1960 Ferrari 250GT SWB Berlinetta ‘Competizione' by Carrozzeria Scaglietti
Anchored by a lighter-weight aluminum alloy body and highly-tuned Colombo V12 engines, the Ferrari 250 GT SWB would earn an exceptional reputation on the track earning victories in the Tour de France from 1960 to 1962, as well as, victories in the RAC Tourist Trophy classic races at Goodwood between 1960 and 1961. The car would be so good that it would lead Stirling Moss to declare, 'it was quite difficult to fault, in fact.'
One of these faultless 250GT SWB Berlinetta 'Competizione' by Ferrari would become available for sale in the 2013 RM Auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona. This particular example, chassis number 1905GT, would be just the 17th example of the berlinettas to be built.
The Ferrari 250 GT SWB was considered one of the most desirable performance sportscars for the street at the time. However, the 'Competizione' models, the ones specifically tuned for the track were something else entirely. Boasting of 280bhp, a four-speed manual gearbox and an alloy aluminum body fitted over a chassis with tweaked suspension, the 250GT SWB Berlinetta 'Competizione' took performance, both in acceleration, braking and handling, to a whole new level. In addition, the Scaglietti made for one aggressive, and yet, beautiful car in which to lap the competition.
This particular chassis, according to most historians and enthusiasts, is among the best documented of all the SWB examples. Accordingly, it is noted with authority that the car's Colombo engine had been completed on May 18th, 1960 and was fitted to the chassis on the 21st of May. Additionally, it is noted the car's engine was completed with three Weber 40 DCL 6 carburetors with short trombette horns. The reason for this detail is that it indicates the car's configuration was meant to provide better low-end performance as would be necessary for hill climbs and shorter circuits. The racing pedigree of the car is further attested to with the addition of a Bonaldi 700 brake servo booster.
The car would be an interesting build. It would feature such characteristics as a non-sleeved brake cooler ducts and side and hood vents that would lack the embellishments. And, finally, the car would still be produced with wind-up Perspex windows instead of the sliding panes that would adorn most of the competition models. But, given that Ferraris were custom built cars, this detail is not entirely unusual and reflects something of its purpose when it was finally received by its first owner on the 24th of May, 1960.
It is widely believed Renato Bialetti, despite the build and details of the car, was by no means a racer. It is more than likely that he just wanted the highly-tuned Berlinetta 'Competizione' model for all to gawk at while out and about on the streets of his town of Omegna, Italy.
Two years after taking delivery of the car, Mr. Bialetti would have the car serviced at the Ferrari factory's Assistenza Clienti in Modena. At that time it is recorded the car's read 43,361 kilometers.
The car would remain with Bialetti for a number of years. It wouldn't be until February of 1967 that he would sell the car to a Domenico Piantoni of Milan. The car wouldn't remain with Piantoni for very long, however. Toward the later part of 1967, the car would be packed up and shipped off to the United States. The car had been purchased by the well known marque collector Norman Blank and would be brokered via another well-known Ferrari connoisseur from southern California.
Blank was quite well known amongst the Ferrari community as he would be known for owning a number of vintage V12 Ferraris. During the car's period of ownership under Mr. Blank it would be decided the power from the Colombo V12 wasn't quite enough. Therefore, Mr. Blank would set about purchasing a Testa Rossa V12 to put in the car. The rest would be truly remarkable in so many ways. Still retaining its gorgeous looks, but possessing the kind of power that could make a heart stop, Mr. Blank believed to have created the 'ultimate' SWB racer. For a period of three decades the car remained in this state.
Mr. Blank would have a change of heart by 1997. Determined to undertake some restoration work on the car, Mr. Blank would determine to replace with the Testa Rossa engine with its original. While considered wise and prudent, the move would also be made out of a sense of understanding the nature of the times. Highly original Ferraris were in great demand and he still had the car's original engine on hand. Therefore, it only made sense to return the car to its original condition.
