rare gem it truly is, Cottingham would be unable to sell the car for what it was truly worth. And so, he would decide to have the car fully restored.
In 1997, the 'TdF' would emerge from restoration and would take the crowd at the Coy's International Historic Festival, held at Silverstone, by storm. All of a sudden, the car that couldn't garner the money that it was truly worth would be widely acclaimed and greatly fawned over. Whereas before, 0585 could not draw its worth, because of the restoration, the car would be quickly sold.
Upon being sold to its current owner, 0585 would return to Southern California once again, but this time, would be the property of a well-respected collector that was well known for owning and caring for some of the most famous Ferraris ever built. Of course, this chassis was just one its owner could not pass up on owning.
Unlike before, where the car would be neglected, even left for dead by the side of the highway, this 'TdF' would experience incredible tender love and care and would even enjoy taking part in the Mille Miglia in May of 1998. It would also take part in the Tour Auto from 1998 through 2002, and then again in 2004 and 2006. Part of numerous exhibits and displays this exceedingly rare 250 GT was certainly enjoying the spotlight it always deserved. Truly rare and momentous in Ferrari's gran turismo heritage, 0585GT would rightfully go on to earn 'The Great Ferraris' class award at the 2011 Quail Motorsports Gathering held in Carmel, California and only sets the stage for this momentous occasion when, after fourteen years with the same owner and never having been put up for auction before, this rare beauty will grace the RM Auctions' stage and provide an incredible opportunity to own a true piece of Ferrari history; a piece of history from which the 250 GT legend springs.
One close examination of the car and it becomes abundantly clear what all of the fuss is about. Easily receiving the full Ferrari Classiche certification and driving crisply and powerfully, 0585GT represents one of the very few that would be considered the 'ultimate dual-purpose Ferrari.' It could be for these reasons alone that estimates for its selling price are something of an unknown quantity. It is very likely that its true value, its true beauty and elegance, its true place in Ferrari lore will only be fully comprehended when witnessed in person.Sources:
'Lot No. 231: 1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta 'Tour de France' by Carrozzeria Scaglietti', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=MO12&CarID=r177). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=MO12&CarID=r177. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
'1957 Ferrari 250 GT TdF News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z8763/Ferrari-250-GT-TdF.aspx). Conceptcarz.com. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z8763/Ferrari-250-GT-TdF.aspx. Retrieved 7 August 2012
'1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z11149/Ferrari-250-GT-Boano.aspx). Conceptcarz.com. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z11149/Ferrari-250-GT-Boano.aspx. Retrieved 7 August 2012.By Jeremy McMullen