Sold for $8,140,000 at 2013 RM Sothebys
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