Chassis Num: 5899 GT
Engine Num: 5899
Sold for $9,625,000 at 2015 RM Sothebys
A fighter, no matter the form, will always be a fighter, or, as General Patton put it, 'Where I fought in many guises, many names, but always me.' A true racing car will always be. This particular chassis is a testament to this fact.
The 250LM would be developed as a result of Ferrari's incredible run of success at Le Mans. Ferrari dominated the twenty-four race and the 250LM would be developed to carry on that tradition of success. The car, however, would prove to be as successful in other disciplines as at tracks like la Sarthe. Chassis 5899GT would be one of those that would prove the LM's worth in hill climbs.
Georges Filipinetti would already have a foot in the motor racing door prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. Having studied engineering in Germany, Filipinetti would return to his native Switzerland where he would work for no less than Bugatti and Chrysler. This would lead to him opening a couple of dealerships around the Geneva area.
Following the war, Filipinetti would remain in the automotive business becoming a Ferrari importer. Georges had raced before the war, but afterward would turn his focus toward establishing his own racing stable. Thus, Scuderia Filipinetti would be born in 1963.
Besides forming his own racing stable, Georges would dabble in numerous other careers and would be quite successful in most of them. He would even serve as the ambassador for San Marino to the United Nations in Geneva for a time. But there was absolutely no doubting his passion for motor sports. And, in early June of 1964 Scuderia Filipinetti would take delivery of 5899GT from Ferrari. It would be the ninth of just 32 examples of the 250LM to be produced and it would come resplendent in Rossa Cina.
The car was intended for motor racing and it would demonstrate this fact from the very beginning. Its first competition would be the Sierre-Montana Crans Hill Climb at the end of August and the car would come away victorious. The car would be driven that day by none other than the 1963 Le Mans winner Ludovico Scarfiotti.
The car would demonstrate its success was no fluke by taking victory yet again in its next event. This event would be the Coppa Inter-Europa held at Monza. Driven by another top flight driver, Nino Vaccarella, 5899GT would cruise to victory establishing itself as one of the best 250LMs out there. Sadly, the run of success would abruptly come to an end.
Damage to the car's radiator at Montlhery would not only spell the end of the car's race, it would also prove to be the last race in which the car would take part in for Scuderia Filipinetti. Heading into the 1965 season, the car could be found at the Geneva Motor Show, and then, with its second owner Werner Biedermann.
Biedermann lived in Zurich and made his living as an architect. However, he too had a passion for motor racing and founded his own racing team known as Ecurie Basilisk. Once again, despite a new home, the 250LM would prove an incredible competitor continuing its run of success earning a number of top results throughout the 1965 season. Unfortunately, trouble would again ruin the car's run and would also bring an end to its period with Biedermann. Flipping the car onto its roof during a hill climb, Biedermann would emerge relatively intact, but the car would not. As a result, the car would be sold with its damaged body. In spite of the terrible shape in which the car found itself, nothing could keep it down, no matter what guise it was found to be in, as would be demonstrated.
Hans Illert would become the next owner of the Ferrari. He would be excited to have the car, but he would have machinations of how to make it even better. He intended to race the car, but he believed there was a lot more life in the car; it just needed to be tapped into.
He would begin by replacing the Scaglietti body with a Porsche 906 Carrera 6 shell that had been altered to appear LM-like. However, to be able to do this the chassis had to be shortened by a couple of inches. This would have a positive side effect in that a great deal of weight-savings could be found. In the process of shortening the chassis around 200 kilograms would be shaved fro the car. Dubbed the LM-P, the alternate guise for 5899GT would prove something of a revelation. Performance would be increased, and the handling improved. The result would be yet another victory, this time in the St. Ursanne-Les Rangiers Hill Climb in August of 1966.
Over the next couple of years the LM-P would continue to be a force and would enjoy a great deal of success. Amazingly, at the end of the '67 season, Illert would sell the Ferrari-Porsche to Pierre Sudan who would then take the car to a new level. The original 3.3-liter engine would be taken out and a 4.0-liter engine from a 330P would be installed. It would now be known as the 330LM-P and it would continue racing at hill climbs all throughout the region surrounding Switzerland. Toward the end of '68 Sudan would put the car up for sale. It would end up in the hands of Stefan Sklenar of Austria. Of course, in its state at that time it just had to race and Sklenar would use the car in the 200 Miles of Nurnberg and in other events. The result would be many respectable finishes in each.
By this point in time, 5899GT was nothing more than a shell, and not even that, of its former self. Eric Stewart would come to own the car in the 1970s and he would be intent on returning it to its former glory. Stewart was well known as one of the members of the band 10CC and he would be firmly committed to his Ferrari. In its state it was certainly good, but in its original, it was more than good enough.
Restoration would being in 1977 and would be conducted by Victor Norman and Bob Houghton of Rosso Limited. This would not be a straight-forward endeavor as the chassis would need to be restored to its former self. It would not be until 1981 when Stewart would be finally able to take to the wheel. After another brief ownership the car would make its way to the United States, where it would remain throughout the 1980s before heading to Japan, Europe and then back to England.
Lord Irvine Laidlaw would own the car for a couple of years and then it would end up in the hands of Federico Della Noce and Andre Lara Resende. At this time, another restoration would be undertaken. When all of the work was completed the car would return to its former haunt—the racetrack. The car would have its original 3.3-liter, 320hp engine back and it would be almost like it was when completed by the factory.
From 2000 to 2005 the car could be found as part of the Shell Historic Ferrari Maserati Challenge. Then, in April of 2005 the car would receive its Classiche certification adding its name to the Red Book. This honor would be followed by another. More than forty years on after it left the Ferrari factory in Maranello, 5899GT would be back, proudly on display in the Galleria Ferrari.
The car would seemingly start its life all over again when, in 2006, it would be purchased by Henri-Louis Maunoir of Switzerland. But the car wasn't just heading back to Switzerland. Maunoir's wife would be none other than Georges Filipinetti's granddaughter.
Taking part in the 60th Anniversary of Ferrari held at Fiorano in 2007, the car would become a regular at many special events over the course of the next few years. Having found its way back to the United States, 5899GT's restoration would continue including the original Scuderia Filipinetti livery. Sadly, the original body would be one casualty that could not be revived as a result of the damage suffered from time and competition. Still, what the car has sacrificed of itself over the years it has gained in success on the track and on the winding roads around the mountains of central Europe.
The 9th of just thirty-two examples and extremely successful over the course of its long and interesting racing history, 5899GT is certainly an exceptional specimen of Ferrari's great endurance racer. Throughout its lifetime, the car has fought in many guises, but always the same. But no matter its pretense it remained a strong and proud combatant, a powerful testament to the lineage of the 250LM.
Offered at the 2015 RM Auctions Arizona event, the 1964 Ferrari 250LM promised to be a highlight. Pre-auction estimates for 5899GT ranged from between $9,500,000 and $12,500,000.By Jeremy McMullen