Ferrari's U.S. dealers, Luigi Chinetti and John von Neumann, requested a dual-purpose 250 GT Spider variant that could be driven on the road or raced on the track. Thus, work began on a new 250 GT open variant in late 1957 for the North American market, just as production of Pinin Farina's Series I Cabriolet was getting underway. It was called the California Spider and targeted specifically at Ferrari's American clientele. It was a stylish, thoroughbred, high-performance sports car with coachwork by Carrozzeria Scaglietti following a design by Pininfarina. It had a racy, swept-back windscreen, a lightweight folding top, minimal interior appointments, and competition-inspired bucket seats. There was space for two individuals plus room for their luggage. The early examples rested on the long-wheelbase chassis (LWB) shared with the 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta and Series I Cabriolet. Power was from a Colombo 3.0-liter V12 engine. In late 1959, the California Spider finally received disc brakes and tubular shock absorbers.
Several examples of the LWB California Spider were factory-equipped with competition features such as aluminum coachwork, high-lift camshafts, and long-range fuel tanks with outside fillers. Notable successes included a 5th place finish at Le Mans, a class win at Sebring, and many victories in SCCA B-production events.
In 1960, the California Spider was redesigned with a new short-wheelbase chassis, standard four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes, a more refined suspension, and new outside-plug Tipo 168 and 168/61 engines. Scaglietti redesigned the coachwork around the updated chassis, with a more sporting and aggressive appearance, with muscular rear haunches, and curvaceous front fenders. While LWB California Spider had a Spartan interior, the SWB version was more luxuriously trimmed with stitched leather, wool carpeting, and redesigned seats.
The short wheelbase versions measured 2,400 millimeters and the long wheelbase versions had a 2,600 millimeter platform. The shorter wheelbase improved handling and increased the car's cornering speed. The newer Tipo 168 engine design had new heads and larger valves, and produced up to 280 horsepower. The SWB had a wider track than the outgoing California Spider, and the car's lever-type shock absorbers were replaced with newer Koni adjustable and telescopic shock absorbers.
Ferrari built 106 examples of the 250 GT California Spider between 1957 and 1963. 50 examples were the LWB version while the remaining 56 were SWB examples.
Jan De Vroom campaigned his SWB California Spider at both the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 1961 12 Hours of Sebring, where he finished 12th overall. by Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2019
Related Reading : Ferrari 250 GT History
Production of the 250 Series began in 1954 and continued on through the early part of the 1960s. There were numerous variations of the 250 and would ultimately become Ferraris 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 1950s. Also, the 250 was the first four-seater. Ferraris.... Continue Reading >>
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 ....[continue reading]
Chassis number 3163GT was the 34th example completed and it was painted in red with a black interior. In the early 1970s it was repainted dark blue and was given a tan interior. A short time later it was repainted red. In 1998 it was completely resto....[continue reading]
Pininfarina showed the prototype for a Ferrari 250GT cabriolet at the Geneva Show in early 1957, which led to 36 of what became known as the 250PF cabriolet being built. American Ferrari distributor Luigi Chinetti and West Coast dealer John von Neuma....[continue reading]
This Ferrari was completed by the factory on December 28th of 1962 and was the 55th of 56 SWB California Spiders produced. It was built as a road car with steel bodywork, open headlights (this being one of 19 examples with this configuration), front ....[continue reading]
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