The front-mounted 3-liter V12 engines installed in the Ferrari 250 GT family of Gran Turismo during the turn of the 1950s to the 1960s, provided the Maranello Company with a solid foundation to increase and expand their manufacturing volume. By the early 1960s, road car production had become a vitally important part of the company's future stability. The 250, Ferrari's first volume-produced model, was critically important, though production of the first of the line - the 250 Europa, built from 1953 to 1954 - amounted to fewer than 20. Prior to the Europa, Ferrari had built road-going vehicles mostly to special customer order using a sports-racing chassis as the basis. Most of the coachwork was completed by Ghia and Vignale of Turin and Touring of Milan but there was no attempt at standardization for series production.
The 250 Europa brought about another significant change for Ferrari, with Pinin Farina becoming the preferred coachbuilder. They created coachwork for no fewer than 48 out of the 53 Europa/Europa GTs constructed. Their experiments later evolved into a new Ferrari 250 GT road car that was first displayed publically in March of 1956 at the Geneva Salon. Since the Torinese Carrozzeria was unable to handle the volume, production was entrusted to Carrozzeria Boano after Pinin Farina had completed a handful of prototypes.
Powering the 250 GT was a compact Colombo-designed 3.0-liter V12. It was a single-overhead-camshaft all-aluminum unit that offered 220 horsepower. The wheelbase was shorter than that of the Europa, and continued the company's established practice of a multi-tubular frame connected together by oval main tubes. The independent front suspension, however, employed coil springs in place of the previous transverse leaf type. The live rear axle received the engine's power through a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox, while braking was controlled by hydraulic drums at all four corners.
Series production finally achieved 'significant' figures with the introduction of the Pininafrina 'notch back' Coupe on the 250 GT chassis. Around 353 examples were built between 1958 and 1960 within the sequence '0841' to '2018'.
At the 1957 Geneva Salon, the first 250 GT Cabriolet was introduced. A handful of alternative versions were built prior to series production officially beginning in July of 1957. Around 40 examples of the Series I Pininfarina Cabriolets were built before the introduction of the Series II in 1959. They came with the latest 240 horsepower V12 engine with outside sparkplugs, twelve-port cylinder heads, and coil valve springs.
A new 250 GT berlinetta was introduced at the Paris Salon in October 1959. It rode on a shortened wheelbase that had been shaved by 200 millimeters. The lightened chassis received new coachwork design which was shortened to eliminate the rear quarter-panel windows. A short batch of seven cars were retroactively referred to as the Interim Berlinettas.
The new short-wheelbase 250 GT (SWB) received Dunlop disc brakes as standard equipment. Tubular Miletto or Koni shock absorbers were utilized at the front corners and the Colombo V-12 Tipo 168 engine rested comfortably under the elegant bonnet.
The new SWB model was a dual-purpose road and track vehicle that could be ordered in either street (Lusso) or competition (competizione) trim levels. The competition versions were given all-alloy coachwork and specially tuned engines with revised camshaft profiles and competition carburetors. The competition racing examples handily won the Tour de France from 1960 to 1962, as well as the RAC Tourist Trophy races at Goodwood in 1960 and 1961.
The Ferrari 250 GT was the most successful Ferrari of its era, with production of all types surpassing 900 units. Just 165 examples of all configurations of the 250 GT short-wheelbase berlinettas were built through 1962. This includes approximately 89 examples that were designated specifically for street use.
This particular example, chassis number 2639, is believed to be one of 41 examples built to road-car specifications in 1961, and the 83rd example built overall. Although it is not a competizione example, it did received several competition features, including a ribbed competition gearbox, competition Weber carburetors, an Abarth exhaust system, upgraded camshafts, and Milletto shock absorbers, as well as the exclusion of front and rear bumpers. Like most SWB examples, it has alloy doors, hood, and trunk lid. This is one of 10 or 11 examples that were built to 'semi-competition' configuration.
The chassis was sent to Scaglietti in Modena for bodywork on April 5th of 1961. It was finished in grigio argento paint and trimmed with nero vaumol leather upholstery. The rear axle was assembled on July 26 and the Colombo-designed V-12 finishing assembly a day later. On July 31st, the chassis was officially completed and the SWB was soon sent for retail to Parauto S.n.c., a Ferrari dealer in Genova, Italy, where it was purchased by local resident Marco Dall'Orso.
It was acquired by Rome-based dealer Roberto Goldini later in the decade, and he arranged a sale to Edwi Niles of Los Angeles. Niles sold the SWB to Barry and Michael Schwartz, the proprietors of Continental Auto Body in North Hollywood, and they sold the car in 1970 to Peter Boyd of Hollywood. In 1972, it was purchased by Hal Mayfield of Dallas, Texas, and he sold it in 1974 to Roger Plummer of Sulphur Springs, Texas. Around this time, the owner took the opportunity to customize the car's nose with recessed covered headlamps in the style of a California Spider.
Stephen Forristall GT Cars of Houston acquired the car in the 1980s, and it rested for several years while being restored with a rebuilt gearbox and clutch, and a modified intake featuring a cold-air box with velocity stacks. The body was refinished in red and the interior was re-upholstered in tan leather.
In March 1985, the Ferrari passed through two New York-based dealers before being purchased in 1986 by Alfred Guggisberg's Oldtimer Garage Ltd. in Toffen, Switzerland. Temporarily sold to Erich Traber of Berne, the car was then sold to Beat Kanzig of Oberrohrdorf, Switzerland, who kept it for the following 13 years. While in his care, the modified front fascia was returned to the original factory configuration.
In late 2001, the car was acquired by Jon Hajduk. Though the car was titled in Hajduk's name, it was acquired circa 2002 by Peter Dyson. Dyson displayed the SWB at the 38th Annual FCA Nationals meeting held in Los Angeles in May 2002. The car remained in Dyson's care for the next nine years before it was sold in 2011 to the current caretaker.
The current owner has brought the car back to a more factory-correct state. It was given a correct new exhaust, and engine intakes were re-configured. Other minor corrective procedures were also performed.
On August 14th of 2015, the car was shown at the Quail Motorsports Gathering in Carmel Valley, California where it competed in 'The Great Ferraris' class. A day later, it was shown at the Concorso Italiano in Seaside and won the Best in Class, Best Ferrari, and Best of Show. On August 17th, the car was judged at the FCA Nationals in Monterey and scored 97.5 out of a possible 100 points. After the event, the owner corrected the car's minor deficits. Five months later, the car was shown at the Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach, where it improved a full point, scoring 98.5 points. This score was sufficient to win the Ferrari Classiche Cup for the finest factory-certified Ferrari. The car was then shown at the 2017 Boca Raton Concours d'Elegance where it was awarded Best in Class (Foreign Sports, 1960-1975 – Closed).By Daniel Vaughan | May 2017