Lot 391

Monaco 2012

1955 Ferrari 250 GT Europa by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina


€582,400 EUR | Sold

Monaco | Monaco, Monaco



Chassis No.
0391 GT
Engine No.
0727 GT

220 bhp, 2,953 cc single overhead camshaft V-12 engine, four-speed all-synchromesh manual gearbox, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and parallel trailing arms, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,600 mm (102.4")

• One of about 34 Europa GTs built

• Special order by well-known Ferrari client Pietro Barilla

• Expertly restored in 2001

• Award-winner at 2002 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

• Benchmark example of Ferrari’s first, true series-production car

The introduction of the 250 Europa at the Paris Motor Show in late 1953, marked a major milestone in the development of Ferrari as a series-production manufacturer. Realising that a degree of production uniformity was essential for profitability, Ferrari launched its seminal 250 GT series. As the distinguished first instalment of the long running 250 GT, the Europa cars generally wore an elegant high-waisted Pinin Farina body and were powered by a 200-bhp Lampredi V-12, derived from the larger motor found in the America models.

After approximately just 18 examples of the first-generation Europa were built, Ferrari introduced a second series in late 1954, named the Europa GT, the most notable change being a new Colombo V-12 powerplant that developed 20 additional horsepower over the original Lampredi unit. This new motor became the workhorse engine for the remaining 250 GT iterations, powering some of the most notable and revered Ferrari models ever built. Referred to as the Europa GT, as its chassis numbers featured a GT suffix rather than the first series’ EU designation, the 250 Europa GT was made in a small quantity of roughly just 34 examples, and it remains an exceedingly rare and highly collectable benchmark of Italy’s greatest sports car company.

This striking Europa GT was sent to Pinin Farina for coachwork on 17 June 1955 and was subsequently delivered to one of Ferrari’s most important customers, Pietro Barilla, the heir to the Barilla pasta conglomerate in Parma, Italy. In addition to his reputation as one of post-war Italy’s innovating industrialists, Mr Barilla is renowned in Ferrari circles for his frequent patronization of the “prancing horse”, in the process, reportedly becoming a close friend of Enzo Ferrari. By some accounts, coach builder Sergio Scaglietti once claimed that Mr Barilla was the only real friend that Enzo Ferrari had.

It is believed that after just a year in Mr Barilla’s possession, this Europa was returned to the factory, and the businessman took delivery of another one of his well-documented Ferraris, a 410 Superamerica, with chassis number 0495SA. The original engine from 0391GT was then removed and installed in chassis number 0357GT, the very first Europa GT, which at the time, was being race-campaigned by Jacque Swaters’s Ecurie Francorchamps. It is speculated that 0391GT’s engine may have been particularly desirable for competition because it was a specially tuned example prepared specifically for the benefit of Mr Barilla’s driving experience, due to his standing as a preferred customer and friend of Enzo Ferrari.

By 1960, 0391GT was imported to the United States for sale by Luigi Chinetti and was shortly thereafter purchased by King Sims of Atlanta, Georgia. Owned during the 1970s by a Seattle-based collector; by 1972, the car was fitted with a proper replacement engine, a 2,953 cc Colombo V-12 motor sourced from 0727GT, an early Ellena-bodied 250 GT produced in 1957.

Enjoying California-based ownership during the 1980s, this beautiful Europa was sold in November 1988 to Dr Heiner Oettli, a dentist residing in Niederrohrdorf, Switzerland. Two years later, 0391GT was acquired by Sportgarage’s Bruno Wyss, an official Ferrari dealer in Zofingen, Switzerland. Sparingly used and occasionally taken to marque events over the following eight years, 0391GT was sold in 1998 to fellow Swiss citizen Christophe Ringier, who commissioned a full restoration by Dino Cognolato’s renowned Carrozzeria Nova Rinascente, one of Italy’s most esteemed specialists in restorations.

Refinished in its original livery of Grigio Fiat paint with a Panno Grigio interior and blue leather sides, 0391GT was exhibited to substantial acclaim at the 2002 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, winning the Trofeo Pininfarina for the most significant Pinin Farina body. In this supremely restored state, 0391GT was also depicted in the June 2002 issue of Auto D’Epoca magazine and was further exhibited at the 2004 Retromobile exhibition in Paris. The Ferrari factory recently produced a catalogue to show period colours of cars from the ‘50s throughout to the ‘70s, and it was none other than this car that was chosen and photographed to show off the Grigio Fiat colour.

In addition to fine cosmetics, 0391GT offers a strong mechanical condition, amply demonstrated by the car’s spirited participation in the 2010 Mille Miglia retrospective. The current owner was delighted to confirm that the car did not miss a beat during the 1,000 miles throughout Italy. RM Specialists can confirm that the car does indeed perform well. Upon inspection of the car, RM Auctions had the pleasure of taking the Europa for a drive, and once again, it performed just like on the Mille Miglia–faultlessly.

Presented with elegant flare, this handsome and rare Europa GT represents the dawn of an important era of Ferrari road car production, and its current availability offers a rare opportunity for serious Ferrari collectors to acquire an indelible piece of the Maranello legend.