1959 Ferrari 250 GT California news, pictures, specifications, and information
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: 1215 GT
Engine Num: 1215 GT
Sold for $3,355,000 at 2011 Gooding & Company.
Ferrari began to build its 250 model in 1953. The car would be in production for a number of years and would emerge in a number of different guises. Over the course of the eleven year production run the different evolutions of the 250 would become the best-selling line for Ferrari in its early years of sports car manufacturing.

It would all begin with the 225S. These would serve as the prototype but would be quickly dispensed with by the larger 250. The 250S models would be entered in the Mille Miglia in 1952. And although the cars were slower in top end speed, their handling and stability in the curves would more than make up the difference and would lead to a victory for Giovanni Bracco and Alfonso Rolfo.

Enzo Ferrari was keen to capitalize on the success and would end up producing the 250MM and a number of other racing models. All of the success on the track would end up spilling over to the company's Grand Touring models.

As with the racing series of 250s, there would be a number of evolutions of the 250 GTs as well. Such evolutions included the 250 Europa GT, the 250 GT Berlinetta and the 250 GT Cabriolet Pinin Farina. But then, in 1957, Ferrari would introduce its latest evolution meant for export to America. It would be called the 250 GT California Spider.

There would be only 50 long-wheelbase California Spiders built. One of those would be presented for auction at the Gooding and Company Pebble Beach auctions in August of 2011.

The one presented at auction would be chassis 1215 GT and it would be constructed by Ferrari in February of 1959. Included in the design was a 3.0-liter Tipo 128 V-12 engine. The engine would be capable of producing 240 bhp with the help of three Weber DCL3 carburetors that also included velocity stacks. The chassis was the 508D and it featured improvements over the previous iterations of the 250.

While Ferrari was building the chassis for the car, Scaglietti was hard at work creating its truly magnificent, and yet, simple bodywork. The body and the chassis would be united and the car would be finished in March of 1959.

At the time of completion the car would be delivered with a dark blue finish and red leather interior to a real estate firm based in Rome. Rumors would abound as to who the actual owner of the car was. Many ideas and rumors were suggested. One of the more colorful suggested the car was actually for the Grimaldi family of Monaco.

By the late 1960s, the car had become the property of Garage Mario and Gastone Crepaldi Automobili S.a.s. This was an official Ferrari concessionaire in Milan. Finally, after almost ten years, the car meant for export to the United States would actually end up heading there. Fittingly, the car would be shipped to California.

Charles Betz would end up becoming the owner of the car. By the time Betz had taken delivery of the car the drum brakes had been replaced with the new disc brakes (which was not uncommon for the time). However, the car would still arrive in the finish it had left the factory.

Over the period of about ten years the car would change hands numerous times mostly amongst collectors and individuals around the Kentucky and Ohio areas. The car would even spend a spell in Georgia and Toronto, Canada. During its stay in Canada, the car would undergo restoration work and would reunite the original engine with the car that had been replaced at the time Betz had taken receivership of the car.

The car would again be sold a number of times and would end up in the hands of Lee Herrington of New Hampshire. The 250 GT California Spider would end up taking residence with a number of other Ferrari's from Herrington's fine collection. Under Herrington's ownership the car would be refinished to its current state of Fly Yellow complete with black leather interior.

Herrington would end up selling the car in 2008 to its current owner. Immediately the car was sent to Bob Smith for servicing and preparation.

Ferrari's usual mixture of performance and luxury, it is easy to understand why the 250 series became Ferrari's best-selling series of automobile from the late 1950s and through the most part of the 1960s. The elegance combined with the performance provides the street-goer with a truly incredible performance. The lovely lines, the spider design and raw performance; the 250 GT California Spider elegantly captured California's lifestyle and reputation. Chassis number 1215 GT, with its matching engine number and restoration work would end up catching a price of $3,335,000 at the auction in August.

'Lot No. 13: 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider', (http://www.goodingco.com/car/1959-ferrari-250-gt-lwb-california-spider-1). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/car/1959-ferrari-250-gt-lwb-california-spider-1. Retrieved 23 August 2011.

