1961 Ferrari 250 GT California

Luigi Chinetti and John von Neumann were Ferrari dealers in the United States and the inspiration behind the Ferrari 250 California Spider. Neumann was the West Coast Ferrari and Porsche distributor who had chopped down a Gmünd-built Porsche Coupe in the late 1940s to create a lightweight competition car. In the early 1950s, Porsche dealer Max Hoffman of New York convinced the German company to build a lightweight, low-cost, minimalistic, and competitive version of the 356. It was called the Speedster and it was both a sales and competition success. Neumann once said 'Guys want to go, on a Saturday night in June, down Sunset Boulevard with their elbow over the door and the girls can see them in the car.'

In a similar fashion, Chinetti and Neumann convinced Enzo Ferrari to give the popular 250 GT a similar treatment. At the time, Ferrari's model lineup included the 250 GT Cabriolet by Pinin Farina derived from the GT Coupe. Just like the Porsche Speedster, the concept envisioned by Chinetti and Neumann was a dual purpose car that could be driven on street and track. While the 250 GT Cabriolet was birthed from the road-going coupe, the new 'California Spyer' was spawned from the competition berlinettas. Scaglietti, who built the competition cars for Ferrari, was tasked with its creation using a design penned by Pinin Farina.

Depending on the intended use, the Type 128D V-12 SOHC engine offered between 240 and 280 horsepower. In standard trim, it had a 2,953cc displacement, 3 Weber DCZ/3 carburetors, and a block and head formed from lightweight alloy. There were drum brakes, four-speed manual gearbox, and a suspension comprised of double wishbones, and coil springs or anti-roll bars.

The California Spider was built specifically for the affluent American clientele who were seeking a stylish, thoroughbred sports car. Just like the Porsche and other European sports cars built for the American market, the California Spider had a swept-back windscreen, a lightweight folding top, competition-inspired bucket seats, and minimal interior amenities or appointments. The first fifty examples were built on the long-wheelbase (LWB) chassis of the 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta. Many were often put to use as a GT racing car, and several examples were equipped from the factory with competition features, such as lightweight aluminum coachwork, long-range fuel tanks with outside fillers, and high-lift camshafts. In this guise, the California Spiders earned 5th at LeMans, a class win at Sebring, and many SCCA B-production victories. By 1959, the performance was further improved with modern Dunlop disc brakes and tubular shock absorbers.

The California Spider was thoroughly redesigned to complement the short-wheelbase (SWB) Berlinetta of 1960. It was given a more sophisticated chassis, and its Scaglietti coachwork was more aggressive and sporting in appearance. The engine was a Type 168 V12 unit displacing 2,953cc and developing nearly 280 horsepower. Just like the LWB version, several SWB California Spiders competed at major European events including the 24 Hours of LeMans and the Targa Florio.

A total of 106 250 GT SWB California Spiders were built including 50 of the early LWB version and 56 of the final SWB variant.


by Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2020

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 >>

1961 Vehicle Profiles

1961 Ferrari 250 GT California vehicle information

SWB Spyder

Chassis Num: 2467GT
Engine Num: 168
Gearbox Num: 539

Ferrari 250 GT SWB (Short Wheelbase) California Spyder with chassis number 2467GT was constructed by April 24th of 1961. It is the 15th constructed and is a left hand vehicle. It is constructed of steel with covered headlights and has a 9.3:1 compr....[continue reading]

1961 Ferrari 250 GT California vehicle information

SWB Spyder

Chassis Num: 2871 GT
Engine Num: 2871

The high-performance 250 GT California Spider wore coachwork by Carrozzeria Scaglietti and was aimed at a very specific segment of Ferrari's American clientele: young, well-heeled enthusiasts who wanted a stylish, thoroughbred sports car that was sui....[continue reading]

1961 Ferrari 250 GT California vehicle information

SWB Spyder

Chassis Num: 2561 GT

This short-wheelbase California Spyder, chassis number 2561 is the 19th of 55 built. The car was originally sold in Paris at Franco-Brittannic Autos. This car was ordered with many desirable options by Nano Da Silva Ramos, which included covered head....[continue reading]

1961 Ferrari 250 GT California vehicle information

SWB Spyder

Chassis Num: 2903 GT

What does a farmer's daughter dream about to enjoy her last summer? Certainly, a Ferrari 250 GT California Spider packing all of the right stuff. ....[continue reading]

1961 Ferrari 250 GT California vehicle information

SWB Spyder

Chassis Num: 3099 GT
Engine Num: 168/61
Gearbox Num: 539/61

The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder with chassis number 3099GT is a left hand drive vehicle. It is constructed of steel with covered headlights and a competition engine. ....[continue reading]

