1959 Ferrari 250 GT
1959 Ferrari 250 GT
FEATURED BY SPEEDHOLICS
By the early 1960s, road car production had ceased to be a sideline for Ferrari and was seen as vitally important to the company's future stability. Thus the 250, Ferrari's first volume-produced model, can be seen as critically important, though production of the first of the line - the 250 Europa, built from 1953 to '54 - amounted to fewer than 20. Before the advent of the Europa, Ferrari had built road-going coupés and convertibles in small numbers, usually to special customer order using a sports-racing chassis as the basis. Ghia and Vignale of Turin and Touring of Milan were responsible for bodying many of these but there was no attempt at standardisation for series production and no two cars were alike. The introduction of the 250 Europa heralded a significant change in Ferrari's preferred coachbuilder; whereas previously Vignale had been the most popular carrozzeria among Maranello's customers, from now on Pinin Farina (later 'Pininfarina') would be Ferrari's number one choice, bodying no fewer than 48 out of the 53 Europa/Europa GTs built. Pinin Farina's experiments eventually crystallised in a new Ferrari 250 GT road car that was first displayed publicly at the Geneva Salon in March 1956. However, the Torinese carrozzeria was not yet in a position to cope with the increased workload, resulting in production being entrusted to Carrozzeria Boano after Pinin Farina had completed a handful of prototypes. True series production began with the arrival of Pininfarina's 'notch back' Coupé on the 250 GT chassis, some 353 of which were built between 1958 and 1960 within the sequence '0841' to '2081'. However, the relatively small scale of production meant that cars could still be ordered with subtle variations according to customer choice, as well as enabling a handful of show cars and 'specials' to be constructed on the 250 GT chassis. A number of important developments occurred during 250 GT production: the original Colombo-designed 128C 3.0-litre engine being superseded by the twin-distributor 128D, which in turn was supplanted in 1960 by the outside-plug 128F engine which did away with its predecessor's Siamesed inlets in favour of six separate ports. On the chassis side, four-wheel disc brakes arrived late in 1959 and a four-speeds-plus-overdrive gearbox the following year, the former at last providing the 250 GT with stopping power to match its speed. More refined and practical than any previous road-going Ferrari, yet retaining the sporting heritage of its predecessors, the 250 GT is a landmark model of immense historical significance. Our car, #1629GT, is a Series 2 produced on December 15, 1959 in an elegant "Nero Tropicale" livery with a "Verde" interior and benefits from the latest evolutions of the type (disc brakes, 128F engine and overdrive). Its first owner was none other than Piero Portaluppi, a great architect of the Italian art deco and rationalist movement to whom we owe many achievements such as the famous Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan. Our Ferrari 250GT left the Europe for the United States where it remained until its return to the Netherlands in 1982. After a first owner completes a thorough restoration of the car in the expert hands of the great Ferrari specialist Piet Roelofs., it was soon bought by the secretary of the Dutch Ferrari Owners Club. Mr Kraak! It is during this restoration that the choice of the current color is made. We find our Ferrari in various rallies and competitions during all this period. In 2002 #1629GT enters on the French soil and passes between the hands of several collectors, before leaving for Greece a few years. It is “Michele” di Parigi, a great Ferrari connoisseur who will acquire our 250GT on behalf of its current owner in late 2010. Over the years its owner has undertaken regular maintenance and restoration work at Garage Super Sport to keep the car in perfect condition. Fine engine builder Gilbert Tissier has undertaken a total rebuild of the engine for a final result that delighted us during our road tests. The behavior of the car, the flexibility and the melody of the engine are an invitation to travel. An important file of invoices and documents from the period accompanies the car. In this elegant navy blue dress, #1629GT is probably one of the most desirable Ferrari 250GT on the market.
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