While the engine would be replaced, the chassis and body would continue in its restoration process carried out by Charles Betz and Fred Peters. The work would be completed and Mr. Blank would enter the car in the 1999 Concorso Italiano held at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, California. Then, in 2002, the car would be on exhibition at the 38th FCA National Meeting and Concours. At that event the car would earn a Platinum Award in the Racing Class.
After Mr. Blank's passing in 2004, the car would become the property of another esteemed collector who would enter the car in numerous events including the Quail Motorsports Gathering, the 31st Monterey Historic Races and vintage campaigns like the 2004 Colorado Grand, the 2005 Tour Auto Lissac in France and the 2005 Quail Rally.
Brian Hoyt would be contracted to refresh the 250GT SWB in 2008. Hoyt's Perfect Reflections would perform a careful repaint in Barchetta Rossa and would complete many other detailing to ready the car for concours events.
The work would pay immediate dividends when the car earned Best in Show and the Coppa Milano-Sanremo Award at the 2008 Concorso Italiano. Then, at the 2009 Palm Beach Cavallino Classic, the car would earn yet another Platinum Award in the Racing Class. It would also earn a special award for the Best GT Car at the Classic Sports Sunday event held at Mar-a-Lago the next day.
1905GT would then undergo concours preparation and would be shipped to Switzerland to take part in the 2009 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este at Lake Como in Italy. While in preparation, the historian Marcel Massini would have unrestricted access to the car and plenty of time to further his well-documented history of the car.
The preparations would be successful as the car would receive a second place Mention of Honor in the Modena Thoroughbred Class. However, upon returning to the United States, the car again would rise to the top step earning yet another Platinum Award, this time at the 45th FCA Nationals held at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Then, at the Marin Sonoma Concours, the car would earn a Platinum and a First in Class at the Chateau Julian Concours.
The restoration work would continue. In 2010, Wayne Obry's Motion Products would be commissioned to complete even more restoration work. This was done in preparation for that year's Pebble Beanch Concours d'Elegance. This would be a special year as part of the concours events would include a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta. When it was all said and done, the car would earn a score of 95 points.
The car's remarkable exhibition record would continue throughout 2010 and 2011 and would include the Phil Hill Award and a feature article in the August 2011 issue of Cavallino magazine.
The 17th of just 72 aluminum-bodied competizione-spec SWB examples, boasting of just four owners since new and bursting with numerous and highly coveted awards, including multiple Platinum Awards, 1905GT certainly seems beyond the definition of remarkable. It is easy to understand why. Those evocative lines, the sound of the Colombo V12 and restoration work worthy of its many accolades, this particular 1960 Ferrari 250GT SWB Berlinetta 'Competizione' certainly defines its class.
Absolutely 'race-ready', fully documented and award winning, 1905GT's estimated value could only learned upon request by serious buyers. But one thing is certain, and that is this: its value would have to be determined beyond the mere limits of money.
Sources: 'Lot No. 164: 1960 Ferrari 250GT SWB Berlinetta 'Competizione' by Carrozzeria Scaglietti', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ13&CarID=r159). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ13&CarID=r159. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
'1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z8769/Ferrari-250-GT-SWB.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z8769/Ferrari-250-GT-SWB.aspx. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
'1959-1962 Ferrari 250GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione', (http://www.supercars.net/cars/2075.html). Supercars.net. http://www.supercars.net/cars/2075.html. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
'Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione', (http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/1559/Ferrari-250-GT-SWB-Berlinetta-Competizione.html). Ultimatecarpage.com: Powered by Knowledge, Driven by Passion. http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/1559/Ferrari-250-GT-SWB-Berlinetta-Competizione.html. Retrieved 10 January 2013.By Jeremy McMullen
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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
In 1961, Richie Ginther would join Giancarlo Baghetti, Willy Mairesse and Wolfgang von Trips to come away with a 2nd place overall finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Completing 208 laps, the Ferrari 250...