- A lifelong “driver’s Ferrari”
- Single ownership for 46 years
- Meticulously maintained since new
- An exceptionally well-known Southern California example
- One of the finest Lussos in existence
- Matching-numbers engine
250 bhp, 2,953 cc DOHC V-12 engine, four-speed 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 hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.
THE LAST GREAT 250 GT
The final iteration of Ferrari’s vaunted 250 GT was dubbed the 250 GT/L, with the “L” denoting Lusso (for luxury), and it was positioned as a pure luxury grand tourer, with distinctively elegant coachwork that was designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti. The Lusso’s body, which was crafted from steel with an aluminum hood and doors, was a study in sports car perfection, and it remains one of the most celebrated automotive designs of all time. Gently curved fenders gave way to a sleek fastback Kamm tail, which was complemented by a generously glassed canopy and delicate, minimal brightwork.
Mechanically, the GT/L rode on the 2,400-millimeter wheelbase chassis of its immediate predecessors, and it was powered by the same 2,953-cubic centimeter short-block V-12 that was designed by famed Ferrari engineer Gioacchino Colombo. This would be the last Ferrari V-12 road car to feature the 250-cubic-centimeter-sized cylinder, as displacement would increase to 275 cubic centimeters for the next development of road cars. Despite featuring essentially the same powerplant as its direct 250 GT forebears, the Lusso offered significant chassis upgrades, and more significantly, it included quite a bit of know-how gained from the SWB and GTO competition cars. These improvements principally consisted of the use of concentric springs around the telescopic shock absorbers and a Watts linkage to laterally stabilize the rear axle; both of these features were developed on the legendary race-winning GTO.
The interior of the Lusso was as luxurious as the name implied, as it had leather-upholstered door panels and bucket seats and a completely unique dashboard arrangement that had never been offered on any other Ferrari. The console featured a large-dial tachometer and speedometer located in the central position and angled towards the driver, and five smaller gauges could be found in the traditional instrument panel location.
The 250 GT/L concluded production in late 1964 and was built in a modest quantity of just 350 examples. It is the ultimate, luxurious version of the seminal 250 GT, and it has grown to become one of the most prized vintage Ferraris ever constructed. The Lusso represents a zenith for the platform, and it now routinely enjoys the focus of the world’s most discriminating Ferrari judges and collectors.
LUSSO NUMBER 5179: A DRIVER’S FERRARI
According to Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, chassis number 5179 was originally delivered to legendary Los Angeles dealership Otto Zipper Motors in 1964. It was driven for two years by its original owner, Peter Jennings, who then traded it back to Zipper for a new 275 GTB.
While the Lusso was parked on Zipper’s showroom floor, it caught the passing eye of Larry Bloomer, who lived nearby. Mr. Bloomer spent nearly six months driving to the dealership on a daily basis and admiring the car, but he never “bit” on the purchase of it. When it suddenly disappeared one day, he stopped in and was told that the car was being detailed, as someone was coming in the next day to have a look at it. The next day, Mr. Bloomer arrived at Zipper Motors first thing in the morning and purchased the long-admired Lusso.
To say that Mr. Bloomer got enjoyment out of his purchase would be an incredible understatement. He spent the next 46 years behind the wheel, serving two times as a president of the Ferrari Owners Club, taking tours all over the western United States, hill climbing in Virginia City, carrying the family on ski trips to Mammoth Mountain, and completing the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance in 2011. He did all of this after several years of using the Lusso as, simply, his commuter car, to get to and from work.
The Lusso was extremely well cared for and survived its 46 years on the road well. Three years ago, in an effort to make the car present even more beautifully, Precision Auto Body, a well-regarded Los Angeles facility, stripped the body to bare metal and refinished it in its present metallic maroon while in Mr. Bloomer’s care. They also refinished the Borrani wire wheels and installed new Michelin tires.
The interior was maintained as necessary over the years. While the center console and carpets were replaced many years ago, the door panels, dashboard leather, seats, and rear package shelf all remain original. The engine underwent a major rebuild about 3,000 miles ago, and it is now nicely broken-in. While the clutch and other normal wear items were replaced as required over the years, the transmission and differential have never been rebuilt, because they never required it. Remarkably, the chassis still wears its original “pebble” undercoat applied by the factory, and remains in good condition. The car is supplied with original belly pans and the original parts that have been replaced over the years, as well as with a 2003 Hemmings Vintage Ferrari calendar and Checkered Flag 200 Finish Line magazine, which feature the Lusso.
This Lusso is being offered today by only its third owners from new, and it remains in wonderful, well-sorted mechanical order. It is being accompanied by not only its original Bill of Sale but also a large file of documentation that relates to its engine rebuild and paint.
An RM specialist recently road-tested the car and reports, “There is something to be said about a car that has never been apart and lovingly cared for by one owner most of its life. No matter how thoroughly a car is restored, it never drives like an original car. Everything about it reminds me of that favorite baseball glove that is worked in just right and has the perfect amount of play. Don’t get me wrong, this car cosmetically looks like it could go to a show field and, indeed, has placed successfully in many, but it has those subtle, original touches that make it just right and give it the perfect element of class. It is not a trailer queen that looks the part then as soon as you step on the pedal it feels as though it is going to fall apart. This car feels like you could easily jump in and drive it 5,000 miles without a problem. This example definitely has it together; there are no squeaks or rattles, the handling is tight and the steering precise. It is an extremely well-balanced car, and the V-12 especially comes to life after 3,500 rpm. The brakes feel robust, and the transmission is fluid through all the gears. In my opinion, it has the perfect balance between cosmetic appeal and mechanical capability.”
This prized Lusso is a genuine “driver’s Ferrari” that has been owned and treasured since new by men who appreciated it for its originality, its authenticity, its beauty, and its speed.