Wikipedia contributors, 'Ferrari 250', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 August 2011, 11:08 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ferrari_250&oldid=446300282 accessed 23 August 2011

By Jeremy McMullen
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: 1505 GT
Engine Num: 1505 GT
Sold for $3,905,000 at 2012 Gooding & Company.
The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider with chassis number 1505 GT is the 36th of 50 built. It is a refined automobile that has a sophisticated chassis and engine. It has the improved 508 d chassis, a more developed version of the original 250 GT chassis introduced in 1954. The engine, a 128 D unit, internal number 0508 D, was the latest 250 variant, which features twin rear-mounted distributors, stronger connecting rods and a new crankshaft. The engine also has revised cylinder heads with new valves and later intake manifolds.

This 250 GT has a factory-supplied cold-air box and velocity stacks in lieu of the more restrictive air cleaners. This setup was designed to force cold air form the hood scoop directly into the carburetors and was featured on a very limited number of LWB California models (including 1203 GT, 1215 GT, 1307 GT, 1527 GT, and 1505 GT).

Another hallmark of 1505 GT as being one of the earliest California models factory equipped with Dunlop disc brakes.

In October 1959, 1505 GT was delivered to the official Swiss Ferrari concessionaire Georges Filipinetti's Garage Montchoisy SA in Geneva. It was exported to the United States sometime during the 1960s, and by 1970 it had come into the care of Sidney J. Simpson of Bellaire, Texas. In 1984, Everett Anton Singer of Laurel Hollow, New York, acquired the car. In September of 1985, it was sold to Bob Marceca of North Salem, New York. At this point in the car's history, it had traveled just 56,950 original kilometers.

In the late 1980s, Bill Pound Automotive of San Diego, California, carried out a comprehensive restoration. It was stripped to bare metal and repainted in white. The interior was upholstered in Magnolia hides, a white top was fashioned and the various mechanical systems were restored as needed.

While undergoing restoration, the California was sold to a German collector named Wolfgang von Schmieder.

On December 4, 1989, the freshly restored California Spider returned to Switzerland.

During Mr. von Schmieder's ownership, the California was maintained at Garage Symbol. For some time it was displayed at Geneva's Musee de l'Automobile. In May 1997, Ferrari invited 1505 GT to participate in the company's 50th Anniversary meeting in Italy. Co-driven by Mr. von Schmieder and Kuno Schar, then President of the Ferrari Owners Club Switzerland, the California successfully completed the trip to Rome and Modena before returning home to Geneva.

In 2002, the car was sold to British collector Andrew Pisker. A short time later, the interior was completely reupholstered in dark blue leather and a new top was made to match. In the summer of 2004, Mr. Pisker participated in the California Dreaming event held in St. Tropez and later displayed 1505 GT at the Louis Vuitton Classic Concours d'Elegance at Waddesdon Manor.

The most recent caretaker displayed the car at the 2011 Quail Motorsports gathering in Carmel Valley, CA.

The car retains its original chassis, engine, brakes and bodywork. The only non-matching components is the gearbox; however this is an original 250 unit and correct for the car.

This 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider with coachwork by Scaglietti is offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Scottsdale, Az. It has an estimated value of $3,400,000 - $3,800,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2012
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: 1489GT
Engine Num: 1489GT
Sold for $3,630,000 at 2008 Gooding & Company.
This is an Ex-Scuderia Ferrari Factory car delivered to Wolfgang Seidel, Scuderia Ferrari's team driver. Fitted with a competition engine with a high 9.3:1 compression ratio, 'Abarth competition' exhaust system and 'Nardi Competition' steering, Siegel competed in numerous hill climbs in and around Germany. Won 'First Class' honors at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 1991. Received the Platinum award at the 1999 Cavalino Classics.

The car was completed at the Ferrari factory on September 19th of 1959. It was sent to its first owner, Prince Vittorio Emanuele de Savoia, son of the last Italian king, Umberto II, and pretender to the throne of Italy, then living in Geneva, Switzerland.

