1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupé by Vignale
Documents: US Title
- Shown at the 1954 World Motor Sports Show in New York
- A brilliant example of an early one-off coachbuilt Ferrari
- 2012 Villa d’Este and 2015 Cavallino Classic award winner
- Ferrari Classiche certified
It is an archetype of Vignale’s coachwork, featuring numerous characteristics that the coachbuilder was known for. Headlights inset into the front bumpers helped to create pronounced ‘eyebrows’, and the turn indicators are deeply recessed into the front wings. A chrome trim strip wraps around the bodywork from the front wheel arches toward the stern around the trunk, emphasizing the length of the car. Finally, the vents located just ahead of the doors and on the sail panels are accented with chrome.
Shipped to what would quickly become Ferrari’s most important market, 0313 EU arrived in New York City at Luigi Chinetti Motors in December of 1953. One month later, it appeared at the World Motor Sports Show at Madison Square Garden. Sporting red paint, the car had been repainted just prior to the show, allegedly at Chinetti’s request. Afterwards, the Ferrari was purchased by Mike Garber of Framingham, Massachusetts. Purchasing the car at a price of $17,500, Garber kept the car for four years before selling it through Gaston Andrey to George H. Parker of Rome, New York.
The Europa became Parker’s four-season daily driver, and proved to be quite a reliable car over the next two years, leaving him stranded on only one occasion when a stretched timing chain needed to be replaced. Parker was married in March of 1959, and he and his new bride immediately hit the road in the Ferrari, moving both the car and themselves to California for Mr Parker’s new job.
The Europa remained in California with the Parkers until 1960, when it was sold to Leonard Renick, a Cadillac dealer in Fullerton. Interestingly, he replaced the Ferrari’s original Lampredi V-12 with a supercharged Chevrolet V-8, a common engine swap at the time, as Ferrari parts were difficult to source in North America. Furthermore, the car’s distinctive bumpers were removed along with its rear chrome trim, and its nose was repaired after a minor incident.
As of 1968, chassis 0313 EU was owned by Philip Stanton of Los Angeles, who sold the car to Ferrari of Los Gatos in 1976. It was purchased later that year by Constantine Baksheef and Alec Sokoloff of Palo Alto. Sometime thereafter, the 250 Europa was taken off the road, but it would remain in California before being sold in 2009 to Heinrich Kämpfer of Seengen, Switzerland.
With a reputation for accurate and well-executed Ferrari restorations, it is estimated that Kämpfer spent over 3,000 hours on the car in restoration and an additional 800 hours with outside specialists to painstakingly bring 0313 EU back to its former glory. Various missing trim pieces, including the bumpers and grille, were reproduced to exacting specifications. Kämpfer commissioned the same company that produced the leather in 1953 to re-trim the car, as well as new Wilton wool carpeting down to the proper thickness, and even sourced period-correct ICI nitro-cellulose lacquer to refinish the car in its original Bruno Siena. During this time, the engine, number 0331 EU, was found to be largely complete, though the block was beyond repair. As such, a new block was cast by Ferrari Classiche, and that engine was fitted to a gearbox of the correct type.
Reflecting the restoration’s overall attention to detail, 0313 EU is accompanied by an incredible file, detailing both its history and restoration and includes samples of the paint, leather and carpet, as well as original screws, nuts, bolts and clamps found on the car when it was disassembled prior to the restoration.
Finished in October of 2011, the car’s first public outing was at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2012, where it was awarded the Trofeo Foglizzi for best interior design, and would later earn an 11-page colour feature in issue 194 of Cavallino magazine and would also grace both digital and print pages for a handful of other publications. Perhaps its most interesting source of fame since its restoration is becoming the inspiration for one of the featured liveries for Ferrari’s 70th anniversary models, dubbed ‘The Grand Tourer’.
Returning to North America in 2013, the Vignale coupé was shown at a variety of shows, including the 60 Years of Ferrari celebration in Beverly Hills in October of 2014 and at the 2015 Cavallino Classic, where it was awarded Platinum and the Ferrari Classiche Cup. Following its purchase by its current custodian in 2015, the car has been exceptionally well preserved in its as-restored condition. Benefitting from a recent service, it remains ready to drive, enjoy and show at concours events worldwide.