SWB Berlinetta Speciale
Chassis Num: 3269 GT
Engine Num: 3269
Sold for $16,500,000 at 2015 Gooding & Company
There are more than a few Ferraris that belong on the list of the most beloved and extraordinary. However, one that needs to be found at or near the top would have to be chassis 3269 GT.
Carrozzeria Bertone needed to make a statement. Nuccio Bertone had been born and raised in the coachbuilding business when his father, Giovanni, established the carrozzeria in 1912. Nuccio had the talent, however, World War Two would take its toll.
Bertone would use some clever solutions and would manage to scrape along with the help of work through Alfa Romeo. However, it was Ferrari that he really wanted, but, Pinin Farina, Bertone's cross-town rival, seemed to have the fast-track in that relationship.
So Nuccio once again needed to take a risk and make a statement. His solution was simple: he would buy one of Ferrari's chassis and would design and build a body himself to fit atop it.
The chassis Bertone would purchase would be 3269 GT. This would be just the third body in which Bertone would ever design to adorn a Ferrari chassis. Aided by Giorgetto Giugiaro, Bertone would set to work designing the body for the Ferrari chassis. Giugiaro had already shown great talent designing the Aston Martin DB4 GT Jet and a special Maserati 5000GT. There was no doubt as to his potential for radical, remarkable sports cars, and this was exactly what Bertone needed.
Enzo Ferrari had come to learn and fully employ his success on the race track to sell road cars. Bertone and Giugiaro would use this same approach drawing inspiration from the Ferrari 'sharknose' Formula One car and the 330 TRI LM, the Bertone pairing would design a radical body employing a sharknose design of its own. This nose design would then be balanced with lines that were sweeping and very aerodynamically-minded. The result would be a design that many consider one of the most beautiful Ferraris ever made.
Bertone wouldn't stop with the outside of the car either. To complete his statement, Nuccio would pull out all the stops on the car's interior offering such elements not able to be found on other 250 GTs with the short wheelbase.
From the moment it was conceived, to when it was actually produced, the Bertone Berlinetta Speciale would be a mixture of museum piece and mechanical work of art. Fittingly, the car would be seen on display all over the world from car shows to publications. It would quickly become the priceless piece of automotive art that Bertone wanted and desired to attract Ferrari's attention.
Bertone wouldn't stop with the exterior look of the car. The interior would be just as magnificent with leather seats, electric windows, and a metal dashboard replete with Veglia gauges and switches. Nearly everything found on the interior of the car was absolutely unique to this particular car.
As a result of this no-holds-barred approach, the Bertone-bodied Ferrari would be featured at salons and car shows all throughout Europe. Its first appearance would come at the Geneva Auto Show in 1962. The proud Bertone certainly had to find himself, and his car, at the center of attention throughout the event.
Bertone would continue to display the car at event after event. Not long after its debut in Geneva, the car would arrive in Torino as part of an exhibition held at the Biscaretti Museum. The car would be hailed at that event, as it would throughout the whole of its life.
After some minor revisions, the car would again be at the center of the Torino Auto Show in November of 1962. In spite of all the hard work and what many would consider an epic concept to sit atop a Ferrari chassis, Bertone would not attract the attention of the man whom he was courting.
Kind words from Enzo would disseminate from his pen but it would not be enough. A year after having built the car, Bertone would sell the Ferrari to an automotive parts supplier based in Milan. Not long after that the car would end up in the hands of Gerda Anna Speckenheuer. Then, in 1966, the car would be sold again.
Peter Civati was a well-known Ferrari enthusiast and he could not go without the Bertone-bodied car. Over the next few years, the car would change hands a couple of times and would even end up in a film starring James Garner. At the time of its cameo in the film, the car still bore the silver finish Bertone had it completed with before the Torino Auto Show back in 1962.
Bill Karp, a drummer living in the Hollywood, California area, would purchase the car in 1967 and would retain the use of the car for more than a dozen years. Using the car to haul his drums to and from gigs, the Ferrari was the ultimate statement and would end up collecting nearly 100,000 miles during Karp's period of ownership.
In 1980, Karp would sell the Ferrari. At that time, it would come into the hands of collector Lorenzo Zambrano of Monterey, Mexico. Zambrano would hire Steve Tillack and Bob Smith of Coachworks to restore the Ferrari. As a result of the provenance of the car, and the quality of the restoration efforts, the Ferrari has earned more than a couple of Best of Show honors. Then, in 2007, the car would receive what was perhaps its ultimate vindication earning its Ferrari Classiche certification. Bertone had courted Enzo Ferrari with the special one-off creation. Now, it was undeniably linked to Ferrari.
Not surprisingly, the Ferrari remained, for a period of about 27 years, as the ultimate expression of Zambrano's vast collection of automobiles. And, there are many, many good reasons for this.
Since its inception in 1962, the Bertone Ferrari has been exhibited in more than a dozen auto shows and concours events. What's more, the car has made a cameo appearance in a film and has been featured in at least nine articles for major publications. This famous history alone would make any collectible car simply irrestable. But this one...this car is something else entirely. The object of desire for nearly every collector on the planet, this car has not changed hands at all in the last thirty years. In fact, its current owner purchased the car from Zambrano in 1980 and has retained it every year, until now.
Everything square-inch of the Bertone Ferrari declares, and quite demonstratively, exclusivity and the absolute utmost of design and appointment. What might have been? Bertone had gone to such great lengths to demonstrate his ardent desire to clothe Ferraris. And, while there were a few, this car is the pinnacle of that pondering question.
Considering it was never a Ferrari-sanctioned design. Considering the risks, the depths, to which Bertone went to prove his carrozzeria to the 'old man', this car has to be considered within a class all its own, even within the remarkable history of the prancing horse.
After thirty-five years with its current owner, the ultra-rare and ultra-exclusive Bertone Ferrari become available again. Offered as part of the 2015 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach auction, the Ferrari would serve as the highlight of the whole event and a great stir surrounded just what price the car would fetch. After some enthralling and spirited dealing, the car would sell for the remarkable price of $16,500,000.By Jeremy McMullen