1961 Ferrari 250 GT CaliforniaL
uigi 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 >>
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
Chassis #: 2467GT
Chassis #: 2871 GT
Chassis #: 2561 GT
Chassis #: 2903 GT
Chassis #: 3099 GT
Chassis #: 3059GT
Chassis #: 2935GT
Chassis #: 3095 GT