1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series I by Pinin Farina
$6,000,000 - $7,000,000
RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 16 - 17 JANUARY 2020 - Offered on Friday
- The 25th of 40 total first-series cabriolets, including three prototypes
- Retains its original chassis, engine, gearbox, rear differential, and body
- Fastidiously maintained and mechanically freshened by a marque expert for the last 15 years
- Owned by a single dedicated California-based caretaker for over two decades
- Successfully completed over 10 touring events, including the Quail Rally, the Colorado Grand, the California Classic, and the California Mille
- Presented at premium exhibitions such as Concorso Italiano, the Quail Motorsports Gathering, the Art Center Car Classic, and the Ferrari North America 60th Anniversary celebration
- A beautifully maintained and restored example of Maranello’s first series-produced cabriolet
THE PININ FARINA CABRIOLET
As Ferrari reached its furthest stride yet towards series production during the mid-1950s, the manufacturer conspicuously lacked an open 250 GT model. Though luxury cabriolets had been a staple of the 212 and 342 platforms, the 250 GT was initially produced exclusively in coupe body styles.
In March 1956, however, the coachbuilder Boano introduced a new open Ferrari built on the 250 GT platform, a curious-looking cabriolet with tail fins. One year later Pinin Farina unveiled a more refined version with a completely stowable top, rounded fenders, covered headlamps, and a notched driver’s-side door, though it lacked roll-up windows. After experimenting with an altered café racer version, Pinin Farina used its initial design as the basis for a more formal series of luxurious cabriolets that featured wind-up windows and Borrani wire wheels. The coachwork remained essentially unchanged through the production of 37 examples, though the last few were built with uncovered headlamps.
Comprising a total of 40 examples (including three prototypes), the first-series 250 GT cabriolet was one of the last models constructed in Pinin Farina’s boutique workshop prior to the coachbuilder relocating to a larger factory in Grugliasco. While the bodies were consistent from car to car, the interior details and trim were customized to order, and it is believed that no two were ever produced exactly alike.
Mechanically, these cabriolets shared many elements of the concurrent 250 GT berlinetta ‘Tour de France’. Exquisite in build quality and indubitably rare, the first-series Pinin Farina cabriolets were built through 1959, beautifully resuscitating the luxurious open touring Ferrari. These cars are now highly collectable and generally found as the centerpieces of Maranello-focused collections, only rarely becoming available for sale.
CHASSIS NUMBER 0913 GT
Benefitting from over 20 years of fastidious care by the current owner, this exquisite first-series Pinin Farina cabriolet is one of the most desirable early open Ferraris to be publicly offered. Chassis no. 0913 GT is the 25th example built overall and was delivered to the Pinin Farina workshop in Turin in late March 1958. Clothed in attractive covered-headlamp coachwork with highly desirable vertical front bumperettes, horizontal rear bumpers, and horizontal teardrop tail lamps, the 250 GT was finished in grigio metallizatto (metallic grey) paint and trimmed with an interior of Nero Vaumol leather, completing assembly in late May.
According to the research of marque historian Marcel Massini, the Ferrari was sold in early June to Armando Reggianni of Bergamo, the first of many Italian owners over the next few years. The cabriolet was notably used as the pace car during the 1958 Shell Grand Prix in Monza, and it was pictured in that year’s Ferrari Yearbook with Mrs. Reggianni at the wheel. The Reggiannis kept the 250 GT for nearly four years before selling it in August 1962 to a Bergamo real estate company called Immobiliare S.p.A. Over the following six years, the cabriolet was sold several more times until finally being acquired by Maria Di Paolo in late 1968.
Sometime over the next few years, the drum brakes were converted to proper Dunlop disc units, improving stopping power. The Ferrari was then acquired during the 1970s by an enthusiast named Lacloche on the island of Malta, who reportedly retained possession for close to a decade. During the 1980s the 250 GT was sold to M.H. Scott of Farnham, England, and he commissioned a repaint in traditional rosso and conducted some minor trim upgrades that included the installation of a Jaeger clock and fitting of NART badges. In 1988 the cabriolet then passed to the well-known enthusiast Brian Classic, who kept the car for at least four years.