The car remained in the princes ownership for the next three years. It was purchased by the German sports car and Formula one driver Wolfgang Seidel, winner of the 1959 Targa Florio with Edgar Barth. During the mid-1960s, it was owned by Dr. Hans Hardt in Germany. In the late 1960s, it made its way to North America. Mark Smith learned about the vehicle through an advertisement in Hemmings Motor News, when the Ferrari was owned by Ms. Ellis Willoughby Little of New Hampshire. The car had been purchased by Ms. Willoughby Little through Chinetti. While at Chinetti, the car was fitted with an outside plug 250 motor, as the original inside plug motor had been removed and replaced with a small-block Chevy engine.

Smith was able to locate the original 1489 engine block as well as a few of the original bearing caps. Additional spares were sourced from engine 1487. Smith treated the car to a meticulous restoration at the Ferrari shop of Bob Smith in Gainesville, Texas. At the time, the car was converted to its present, desirable covered-headlight configuration and given the livery of black with a red stripe and red leather interior. The restoration was completed in 1991, and it earned a First in Class at the Ferrari Club of America (FCA) Annual Meet in Washington, DC.

The car was sold to Anthony Wang, joining his extensive and impressive collection of Ferraris. While in Wang's care, the car was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August of 1991 where it won First in Class. That same year, it was driven on the Colorado Grand.

In 1998, the car was sold to Richard Sirota. It was shown at the 1999 Cavallino Classic where it earned a Platinum award. Also that year, it was driven on the Colorado Grand. The car then went through two more impressive collections, both from Japan, before entering into the care of its present owner. It was shown at 'The Quail' in Carmel Valley later that year, then driven in the Colorado Grand in 2006 and 2007.

In 2008, this 250 GT LWB California Spider was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, the car had been sold for $3,630,000, including buyer's premium.
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: 1431GT
Ferrari's first cars were open cars mostly used for sports racing. These were followed by single seaters for Formula events. The convertible bodied car theme would continue in the Ferrari arsenal at the GT level for years to come.

Luigi Chinetti and Johnny von Neumann, a California resident, were the individuals responsible for the designation 'California' on a Ferrari. The California region offered plenty of opportunity for open-air cruising, had good roads, an emerging prosperity, and a beautiful climate. The design was created by Pinin Farina with the shape and fabrication performed at the Renaissance craft shop of Sergio Scaglietti.

Chassis number 0769GT was the first California Spyder and was created in the later part of 1957. 0769GT is often considered a transitional car from the prior cabriolet production to the new Spyder bodied cars. As production continued, there evolved two distinct series of the California, built between 1958 and 1962 with total production reach 105 units. The first series had a wheelbase that measured 2600mm and are often considered 'LWB' (Long Wheel Base) models. A total of 51 examples of the LWB versions were created with nine being alloy-bodied competition models. 54 examples of the second series were produced, all resting on a wheelbase that measured 2400mm.

This vehicle has chassis number 1431GT, engine number 1431GT, transmission number 223-D, and rear axle number 465. It is the 28th long wheelbase ever constructed and is equipped with many early, rare, and desirable features. It has the Type 128D variation of the three-liter Colombo V12 engine and was the last Cal Spyder example fitted with this engine type. The D-Series engine were the last with the inboard spark plug location where the plugs are positioned along the inside of the cylidner head. The rear axle and transmission are the Type 508D. The rear axle is fitted with an 8x34 ring and pinion resulting in a 4.25:1 gear ratio and better acceleration.

When this car left the Ferrari factory as a rolling chassis to receive its Scaglietti coachwork, it was fitted with a temporary engine and gearbox. It was sent to Scaglietti on May 6th of 1959. On July 29th it was assembled with the correct Type 128D engine. The car was then fitted with many features including a German ZF steering gearbox with 20:1 turning ratio, a 90-liter capacity fuel tank, Abarth exhaust system, and a cooling system with a thermostat. There are covered headlights, classic wood rim Nardi steering wheel, Borrani RW 3264 chromed wire wheels, and instruments in 'Miglia' or miles, meaning this was meant for export to the United States.

It was sent to Luigi Chinetti in 1959 and later sold to Robert Bodin of New York. At some point it was in the care of Allen M. Woodall of Columbus Georgia. During the 1980s the car was treated to an extensive restoration where it was painted in red and had a tan interior. In the very early 1990s the car was offered for sale by Ron Spangler's Prancing Horse Farm for $2.4 million. David Frankel took possession of the car around 1993. It was purchased by William Jacobs in 1994 and shown at the Cavallino Classic in 1995. David Smith of Medina, Wa was the vehicles next owner in 1997.

