For what Ferrari’s 250 series offered in brute performance and unrepeatably stunning design, perhaps the model range’s most notable shortcoming was a rather spartan level of equipment. This was, of course, completely by design—the 250 GTO notably lacked a speedometer, hinting at its readiness for racing—while other concessions to comfort were made in preference of function over form. The mass produced 250 GTE offered a semblance of everyday usability, but it was the 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso that brought the 250 platform an opulent twist; its lusso tag (or “luxury” in Italian) clearly asserted this as a generously specified car.
First unveiled at the 1962 Paris Salon, the 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso was the final iteration of the 250 grand tourer platform in purely road-going form and production lasted until 1964. By this point, some 350 examples had been carefully bodied by Scaglietti, with the Modena carrozzeria put in charge of executing a design imagined by Pininfarina. The Ferrari’s visual appeal gained instant praise, distinguished by its low “egg crate” grille—similar to that of its 250 GT SWB Berlinetta predecessor, also coachbuilt by Scaglietti—further to its deftly curved wings giving way to long, flowing proportions, while its fastback profile was punctuated with a svelte Kamm tail.
Inside the Lusso, its interior accentuated its lavish standing, swathed in quilted leather and facing a revised dashboard arrangement. The sumptuous bodywork sat on an improved chassis with four-wheel disc brakes, coil-over shock absorbers at each corner, and a rear Watts linkage, as perfected on the legendary 250 GTO. Under the bonnet was the ultimate 3.0-litre development of the long-running short-block Colombo V-12, featuring the outside-plug ignition and single-cylinder porting that had proved so successful in the 250 Testa Rossa and California Spider. With an output of 240 horsepower and top speed of 150 mph, the 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso was one of the most powerful production cars of its day.
As a result of its jaw-dropping looks, the Lusso is widely regarded as one of the most elegant Ferrari designs of all time. Not often does a package boast both beauty and brawn, yet the all-round appeal of the 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso earned the Ferrari a loyal following among celebrities and motorsport high-flyers of the era. Notable owners included film star and have-a-go racer Steve McQueen, ex-Formula One driver Richard “Dickie” Attwood, and rockstar Eric Clapton.
The example offered here, chassis 4623, was completed by the factory on 3 August 1963, built as the 75 example of the Lusso’s 350-strong run. Originally finished in Grigio Notte over a Rosso interior, the Ferrari was destined for its home market of Italy, and was sold to its first owner, Umberto Carli of Rimini, via the dealer SIVAM of Bologna. The Lusso is noted by Ferrari marque expert, Marcel Massini, to have been serviced and maintained by Ferrari Factory Assistenza Clienti in its formative years prior to being sold to its second owner, Olga Acreman, residing in Rome, in October 1965. In 1969 the Ferrari was sold again and exported to California, after which it was noted by the Ferrari Owners Club USA to belong to a resident of North Hollywood, who kept the car for the next 44 years.
In 2014, the Ferrari’s long-term keeper relinquished ownership of the car and it returned to Europe via the United Kingdom. At this point the Lusso entered a three-year restoration conducted by JD Classics of Maldon, Essex. The workshop returned the bodywork to bare metal and repainted the car in its factory-correct combination of Griggio Notte over a Rosso leather interior. The V-12 engine was rebuilt with a new timing chain, pistons, rings, main bearings, and exhaust valves, while the crankshaft was reground.
Furthermore, the gearbox and differential were overhauled with new bearings, gaskets, and seals. The front and rear suspension and braking systems were inspected, cleaned, and refinished to period standards. Cosmetic restoration extended to a carpet and leather retrim, while the exterior brightwork was re-chromed. The workshop documented the process from start to finish with photos that accompany the car. Following its restoration, the consigning owner began the process of applying for Ferrari Classiche certification, which was pending at the time of cataloguing.
With its matching-numbers chassis and engine, this restored Ferrari is primed for further enjoyment on the show circuit or participation in vintage tours and events. The Lusso is a quintessential blue-chip Ferrari that will complement any style of collection, and this beautifully presented example is sure to bring thrills and enjoyment to its next caretaker.