1956 Ferrari 250 GT TdF news, pictures, specifications, and information
LWB Berlinetta
Coachwork: Scaglietti
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
Berlinetta
Designer: Scaglietti
Chassis Num: 0563 GT
High bid of $3,900,000 at 2008 RM Sothebys. (did not sell)
Sold for $3,118,569 (€2,310,000) at 2009 RM Sothebys.
Sold for $8,087,520 (£4,872,000) at 2014 RM Sothebys.
Scuderia Ferrari was created in 1929, although Enzo Ferrari was initially going to call the company Mutina from the Latin name for Modena. The goal was to organize gentlemen drivers into a team to better compete in motor races. Enzo was the racing   [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2009
Berlinetta
Designer: Scaglietti
Chassis Num: 0507 GT
Engine Num: 0507 GT
Sold for $5,720,000 at 2016 RM Sothebys.
The Tour de France title was awarded to Ferrari for winning the famous French event. From 1956 through 1959, less than one-hundred 250 GT's would be given the prestigious title. Most of the interiors were handled by the famous Italian coachbuilder Sc  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2016
Berlinetta
Coachwork: Zagato
Chassis Num: 0515GT
All but five of the Ferrari 250 GT long wheelbase chassis were bodied by Scaglietti. This Ferrari is one of the five exceptions, each of which was designed by Zagato and each of which were unique. It was built for one of Ferrari's best clients, Vladi  [Read More...]
Berlinetta
Designer: Scaglietti
Chassis Num: 0555
This is one of only eight Scaglietti Competition Berlinettas built in 1956. It was known as the 'Tour De France' in honor of the domination of the great French event, with four outright victories.  [Read More...]
The Tour de France title was awarded to Ferrari for winning the famous French event. From 1956 through 1959, less than one-hundred 250 GT's would be given the prestigious title. Most of the interiors were handled by the famous Italian coachbuilder Scaglietti and a few by Zagato. Throughout its life span, the exterior was modified to include front wings, covered headlights, three vent side panels, single ventilation ducts, and various other enhancements. Under the hood, the horsepower ranged from 230 to 240. The engine was mostly fitted with three twin choke Weber 36 DCL downdraught carburetors. The engine was placed under the front bonnet and powered the rear transaxle. The Colombo 60-degree V-12 powerplant had a displacement of 2953 cc. The top speed, under the most modified circumstance, was around 145 mph with could go from zero to sixty in less than seven seconds. Ferrari used their all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox.

Scaglietti was commissioned to build ten of the Tour de France's in 1956. Scaglietti fabricated alloy bodywork for eight that featured the familiar egg-crate grilles and rounded wings. The fashion was similar to PininFarina's 375 Mille Miglia and 250. Both sliding plastic and wind-up glass were used for the side windows. The rear window was a wraparound windscreen. The Milan coachbuilder Zagato outfitted two examples in 1956 mainly for competition purposes. The roof was their trademark double-bubble design. To reduce the overall weight, a lightweight alloy shell was outfitted on the exterior.

In 1957, 27 more vehicles were produced. Scaglietti modified the bodywork using front wings with a portion of the vehicles receiving covered headlights and three-vent sail-panels.

In 1958, 29 examples were produced. Single ventilation ducts replaced the sail panels. In 1959, 11 more examples were produced.

The interior was modest with only the essential amenities offered. Most of the bucket seats were leather, a few were vinyl.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012
Berlinetta
Designer: Scaglietti
Chassis Num: 0557GT
Engine Num: 0557GT
Sold for $13,200,000 at 2015 RM Sothebys.
This Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France was the winner of the 1956 Tour de France Auto. It is the ninth example of fourteen first-series cars and the seventh of only nine to be clothed in Scaglietti's louver-less coachwork. The car was originally sold to   [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2015
Production of the 250 Series began in 1954 and continued on through the early part of the 1960's. There were numerous variations of the 250 and would ultimately become Ferrari's most successful line of vehicles to date. The 250 is also recognized as the first Ferrari to ever receive disc brakes. This did not take place until the end of the 1950's. Also, the 250 was the first four-seater.