Another restoration began in 1997 and when completed, was painted in black paint with a matching leather interior. After the restoration it was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it won a first in class in the Ferrari category. Other awards include a first in class at the Ferrari National Meet in Toronto.

John Mozart of Palo Alto, CA was the vehicles next care-taker. In August of 2007 it was brought to the Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction where it fetched an impressive $4.45 million including buyer's premium.

It was shown at the 2008 Cavallino Classic.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: 1307GT
Engine Num: 1307GT
High bid of $1,975,000 at 2009 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
Sold for $3,594,578 (€2,520,000) at 2011 RM Auctions.
Sold for $8,500,000 at 2015 RM Auctions.
The prototype for the 250 GT Spyder California was created by Pinin Farina, but the series was built by Carrozzeria Scaglietti. This car (serial number 1307 GT), one of the rare long wheelbase Spyder California's with open headlights, was sold new in April 1959. The switches on the transmission tunnel are unique, as is its unusual hardtop.
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: 1603GT
Engine Num: 1603 GT
Vin Num: Internal Num: 22F
Sold for $7,260,000 at 2010 Gooding & Company.
Sold for $18,150,000 at 2016 Gooding & Company.
The Ferrari California Spider was designed and marketed as a multi-purpose sports car capable of racing and equally suitable for grand touring. With a lightweight aluminum body and tuned engine, it could function as a serious racing car. In this guise, just nine LWB California Spiders were original constructed with alloy coachwork, and of those, just a few left the factory with competition features. The alloy-bodied Spiders were produced on a one-off basis throughout the 50-car production run, and no two examples are exactly alike. The nine examples display many differences, both aesthetically and mechanically.

Without direct factory support and despite their limited production, the California Spider Competiziones achieved impressive results. From 1959 to 1961, alloy-bodied California Spiders won their class at major events (Sebring, Bridgehampton, Nassau, and Watkins Glen) and dominated the SCCA's B and C Production classes.

This 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder Competizione features an alloy body and left hand drive configuration. It was created on November 23rd of 1959 and is the 42nd example created. It is powered by a Type 168 engine mated to a Tipo 508C/525 gearbox. This engine was the same unit found in the Competition SWB Berlinettas, and was a development of Ferrari's 250 Testa Rossa sports racing cars and was installed in just four LWB California Spiders. The engine in 1603 GT was factory-equipped with Testa Rossa-type cylinder heads, featuring high-lift Tipo 130 camshafts and 9.8:1. It was fitted with three Weber 40 DCL6 carburetors with velocity stacks and an Abarth competition exhaust. In comparison to the standard LWB California Spider, this example produces approximately 50 more horsepower.

1603 GT was given lightweight aluminum coachwork by Carrozzeria Scaglietti in Modena and features the covered-headlight arrangement.

It was first owned by George Reed of Midlothian, IL via Chinetti Motors. Reed campaigned it during the remainder of the 1959 season through 1961. It raced in the Tourist Trophy, 12 Hours of Sebring, Governor's Trophy, Nassau Trophy and at Road America. At the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1960, the car was driven by Reed and Alan Connell to 5th overall, and third in class.

At the close of the 1964 season, Reed sold the Ferrari to a resident of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Ed Zwintscher of Wisconsin acquired the car around 1969. In 1984, Brian Brunkhorst acquired 1603 GT and sent it to Wayne Obry's Motion Products Inc. in Neenah, Wisconsin for a full restoration. The car was then finished in dark blue with a tan interior.

In 1989, Mr. Brunkhorst displayed the California at the 25th Ferrari Club of America annual meeting, where it received a First in Class award. It was later shown at the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance. In the 1990s, the car was sold to Michael Mak, who traded it to Dennis Machul for another significant Ferrari in 2000. The following year, Todd Morici acquired 1603 GT, and he campaigned it in several vintage races before refinishing the car in its original Sebring livery. While in Mr. Morici's ownership, the car was certified by the Ferrari Classiche Department, which confirmed it as an authentic example, retaining its original chassis, body, engine, gearbox, rear end, and other major components.

