Chassis #: 3119 GT
Engine # 3119 GT
High bid of €4,000,000 at 2009 RM Sothebys. (did not sell)
Sold for $8,580,000 at 2012 RM Sothebys
The Pinin Farina-designed 250 GT Berlinetta would become one of Ferrari's landmark designs. However, it would be the series that would become known very simply as 'Tour de France' that would truly warm Enzo Ferrari's heart. The race-bred performance would also attract some very enthusiastic clientele. Therefore, Ferrari knew they had a market, and Pinin Farina would deliver one of the most iconic and sought after of all Ferrari designs.
Pinin Farina would design a couple of different series of the 250 GT Berlinetta. One would focus on being a touring car filled with luxurious appointments and comforts. In their own right, these exquisite Ferraris would earn a very special place in Ferrari history and in the hearts of aficionados around the world. The other series, however, would not focus on comfort but on performance. Known as the 'Tour de France', these Berlinettas were much more racing cars based upon the very same models taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other sportscar races. Nimble and quick, the 'Tour de France' appealed to a certain crowd.
Ferrari wanted to continue to build upon the success gained with the 250 GT. It was clear getting rid of the model entirely was not the way to go. Therefore, in 1959, Ferrari would introduce two new models penned by Pinin Farina and built by Scaglietti. One would be a Cabriolet that would focus on appointments and comfort. The Series II Cabriolets would be perfectly suited to the everyday use of the wealthy and affluent.
Pinin Farina noted the success, and the love Enzo had, of the 'Tour de France'. They wanted to maintained that level of excitement without it just being another run of the very same design. Therefore, drawing upon the styling used in the 'Tour de France', Pinin Farina would design an exciting Spyder body. So while the Cabriolet would be filled with luxurious appointments and comforts intended for a touring car, the Spyder version would still be all about the performance.
In all actuality, the California would be an idea floated by the American Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti. He recognized that state of things in the United States and believed an open top Ferrari, with the performance of the company's GT cars, would make for one popular concept.
The design just seemed right, especially with the more nimble handling of the shorter-wheelbase. And, as with the 'TdF', the California Spyder, as it would become known, would be as much at home driving around city streets and back roads as it would be on the track.
The California Spyder would certainly provide the performance necessary to make a convertible owner happy. Bristling with 280 bhp from a 3.0-liter V12 engine and three Weber carburetors, the 250 GT Spyder could certainly get moving quite rapidly providing copious amounts of wind flowing over and around the car to add even more of a sensation of speed to a car already capable of some truly spine-tingling speeds. And, with the shorter wheelbase, the California Spyder beautifully complimented the sheer speed with some impressive handling as well.
Just a little more than one hundred of the California Spyders would be built. Just 56 of those built would be placed on the shorter wheelbase chassis. And of those 56, just 37 would feature one of the most desirable of all configurations: complete with covered headlights.
Chassis 3119 GT happens to be one of those highly-desirable 37 250 GT California Spyders sitting on a short wheelbase with the all-important covered headlights. And at the 2012 RM Auctions event in Monterey this sheik and brawny Ferrari would be made available for sale.
By the late 1950s and the early 1960s, the scene in Hollywood was that of jet-setting actors and actresses enjoying their expensive but very elegant toys. And the Pinin Farina-designed Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder had certainly been designed for just such an environment. Chassis 3119 GT would therefore, not surprisingly, make its way to the United States but not before it was sold to Fredy Damman via Jacques Swaters' Garage Francorchamps SA located in Brussels, Belgium.
Philipp Cole would come to own the car in 1970 after it arrived in the United States. Nineteen years later, 3119 GT would be in the hands of Walt McCune and not only would he show in the Newport Beach Concours d'Elegance in 1989, but he would also contract Luigi Menerella's shop to perform a restoration of the SWB California Spyder. When the car returned from restoration it would be shown at the 40th Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it would win its class, thereby adding weight to its incredible provenance, restoration and elegance.
The victories would continue to come. During the mid-1990s Bill Bauce would become the proud owner of the California Spyder and he would present it at the 29th Ferrari Club national meeting held in Palm Beach. There, again, the car would come away with another class victory.
Bauce would own 3119 GT for a number of years before it would be sold to its current owner, also a recognized Ferrari enthusiast. Since coming to its current owner, 3119 GT has become a prominent part of an already exceptional collection and continues to be an exquisite example of the famed SWB California Spyders.
Expected to garner between $7,500,000 and $9,000,000, the 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder chassis number 3119 GT, with matching engine number, is certainly expected to be one of the highlights of the RM Auction at Monterey. And, being one of just 37 produced with the covered headlights, a multiple award winner, Ferrari Classiche certified, matching numbers and just a completely stunning car to behold, it is not at all difficult to understand why.Sources:
'Lot No. 240A: 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=MO12&CarID=r238). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=MO12&CarID=r238. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
'1959 Ferrari 250 GT SWB News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13223/Ferrari-250-GT-SWB.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13223/Ferrari-250-GT-SWB.aspx. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
'Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder', (http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/2176/Ferrari-250-GT-SWB-California-Spyder.html). Ultimatecarpage.com: Powered by Knowledge, Driven by Passion. http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/2176/Ferrari-250-GT-SWB-California-Spyder.html. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
'Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder—Classic Cars for Sale', (http://www.sportscardigest.com/ferrari-250-gt-swb-california-spyder-classic-cars-for-sale/). Sports Car Digest: The Sports, Racing and Vintage Car Journal. http://www.sportscardigest.com/ferrari-250-gt-swb-california-spyder-classic-cars-for-sale/. Retrieved 9 August 2012.By Jeremy McMullen