Ferrari's were custom built cars. They were not mass-produced. Ferrari provided the engine and chassis while Italian coach builders provided the body. This meant the specifications varied. Engines also varied in horsepower rating, torque, and displacement. This was no different for the 250 GT which saw many different variations in body style and body types.

Ferrari built the road-going Ferrari's to fuel his passion for racing. Many of the vehicles he built for the road had a competition model. That is, a modified version of the road-going model. An example of this was the 1959 short-wheel base (SWB) Berlinetta (Berlinetta which means coupe) and given an aluminum body. It was debuted in October 1959 at the Paris Salon. GT cars were road-legal vehicles that could also be taken to the track and compete without the need for modifications. Although this was their purpose, Ferrari realized that many customers would not race their vehicle, but rather wanted the power and performance that sports cars offered. To comply, Ferrari built these cars to be powerful and luxurious. The vehicles could still be run on the track, mostly on requiring the adoption of stickers and complying with any safety requirements.

The 250 road-going vehicles mostly shared two wheelbase sizes, a 2400 mm and 2600 mm. The 2400 wheelbase were referred to as the SWB (Short wheel base) while the other was the LWB (long wheel base).

The base engine was a Colombo 60-degree, single-over-head cam, 'vee' type 12-cylinder, with aluminum alloy block and heads, and cast-iron cylinder liners. The displacement was 180 cubic inch (2953 cc). Horsepower production was around 220-260. The front suspension was independent with double wishbones and coil springs. The rear suspension was a live axle.

The first 250 introduced was the 250S and available in either berlinetta or spider configuration. Introduced in 1952, they were powered by a 3-liter Colombo engine producing about 230 horsepower.

At the 1953 Paris Motor Show, Ferrari introduced the 250 Europa and Export. These were the only models in the series that were powered by a Lampredi v-12 engine also seen in Formula 1. The 250 Export had a 2400 MM wheelbase, similar tot he 250 MM. The 250 Europa had a larger, 2800 mm wheelbase which allowed more interior room. During their short production lifespan, only 18 examples were produced. Pininfarina and Vignale were tasked with creating the coachwork.

In 1954 four specialty built 250 Monza were built for racing. They shared many similarities with the 750 Monza's, but were equipped with the 3-liter Colombo engine.

At the 1957 Geneva auto show, Ferrari displayed their 250 GT Cabriolet. Coachwork was courtesy of Pininfarina; the wheelbase was 2600 mm in size. In 1959 the second in the 250 GT Cabriolet series production began after only 36 examples being produced.

From 1957 through 1959 Ferrari produced the 250 GT Berlinetta 'Tour de France' (TdF). The name had been given for the 10-day automobile race. Originally the engine produced 240 horsepower but was later modified to 260 horsepower. Carrozzeria Scaglietti was responsible for creating the bodies based on Pinin Farina's design.

Scaglietti was responsible for constructing the 1957 250 GT California Spyder. These sat atop a long, 2600 mm chassis and aluminum was used throughout the body in efforts to reduce the overall weight. In total, around 45 examples were created before they were replaced by the SWB version in 1960.

There were 250 examples of the 250 GT Berlinetta SWB produced. Production began in 1959 and used the shortened, sportier wheelbase. Giotto Bizzarrini, Carlo Chiti, and Mauro Forghieri were responsible for the development. Some were built for racing while others were meant for daily transportation. Horsepower ranged from 240 to 280. Steel or aluminum bodies were used. The steel bodies were suited for the road-going vehicles, also known as Lusso. The racing trim vehicles were powerful and had low weight. They were vary competitive and are regarded as the most important GT racers of its time. In 1961 the SWB Berlinetta captured the GT class of the Constructor's Championship.

In 1960 a Scaglietti 250 GT Spyder California SWB was shown at the Geneva Motor Show. Built as a replacement for the LWB and based on the 250 GT SWB, around 55 examples were produced.

The Ferrari 250TR was produced from 1957 through 1958 during which only 19 examples were created. The 'pontoon' fender body was designed by Scaglietti and the power was supplied through a Colombo 12-cylinder engine mounted at a sixty-degree angle and outfitted with six Weber 38 DCN carburetors. Power was sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual gearbox. With 300 horsepower, the 800 kg vehicle was able to achieve a 168 mph top speed. From 1958 through 1961, the 250 TR was entered in 19 championship races where they emerged victorious ten times.