The current owner acquired the car in 2010 and immediately set about performing a selective cosmetic restoration. Completed in January 2011, the California Spider was displayed at the annual Palm Beach Cavallino Classic, where it earned an FCA Platinum Award and the Competizione Cup for the most outstanding competition Ferrari.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2016
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: 1451 GT
Ordered new and driven from the factory to LeMans by Bob Grossman, 451 GT placed 5th overall and first in class at LeMans in 1959 with co-driver Fernand Travano. Mr. Grossman continued to campaign the car in 1959 and 1960 with great success in SCCA competition. Since its restoration in 1983, S/N 1451 GT has won first in class at concours events including Pebble Beach in 1983 and 1994.

One of nine alloy bodied Competition Spyders, it was delivered new with the first Tipo 128F 'outside plug' motor with 250 Testarossa camshafts, 40 DCL6 Weber carburetors, oil cooler, special suspension, and a tall 3.55 drive ratio.

This 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Spyder California Competizione is chassis number 1451GT and the ex-Bob Grossman car. It has remained in the same care for the past twenty-six years and is one of only seven original alloy-bodied examples constructed. It was driven by Bob Grossman to a fifth overall and First in Class at the 1959 24 Hours of LeMans.

Pininfarina was tasked with creating an open-top car based on the chassis of the 250 GT TdF. It was dubbed the Spyder California and intended for the US market, more specifically the sun belt regions of the US. Production began in 1958 with eleven examples built by the time it became its own model in December of 1958. One of the early examples was entered by Luigi Chinetti's NART at Sebring in 1959. The car was driven by Richie Ginther and Howard Hively and finished in ninth overall, but won its GT class.

Grossman was an aspiring singer in Nyack, New York who started selling cars after the Second World War to finance voice lessons. Within a short period of time he had franchises for Jaguar, Volkswagen, and Alfa Romeo. He even raced a XK120 at area events with much success. By 1958 he had earned the SCCA G Production national title while driving an Alfa Giulietta veloce.

He had a long-wheelbase Spyder California which was having trouble beating Corvette's in SCCA competition. He asked Chinetti for help, and the result was 1451 GT.

There were a total of 51 LWB Spyder California's created and only nine were alloy-bodied competition models. This example was created by Ferrari as a rolling chassis and then sent to Sergio Scaglietti's workshop on May 18th of 1959. Upon completion, it was brought to LeMans. The car featured Testa Rossa cams with larger 40DCL6 carburetors and various other enhancements bringing the horsepower to 262. It was given an upgraded suspension, larger fuel tan with filler cap through the trunk lid, a 3.55:1 final drive ratio, and an oil cooler within the radiator.

At LeMans the car was driven by Grossman and co-driven by Fernando Tavano. It finished fifth overall and third in the GT class. Not bad for its first outing. After the race the car was sent back to Ferrari for final completion which including the finishing of the interior and being given a final paint job in metallic silver.

It was then sent to the US where it was raced the remainder of the season resulting in a first place at SCCA National races at Montgomery, New York. In September he blew the engine at Watkins Glen. A replacement engine was fitted and he continued to race in 1959 and 1960. Near the close of the 1960s, the SCCA found out about the factory modifications made to the car and he was warned not to enter any more club events. Soon after, the 250 GT Short-Wheelbase Competition Berlinettas became available, so Grossman sold 1451 GT and began racing in the 250 GT SWB Comp.

The car's history for the next twenty years is not fully known. It was owned by a banker in Maryland, later owned by another individual in Florida, and later found by a West Palm Beach Porsche dealer. The car was sold to a VSCCA member from New Jersey who brought it back up north.

In 1981 the car came into its current caretaker, who brought the car to the 2007 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction presented by RM Auctions, where it was one of the highlights of the event. The car has been treated to a two-year restoration finished in Ferrari red with tan interior.

It was brought to the Pebble Beach Concours in August of 1983 where it placed First in Class. It was awarded the Phil Hill award for Best in Show at the 1984 Ferrari Club of America National Meet. From there, the list of accomplishment and awards continue, including a first place at Meadow Brook and a repeat appearance at the 1994 Pebble Beach Concours. It has been raced in vintage events including the Colorado Grand, the Shell/Ferrari Challenge, and the Laguna Seca Historic Races.

