1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series I by Pinin Farina
Documents: US Title
- The 14th of 40 Series I Cabriolets built
- Purchased new by John R. Fulp Jr.
- Owned for 40 years by Robert Donner Jr.
- Fully restored to its original colour combination
- The iconic gentleman’s Ferrari
- Application for certification submitted to Ferrari Classiche
First owner John R. Fulp Jr. of Greenville, South Carolina, was a young and highly successful gentleman racer with respectable showings at both Sebring and Le Mans; he raced and owned a number of incredible Ferraris throughout the 1950s. However, as 0791 GT was not built for racing, it is likely that his Series I Cabriolet was enjoyed more modestly on public roads. Fulp kept the car until the fall of 1959, when it was traded back to Luigi Chinetti for a 410 Superamerica (1311 SA).
The Cabriolet returned to Paris, France, when it was sold by Chinetti to James Harrison, an American living there. In Paris, it was refinished in silver over red by Charles Pozzi, and at that time the dashboard layout was also revised to be similar to that of a 400 Superamerica. Harrison kept the car in the United States and was living on Park Avenue in 1969 when issues with the engine arose, leading him to source a newer, outside-plug replacement motor through Chinetti. The car was then moved to Florida in July of 1970, but remained with Harrison at his home in Palm Beach.
By 1971, the car was sold by Harrison to its third owner, Robert Donner Jr. He was also a noted gentleman racer and a much-admired figure in American sports-car racing circles who owned and raced a number of significant Ferraris, including a 250 GTO. In 1975, Donner rebuilt the engine and refinished the car in red over red and it quickly became his go-to warm-weather driver. A resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Donner drove this car in the Colorado Grand no less than a dozen times. As an aside to its warm-weather driver duties, it appeared at The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering in 2007, where it was displayed in a special class of Series I Cabriolets.
Following Donner’s passing, the car was purchased by enthusiasts on the West Coast and received a minor cosmetic restoration, before being sold to its fifth owner who returned it to Europe. At that time it was returned to its as-delivered specification of Bianco over Blu, and fitted with a correct type 128 C engine, sourced from Ferrari Classiche.
After being acquired by its current owner, the car was entrusted to RM Auto Restoration of Blenheim, Ontario, for further sorting in an effort to bring the car to show-ready condition for display at concours events, where it certainly would be most welcome. Today, the car presents in excellent condition throughout, thanks to not only its recent detailing, but also to its gentlemanly colours, seldom seen on a Ferrari of this type.
With fascinating ownership history, including two very notable figures in American sports car racing, chassis 0791 GT is a wonderful grand touring Ferrari in all regards, and would be an astute addition to any collection.