Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta 1958
Chassis no. 0947GT
Engine no. 0947GT
Coachwork by Pinin Farina
The production total of these ‘Speciales’ is still a controversy, since almost each car was unique in at least one way. Common variances included hood scoops, chrome trim, glove boxes and instrument panels.
•One of only 353 built
•Rare bodywork features
•Known ownership history
•Engine rebuilt in 2010
•Recent full bare-metal repaint in original colour
•Ferrari Classiche certified
By the end of the 1950s, road car production had ceased to be a sideline for Ferrari and was seen as vitally important to the company's future stability. Thus the 250, Ferrari's first volume-produced model, can be seen as critically important, though production of the first of the line - the 250 Europa, built from 1953 to '54 - amounted to fewer than 20. Before the advent of the Europa, Ferrari had built road-going coupés and convertibles in small numbers, usually to special customer order using a sports-racing chassis as the basis. Ghia and Vignale of Turin, and Touring of Milan were responsible for bodying many of these, but there was no attempt at standardisation for series production and no two cars were alike.
The introduction of the 250 Europa heralded a significant change in Ferrari's preferred coachbuilder; whereas previously Vignale had been the most popular carrozzeria among Maranello's customers, from now on Pinin Farina (later Pininfarina) would be Ferrari's number one choice. Pinin Farina's experiments eventually crystallised in a new Ferrari 250 GT road car that was first displayed publicly at the Geneva Salon in March 1956.
The styling of the Geneva show car – chassis number '0429GT' – was influenced by Pinin Farina's Superamerica. With the Series 2 variant of the 410 Superamerica, Ferrari switched from a 2,800mm wheelbase to one of 2,600mm, and this shorter dimension would be used for all members of the 250 GT family from the Europa GT onwards, with the exception of the competition orientated SWB and GTO models. As well as the handling advantages conferred by the shorter wheelbase, the 250 GT was equipped as standard with the more compact Colombo-designed 3.0-litre V12 engine, which replaced the Superamerica's bulkier Lampredi unit. However, Pinin Farina was not yet in a position to cope with the increased workload – construction of its new factory at Grugliasco had only just started - resulting in initial production being entrusted to Carrozzeria Boano after Pinin Farina had completed a handful of prototypes.
The 250 GT represented a significant departure for Ferrari. Driver and passenger comfort were taken seriously for the first time; the interior was more luxurious, seats were broader and there was less noise intrusion. By this time there was also synchromesh in the gearbox which, combined with a softer ride and light steering, was exactly what was expected by the increasingly important North American market.
The seventh of only 353 Pininfarina Coupés built on the 250 GT chassis, '0947GT' has unique flared wheelarches and is one of very few made with a glassfibre boot lid. Despatched to Carrozzeria Pinin Farina in June 1958, the car was sold new in October '58 to one Vittorio Roncoroni, a resident of Milan, Italy, who had previously owned a Ferrari 250 Europa ('0401GT'). In the 1960s Roncoroni sold the Ferrari to one Roberto Goldoni, an airline pilot living in Rome, who sold it on to Edwin K Niles, an attorney and car dealer resident in Van Nuys, California, USA. The car then passed through the hands of various owners in the USA (details on file) before being repurchased by Ed Niles in March 1982. Niles then sold the Ferrari to Curtis L Van Den Berg of Eaton Rapids, Michigan, who had it fully restored during 1983-1984. Repainted dark red and re-trimmed in brown leather, '0947' was shown by Van Den Berg at the 2nd Annual Meadow Brook Hall Concours d'Élégance in August 1986. Van Den Berg continued to show the car at various prestigious concours venues over the next few years before selling it in September 1998 to Lyle Tanner Enterprises.
In 2000 the Ferrari was sold to car dealer Andreas Zenari of Fräschels, Switzerland who in May 2004 sold it on to Messrs Rolf Sigrist and Robert Doux of Greng and Oberburg, Switzerland. The next owner purchased '0947' at Bonhams' Ferrari Sale at Gstaad, Switzerland in December 2005 (Lot 224). In 2010, the engine was completely rebuilt, with the starter motor, alternator, cooling and ignition systems, carburettors, brakes, clutch, universal joints, dashboard wiring, etc all receiving attention at the same time (see detailed bills for circa CHF 150,000 on file). Post rebuild, only some 4,000 kilometres had been covered when '0947' was offered for sale at Bonhams' auction at Le Grand Palais, Paris in February 2015 (Lot 371). Purchased there by the current vendor, the Ferrari has since benefited from a recent full bare-metal repaint with extensive repairs to the metalwork, carried out by renowned marque specialists Hoyle Fox Classics and complementing the prior mechanical overhaul. The car was repainted in its original Nero Tropicale livery and the interior re-trimmed in tan leather.
Importantly, '0947' was been accepted for Ferrari Classiche certification and at time of cataloguing the iconic red folder was awaited. Additional documentation consists of original letters (x12) from previous owners; US Certificate of Title; copy letter from Andrea Pininfarina; copy letter from Ferrari Assistena Technica; copy 'foglio di montaggio' from Ferrari; Massini Report; CD-ROM of photographs (including those of the engine rebuild); and Swiss registration papers. The car also comes with an original instruction manual and sales brochure.
More refined and practical than any previous road-going Ferrari yet retaining the sporting heritage of its predecessors, Pinin Farina's 250 GT is a landmark model of great historical significance, of which '0947' is a unique example.
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