Driving into Summer | Lot 168
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe by Ellena
$671,000 USD | Sold
| Houston, Texas
21 - 29 May 2020
- The 40th of just 50 examples built
- Benefits from over three decades of single ownership
- Subsequent decade of care by longtime RM specialist Jack Boxstrom
- Retains matching numbers engine and gearbox
- Restored between 2015 and 2019, including recent work by marque expert Patrick Ottis
- Documented with restoration photos and invoices and Marcel Massini history report
- A beautiful example of Maranello’s rare Ellena-bodied model
At the 1956 Geneva Salon, Ferrari took its most consequential step towards series production with the introduction of a new 250 GT model. The contract for coupe production was awarded to the eponymous carrozzeria of Mario Felice Boano, a former Ghia stylist. Boano interpreted Pinin Farina’s original design with a straight unadorned belt line, curved glass sections, and a low roof that was often finished in a contrasting color to effect the hardtop styling then in vogue.
After Boano built approximately 82 examples of the 250 GT coupe the designer took a position with Fiat, and ownership of the carrozzeria passed to his son in law, Ezio Ellena. Renamed Ellena, the firm built 50 more cars with a revised design that most significantly saw the roofs raised by two inches to accommodate taller drivers. It is worth noting that of the 50 cars produced by Ellena, fewer than 40 are believed to survive today.
Mechanically the 250 GT Ellena coupes adopted a standard-pattern four-speed gearbox, larger drum brakes, and a ZF steering system. The 3-liter tipo 128C Colombo short-block V-12 had been steadily developed through the 250 Europa and initial Boano models, and now further benefited from competition applications in the Testa Rossa and California Spider. Rarer and more mechanically advanced than their Boano predecessors, the Ellena examples have evolved to enjoy a special appreciation among Ferrari enthusiasts, comprising a notable historical link within development of the 250 GT platform while offering unique styling.
This beautifully restored Ellena claims 50 years of documented ownership by just three private caretakers, including a 32-year period of care. According to the research of marque historian Marcel Massini, chassis no. 0861 GT is the 40th of 50 examples built and was dispatched to Ellena for coachwork in January 1958 while its mechanical components were completed at the Maranello factory. Finishing assembly by late April, the 250 GT was sold new to Modena resident Antonio Fiorani. A year later the Ferrari was imported to the United States by Luigi Chinetti, and by 1969 it was owned by Fitzgerald Motors, a dealer based in Evanston, Illinois.
In January 1970, the 250 GT was purchased by Bradley Balles of Dallas, Texas, and he remarkably went on to retain possession for more than three decades. During his ownership the car was submitted in 1972 to the respected marque specialist John Hajduk, who rebuilt the V-12 engine.
After 32 years of fastidious care, Mr. Balles sold the Ferrari in February 2002 to Jack Boxstrom, the well-known racer and longtime RM car specialist. Boxstrom utilized the car at a number of premium touring and exhibition events, including accepting an invitation to the 2003 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. In May 2004, the 250 GT participated in the Highlands Classic tour in North Carolina and two months later Boxstrom drove it in the Ferrari & Maserati Festival and Shell Historic Challenge races at Lime Rock, Connecticut. The Ellena also successfully completed the 2008 Colorado Grand.
In October 2012, after a decade of ownership, Boxstrom sold the Ferrari to a representative of Imtiaz Sheik of Dubai, who returned the car to the United States for a significant restoration that began with a two-year cosmetic and mechanical refurbishment by Jim Verhey’s Reincarnation Auto in Colorado Springs. Completed in 2017, this work included a repaint in black, after which the interior was re-trimmed in 2018 by Car Classic in the current livery of green leather, carpeting, and door panels.
During 2019 the 250 GT was inspected by marque expert Patrick Ottis, and he rebuilt the drum brakes and replaced the rear axle seals, re-torqued the wheel cylinders, and addressed the master cylinder. The starter motor was replaced with a proper Marelli unit, and the battery cable, starter relay, and signal wire were replaced and rewired during this process. Invoices on file reflect $11,000 of work by Mr. Ottis. Most recently, in the spring of 2020, the Ellena received an inspection and scheduled tune-up, including the fitment of a new larger battery and a full top-to-bottom detail.
Ideal for display at finer concours d’elegance and Ferrari club events, this rare and distinctive Ellena-bodied 250 GT would make a beautiful addition to any sporting collection, particularly suited to early Ferrari purists.