It is one of the most important of all the surviving Spyder California's, a rare car that has a racing history that including a visit to LeMans. Its importance was evident at the RM Auctions as bidding was fierce. A high bid of 4,950,000 including buyer's premium was enough to secure new ownership, and was among the top sellers of the night.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2012
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: 1425GT
Sold for $7,700,000 at 2015 Gooding & Company.
Chassis number 1425 GT was sold to its first owner, Mrs. Livia Mustica of Naples, on July 30, 1959. It remained in her care for nearly a decade until July 1968 when it was sold to its second owner, Guido Palermo, also of Naples. In late 1968 or early 1969, the car was sold to Tom Meade. Soon after acquiring the car, Meade refinished the Ferrari in red lacquer and updated the original Scaglietti coachwork with covered headlights.

Jack Castor became the car's next owner, having it shipped in August of 1969 from Genova to San Francisco aboard the SS Paolo d'Amico. During transportation, the windshield was broken. He traveled to Modena in 1972 and brought the windshield frame to Scaglietti for repair and purchased a spare, which was then shipped back to his home in California.

The car was used by Mr. Castor until 1979 or 1980, when he retired it from the road. For the next 25 years, it sat idle while Mr. Castor amassed an eclectic collection comprised of bicycles, gasoline pumps, various antiques, and nearly 20 classic cars. 1425 GT, although in storage, remained Mr. Castor's prized possession.

In the mid-2000s, Jack had the serviced in preparation for returning to the road. Jack used the 250 GT until his recent passing. Each August he made the trip from his home in Half Moon Bay to Pebble Beach to enjoy the Monterey classic car events.

Chassis 1425 GT has never warranted a full restoration. It has been maintained as required and has remained in Mr. Castor's care for over 45 years. It wears its late 1960s red paint and original black leather upholstery.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2015
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: 1451 GT
This 250 GT Spyder California is one of just nine alloy bodied LWB Competizione Spyders built for privateer race teams and has the best competition history of them all. Ordered by Bob Grossman, the car was driven to Le Mans in June of 1959 where Grossman and co-driver Fernand Tavano raced it to 5th place overall and 1st in class. Returning to the USA, Grossman continued to campaign the car in SCCA competition throughout 1959 and 1960 with great success. It was built with many unique factory competition options including the first Tipo 128F 'outside plug' competition motor with Testarossa camshafts, larger 40 DCL6 Weber carburetors, an engine oil cooler, special suspension and a 35 gallon fuel tank installed especially for Le Mans. Since its restoration in 1983, the car was won numerous awards including the Rizi award for best competition car at the Cavallino Concorso in Palm Beach, Florida.
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: 1307GT
Engine Num: 1307GT
High bid of $1,975,000 at 2009 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
Sold for $3,594,578 (€2,520,000) at 2011 RM Auctions.
Sold for $8,500,000 at 2015 RM Auctions.
Unique in many facets, 1307GT remains perhaps the most eclectic and highly-desirable example of the already illustrious Ferrari 250GT California models. Nose to tail, there are many details that set this example apart, and therefore, perhaps the most iconic.

The 23rd of the 50 LWB California Spiders built by Ferrari, the chassis would be completed in March of 1959 and would be delivered to its first owner, Prince Alvise Hercolani of Bologna, a short time later.

There are California Spiders and then there is this one. To begin with, the car sports open highlights, which was a aesthetic touch that had been employed on many of the spiders that had seen competition in sports car races as the open design offered better visibility.

Then there are the Superamerica-inspired front fender vents. This feature was not something usually employed on the California Spiders but would be a design element employed on this particular example, right along with the inset air intake and a very beguiling hardtop that strikes a remarkable contrast today when fitted atop the dark blue body it now bears.

Compared to other California Spiders, this particular example would not settle for what has to be regarded as extraordinary 'standard' features. This would include the heart beating under the hood as well. Factory-fitted velocity stacks would be installed with triple Weber carburetors to give this car ample amounts of airflow to the 3.0-liter Colombo designed V12 engine. What's more, details, such as the ignition switch, and other controls, would not be situated on the dashboard, as was the usual custom for the California Spiders. Instead, these elements would be repositioned to the transmission tunnel directly below the dashboard.