In June 1992 Sheldon Solow of New York acquired the Ferrari and commissioned a complete restoration that included a repaint in rosso and re-upholstery of the interior in new tan leather. As the original engine block was no longer operable, Solow acquired a correct 250 GT motor in 1993 (from Pinin Farina coupe chassis no. 1081 GT) and had the engine block re-numbered and installed in 0913 GT with the original heads.
In June 1999 the cabriolet was sold to Alex Finnegan, the respected service manager at Paul Russell & Company in Essex, Massachusetts, and he oversaw a sympathetic freshening before selling the car later that year to the current owner, a well-known California-based collector. The consignor quickly entrusted the car to Richard Freshman’s Fossil Motorsports for preparation for vintage touring events. Mr. Freshman specializes in ensuring that cars are prepared to aircraft-grade specifications, utilizing proprietary crack-testing and evaluation methods to guarantee that automobiles under his purview never fail during racing or touring use. Between February 2000 and April 2004, Freshman rebuilt numerous components, including the suspension, shock absorbers, brakes, radiator, clutch, cooling system, fuel tank, and the wire wheels. Perhaps most notably, in May 2002 he restored the original engine block while utilizing original factory components to the greatest possible degree, thereby preparing it for later installation.
On the strength of this expert preparation, the Pinin Farina cabriolet successfully completed numerous tours, including the Quail Rally in 2000, the California Mille in 2000, 2003, and 2004, the California Classic in 2002, and the Colorado Grand in 2003 and 2004. Also presenting wonderfully, the 250 GT was shown at the Santa Barbara Concours d’Elegance and the Vintage Ferrari Concours held in concert with Concorso Italiano in 2000 (where it won a coveted Platinum Award), as well as the Rosso Rodeo show in Beverly Hills in 2002.
After April 2004, the consignor commissioned the respected Ferrari specialist Norbert Hofer of Grand Touring Classics to service the 250 GT as needed, and over the following 15 years he rebuilt the clutch (including a new throw-out bearing), water pump, and exhaust manifolds and installed new motor mounts and a new period-correct exhaust system. He also extensively prepared the cabriolet for several more vintage rallies, fastidiously tuning the Ferrari prior to each event and servicing it again afterwards. The cabriolet admirably completed every event in which it participated.
In October 2016 Mr. Hofer reinstalled the original repaired engine block, reuniting it with its original chassis. A host of other rebuild measures were simultaneously undertaken, including the installation of new pistons and bearings, a new timing chain and camshafts, a new crankshaft, new factory valves with upgraded valve guides, and new upgraded Carrillo connecting rods. The cylinder heads were rebuilt, including new spark-plug wiring, and new coolant pipes and hoses were installed. Despite all this work, efforts were again undertaken to retain original componentry, including the original mouse-type valve-spring arrangement and the original timing cover with proper factory stampings. The extensive engine rebuild cost over $95,000, and since completion the car has accrued less than 1,000 miles while being exercised at least once per month.
The Ferrari continued to participate in touring events along the way, successfully completing the California Classic in 2006, the Quail Rally in 2007, the Colorado Grand in 2009 and 2011, and the California Mille in 2014. It was also presented at the Concorso Ferrari in Century City in 2005, the Art Center Car Classic and the Quail Motorsports Gathering in 2007, the Concorso Ferrari in Pasadena in 2010, and the Ferrari of North America 60th Anniversary Celebration in Beverly Hills in 2014 (for which it was chosen by the Maranello factory to represent one of the 60 most important Ferraris of their 60 years in America).
Benefitting from nearly 20 years of painstaking maintenance and care, this sensational early Ferrari cabriolet is ideally prepared for premium exhibition and vintage event use and would make a superlative addition to any collection, beaconing marque enthusiasts worldwide.