1961 Ferrari 250 GT California vehicle information

SWB Spyder

Chassis Num: 3059GT

Ferrari began building the 250 GT SWB California Spyder in 1960 and would continue until early 1963, with production totaling 54 units. The design was by Scaglietti and was close to the long wheelbase 'TdF' Berlinetta but on a shorter wheelbase. Thes....[continue reading]

1961 Ferrari 250 GT California vehicle information

SWB Spyder

Chassis Num: 2935GT

This unrestored Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California was shown by the Ferrari importer Franco-Britannic Autos at the Paris Motor Show in 1961. During the second week of the show the Ferrari was bought by the actor Gerard Blain and then just six days afte....[continue reading]

1961 Ferrari 250 GT California vehicle information

SWB Spyder

Chassis Num: 3095 GT
Engine Num: 3095

Lord Laidlaw is one of Scotland's premier car enthusiasts boasting of a collection that is both rare and exceptional, a collection that would be the envy of just about anyone. In 2015, he would make one of the rarest pieces of his collection go free,....[continue reading]

SWB Spyder
Chassis #: 2467GT 
SWB Spyder
Chassis #: 2871 GT 
SWB Spyder
Chassis #: 2561 GT 
SWB Spyder
Chassis #: 2903 GT 
SWB Spyder
Chassis #: 3099 GT 
SWB Spyder
Chassis #: 3059GT 
SWB Spyder
Chassis #: 2935GT 
SWB Spyder
Chassis #: 3095 GT 


Concepts by Ferrari

Similarly Priced Vehicles



Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$1-$12,600
1961 250 GT California
$12,600-$22,755
1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Base Price : $12,600

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Ferrari
1966Ford (2,212,415)Chevrolet (2,206,639)Volkswagen (1,168,146)706
1965Chevrolet (2,375,118)Ford (2,170,795)Volkswagen (1,174,687)700
1964Chevrolet (2,318,619)Ford (1,594,053)Toyota (1,068,321)
1963Chevrolet (2,237,201)Ford (1,525,404)Fiat (957,941)
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Meteor (1,408,478)

Related Automotive News

Gooding & Company Unveils Iconic 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider To Highlight Amelia Island Auction

Gooding & Company Unveils Iconic 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider To Highlight Amelia Island Auction

The Quintessential Ferrari 250 GT with Limited Ownership from New and Cinematic History SANTA MONICA, Calif. (February 12, 2016) – Gooding %26 Company, the auction house acclaimed for selling...
Four Pininfarina Masterpieces Offered at Gooding & Company's 2019 Pebble Beach Auctions

Four Pininfarina Masterpieces Offered at Gooding & Company's 2019 Pebble Beach Auctions

Highlights include the Italian Prince Ruspolis spectacular Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolet, the one-of-a-kind Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Superflow show car, a wonderfully original Ferrari 400 Superamerica...
Gooding & Company Presents Three Significant Competition Ferrari Berlinettas At The Company's 15Th Annual Pebble Beach Auctions

Gooding & Company Presents Three Significant Competition Ferrari Berlinettas At The Company's 15Th Annual Pebble Beach Auctions

These three cars showcase Ferraris lineage of competition GT cars. Selections include the 1966 Ferrari 275 GTBC, the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France, and the 1950 Ferrari 166 MM195 S Berlinetta...
1957 250 GT 'tdf' Leads More Ferrari Magic To RM Sotheby's Monaco

1957 250 GT 'tdf' Leads More Ferrari Magic To RM Sotheby's Monaco

RM Sothebys announces extensive Ferrari consignments for Monaco sale, 12 May, covering classic through modern ages Rare, fully matching 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione Tour de France...
Full Car List Revealed As Countdown Begins To Concours Of Elegance 2017

Full Car List Revealed As Countdown Begins To Concours Of Elegance 2017

Concours of Elegance reveals roll call of the rare and exclusive cars set to appear at Hampton Court in less than 30 days time Concours of Elegance has highlighted a handful of the iconic cars con...
REVERED FERRARI 250 LM LEADS SUPERLATIVE ROSTER  OF ITALIAN SPORTS CARS AT RM'S FLAGSHIP MONTEREY SALE

REVERED FERRARI 250 LM LEADS SUPERLATIVE ROSTER OF ITALIAN SPORTS CARS AT RM'S FLAGSHIP MONTEREY SALE

· RM Auctions announces a legendary 1964 Ferrari 250 LM by Scaglietti as the latest multi-million-dollar highlight for its flagship Monterey sale, August 15–16 in California · 250 LM leads...

© 1998-2020. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.

Follow ConceptCarz on Facebook Follow ConceptCarz on Twitter RSS News Feed

Conceptcarz.com
© 1998-2020 Conceptcarz.com Reproduction or reuse prohibited without written consent.