Hercolani would only own the car for a period of about six months before selling the car to the German racer, Wolfgang Seidel. Seidel would be one of those German racers that would take full advantage of the Formula 2 regulations that controlled Formula One throughout 1952 and 1953. Competing with a Veritas RS, Wolfgang would make his Formula One debut at the Nurburgring in 1953. Throughout the remainder of the 1950s, and into the early 1960s, he would continue to make appearances here and there in Formula One events.

In reality, Seidel would become better known for his presence in sports car races. He would compete in more than a hundred sportscar races throughout his career and those starts would include the Mille Miglia, the Spa 24 Hours, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and, of course, the 1000 Kilometers of the Nurburgring.

Seidel would often compete in Porsches, but 1307GT would also see some track time including races in Germany, Belgium and in other locations.

Right up through 1961 the Ferrari would remain with Seidel. However, he would soon sell the car and it would end up in the hands of William Morgan, an American who happened to live in Wiesbaden, Germany at the time.

Morgan would thoroughly love the car and the freedom and class it afforded its owner. He would often take long trips with his wife, from Germany to Marseille, a trip around Corsica and then a jaunt from Switzerland to Modena, Italy.

Following a couple more years in Europe, Morgan would have the car shipped across the globe to Pleasant Hills, California, and then later, Scottsdale, Arizona where it would soon be found offered for sale.

Ed Niles would be well known as an attorney based in Los Angeles. However, Niles also had a passion for Ferraris and was an astute historian of the marque. In September of 1966, Niles would purchase the California Spider. Almost immediately, he would have the car refinished in a dark red. This would be completed in time for Niles to enjoy the car for about a year before he too decided to sell the car.

After being exchanged between a number of owners over its first decade of life, 1307GT would soon find a steady home with Jim Swartout of Lake Forest, Illinois.

Swartout would purchase the Ferrari in November of 1968 while just 29 years of age and still attending college. Nevertheless, Jim would not purchase the car on a whim, this would be demonstrated by the 30 years in which the car would remain in his care.

Looking to retire from his dental business, Swartout would make the incredible decision to part with his California, and, in 1999, the car would be sold to Jonas Linden of Stocksund, Sweden. Once in his possession, the car would undergo a full restoration completed by Carrozzeria Autosport Bacchelli & Villa situated in Bastiglia, Italy.

In June of 2001, the car would make its first appearance following the restoration efforts. the result would be California Spider that many others just had to own.

Joe Hayes would be the next fortunate owner. He would come to own the car in 2003. Despite the high originality of the car, Hayes would recognize just what he had on his hands. He owned a grand tourer and he would treat it as such using the car to participate in the Texas 1000 and New England 1000 rallies.

Some time following the rallies, the car would be stripped and refinished to the same dark blue body and silver top it sported when Seidel owned the car. Following this return to the striking livery of Seidel's tenure, the car would be shown at the 2005 Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance. The car would certainly turn many heads and this would lead to, three years later, being shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance as part of a special California Spider class.

Hayes had invested more than $100,000 to ensure this California Spider remained one of the best examples of the breed for years to come. Ferrari Classiche certification would inspire the art collector, Adam Lindenmann to purchase the car in 2011, who would then turn around in late 2013 to sell the car to Jean-Claude Biver of Switzerland.

Following another restoration effort by Garage Alberto Donati, 1307GT has been made available for purchase once again. Offered as part of RM Auctions' 2015 Monterey event, listed as one the auction house's entries in its Pinnacle Portfolio, the 1959 Ferrari 250GT California Spider, chassis 1307GT, would sport estimates ranging from between $9,000,000 and $11,000,000, making the car, potentially, one of the most valuable examples of what is considered the pinnacle of Ferrari's genius.

By Jeremy McMullen
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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166 F2
250 GT
250 Monza
250 Testarossa
333 SP
342 America
410 S
488 GTB
500 F2
500 Superfast
500 TR
512 BB/LM
612 Scaglietti
F430 GTC
Mondial 500
Type 340

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