- A Century of Sports Cars Collection
- The 39th of 200 examples built
- Accompanied by matching factory hardtop
- Comprehensively restored over the course of 13 years
- Documented in a feature article in Forza magazine
- Presented at the 2000 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
- Only two owners over the last 30 years
Please note that this lot is titled as a 1961. Please also note that Internet bidding is not available for this lot. Interested parties that are unable to attend the sale may register to bid by telephone or place a commission bid online at rmsothebys.com.
As the 250 GT model line continued to develop at the twilight of 1959, Ferrari introduced a second generation of Pinin Farina-bodied luxury cabriolets, essentially a grand touring version of the concurrent competition-derived 250 GT California Spider. Featuring four-wheel disc brakes and the outside-plug engine developed during the Testa Rossa campaigns, the new cabriolet was the most tractably powerful 250 GT to date, claiming both fine road manners and strong performance.
Only 200 examples of the Series II Cabriolet were built, lending the model equal parts rarity and elegance. These mid-production 250 GTs offer the best of both ends of the spectrum, as their striking open coachwork clothes more modern chassis components, in a combination that today’s collectors can particularly enjoy on vintage touring events.
This beautiful example of the second-series Pinin Farina-built cabriolet benefits from a well-maintained restoration that was later detailed in a feature article in Forza magazine. According to the research of marque historian Marcel Massini, chassis no. 1939 GT is the 39th example built, and its frame entered the coachbuilder’s Grugliasco factory for bodywork in mid-April 1960. The rear axle, gearbox, and engine were completed during mid-June, as confirmed by copies of factory build sheets.
Finished in Grigio Conchiglia (Shell Grey) paint and trimmed with a black leather interior, the Ferrari was sold new to Enzo Isole of Milan. By the early 1970s the car was exported to the United States and soon prepared for a restoration. A prior title reflects that the cabriolet was registered in October 1980 to Victor Commune of Jamesburg, New Jersey, and he retained possession for seven years before selling it to Richard Cole of Orcutt, California.
As detailed in an article by motoring author William Edgar (son of famed SCCA racer John Edgar) in the August 2005 issue of Forza magazine, 1939 GT remained unrestored when Cole bought it in 1987. Though he gradually oversaw a complete refurbishment, his efforts began with a cosmetic freshening that included a repaint by Dave McLaughlin of San Juan Capistrano, California, in the correct Ferrari color blu scuro (dark blue). The brightwork was re-chromed and the Borrani wire wheels were refinished, leaving the exterior in a beautiful state of display. Inspired by the cosmetic restoration’s success, the owner soon opted for a commensurate mechanical refurbishment, and he entrusted an engine rebuild to Bruno Borri of Los Angeles, the esteemed Ferrari mechanic who once tuned a hopelessly outmatched Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Berlinetta into a 2nd-overall finisher at the 1979 24 Hours of Daytona.
Cole gradually corrected minor factory inaccuracies through comparisons to other restored examples observed at various concours d’elegance, and by 2000 the cabriolet was sufficiently well sorted to earn an invitation to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it scored 94.5 points during judging. In September 2000, Cole presented the cabriolet at the Santa Barbara Concours d’Elegance, winning the Ferrari class, and in the fall of 2003 the cabriolet won a class award at the Ironstone Vineyard Concours. During Cole’s 26 years of custody, 1939 GT was routinely serviced and maintained as needed, and the high-grade restoration looked remarkably well preserved when the car was presented at the Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance in June 2013.
Acquired by the consignor the following August, this 250 GT continues to exhibit the benefits of the fastidious restoration. It is accompanied by an original factory hardtop that substantially enhances its aesthetic profile, and would make an ideal candidate for touring events, vintage rallies, and concours d’elegance around the globe. Alternatively, 1939 GT may be enjoyed in the anonymity of the open road, where the model’s all-wheel disc brakes and outside-plug Colombo V-12 engine promise unique driving satisfaction. Claiming rarity and a desirable early position within the evolution of Ferrari’s open grand tourers, this outstanding cabriolet would beautifully complement any collection.