The 250 in 250 TR represented the unitary displacement while the TR was an acronym meaning Testa Rossa. Testa Rossa translates to 'red head' which referred to the color of the engine's cylinder head.

The 250 TR series was built to capture the world championship which was experience questionable times. During the 1955 24 Hours of Lemans a fatal accident occurred and the Commissione Sportiva Internazionale (CSI) began investigating ways to make the sport safer for the drivers and the spectators. Their efforts were escalated in 1967 when another fatal accident occurred at the 1957 Mille Miglia. The committee decided upon a displacement limit but they were in disagreement on the size; the proposed figures ranged from 3 to around 3.5 liters.

1958 was the introductory year for the new regulations, which had been announced during the later part of 1957. Ferrari had been building, testing, and racing the 250 GT which had performed well during the 1957 Mille Miglia. The Colombo V12 260 horsepower engine received a larger bore, camshaft, and other improvements resulting in a 3.1 liter displacement and 320 horsepower. Testing continued throughout the 1957 season in both body configuration and mechanical components.

Ferrari had anticipated the new engine size regulations and thus had been sufficiently prepared to capture the world championship. Due to the potential of negative publicity caused by the fatal accidents, other manufacturers, such as Aston Martin, Lotus, Cooper and Jaguar, were hesitant to continue racing. Ferrari believed their closest competitor would be the powerful and technologically advanced Maserati 450 S which featured a quad-cam eight-cylinder engine.

Ferrari quickly began capturing victories during the 1958 season. The 250 TR was a solid vehicle thanks to the preparation and testing. The steel tubular ladder frame was of traditional Ferrari construction; a DeDion rear axle was used on the works racers. Customer cars were outfitted with a live axle. Drum brakes were placed on all four corners of the car. The engine had been modified to comply with regulations and to fit in the engine bay. In reality, the vehicle was an outdated car having only the benefit of proper planning and proven technology. Most cars featured disc brakes which provided superior stopping power. The Colombo engine dated back to the beginning of Ferrari and was antiquated in comparison to the modern power-plants.

Nearing the close of the 1958 season, the competition began to rise. Aston Martin had a lethal combination, a 3 liter DBR1 racer and Stirling Moss as the driver. Even though the Aston Martins did score a victory at Nurburgring 1000 KM, Ferrari was able to capture the World Championship. The legendary Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien easily capture a third victory for Ferrari at the grueling 24 Hours of Lemans. The 250 TR works cars were referred to as TR58, to distinguish them from the customer TRs.

For the 1959 season, the vehicles received slight modifications which made the vehicle lighter and more powerful. The big news was the use of Dunlop disc brakes. The engine received coil valve springs and the horsepower increased slightly to 306. A Colotti designed five speed gearbox replaced the four-speed unit. Pininfarina was tasked with designing a new body and the construction was handled by Fantuzzi. As a result of the improvements, the name was changed to TR59. At their inaugural race, the TR59 finished first and second. This streak did not last and at the end of the season, it was Aston Martin who emerged as the world champion. The TR59 was plagued with reliability issues mostly due to the gearbox. The vehicles were forced to retire early from races, including Le Mans.

For the 1960 season, the TR was modified slightly to comply with new regulations and to rectify the transmission issues. These vehicles are commonly referred to as the TR59/60. Aston Martin had withdrawn from the championship which left no factory opposition for Ferrari. Porsche and Maserati provided competition, especially at Targa Florio and the Nurburgring 1000 km where they scored victories. At Le Mans, Ferrari finished first and second and captured the word championship, beating Porsche by only four points.

For the 1961 season, Ferrari introduced the mid-engined 246 SP. The TRI61 was given a new spaceframe chassis and was able to capture victories at Sebring 12 Hours and Le Mans. With victories between the 246 SP and the TRI61, Ferrari once again captured the world championship.

The CSI implemented stricter rules for the 1962 season which meant the TR was unable to score points for the factory. It was still allowed to race for the overall victory.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007
 
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