Back in April, Girardo & Co. made the 1962 Ferrari GTE 250 2+2 Polizia (chassis 3999) available for sale. It's the only one left of its kind, and with a thrilling history of high speed chases and a legendary driver, we thought we’d regale you with this unique machine’s incredible life...
Rome, Italy, 1960s.
It’s well beyond midnight in the eternal city. The shadowy sidewalks illuminated only by the dim glow of sodium streetlights. The bars and restaurants are long closed, and the only people left on the streets are the beggars, the night prowlers, the vagrants, the cops and the robbers.
While Rome sleeps above the surface, the criminal underbelly is hard at work -- robbing, looting, trafficking, dealing, extorting, racketeering, and well, racing. The way they see it, they can outrun just about every cop in the city, and are happy to get into high octane car chases, comfortable that they’d escape. But there's one they truly fear: Armando Spatafora. The reason? His 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 Polizia.
Cops & robbers
Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, the criminal underworld of Rome was able to get away scott free with just about whatever they pleased. If they weren’t one step ahead of the police mentally, they were one speed ahead of them on the streets. The police force’s Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 Saloon was a mighty machine, but it couldn’t keep up with the criminals’.
So, when Armando Spatafora was charged with the task of catching Rome’s high-speed criminals, he remarked that without a Ferrari, his work would be fruitless.
And so a Ferrari was provided. In 1963, he and three other Roman police officers were sent to the Ferrari’s racecourse in Maranello. Spatafora took to the car with ease, making light of the 3.0 Litre, V12 engine and a top speed well north of 250 km/h.
After his initiation at Maranello, Spatafora was guided to the Ferrari factory and presented with his brand new police car -- the 250 GTE 2+2, chassis number 3999. It was finished in black, with tan leather interior, and the distinctive Squadra Mobile livery.
Chassis number 3999 was actually one of a pair of Ferrari 250 GTEs secured by the police, but alas, after just a few weeks of service, it became a one of a kind. Its sister met a fiery end in the line of duty, and so over the next 6 years, Spatafora was the last sheriff standing.
Between ‘63 and ‘68, Spatafora’s skill and daring behind the wheel of the sleek, powerful Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 Polizia made him one of the city’s most feared policemen. Often on night patrol, his high speed chases with reckless criminals became the stuff of legend. Indeed, the few criminals who did manage to escape the glare of the Ferrari’s flashing blue light in those years became cult heroes in their own underworld.
The 250 GTE wasn’t only used to protect the public by stopping crime, mind you -- it was also used to save lives directly. In its final year of police service, when emergency blood deliveries were required in Naples, the car was used to make the 200 km journey for Naples. Why? Well, no ambulance we’ve ever heard of could get from Rome to Naples in under an hour!
A new era, a reunion, a record
During its active years, the car regularly went back to Maranello for servicing to keep it in peak condition, so when it sold in 1972 as part of an army-surplus auction, she was still as good as new, despite her escapades with Armando Spatafora.
The buyer was a man by the name of Alberto Cappelli. Eager to preserve the great heritage of the car, he kept it in its original form. He and his sons showcased it at rallies and tours all over Europe for the next 40 years. To this day, it’s the only privately owned car in Italy allowed to drive with a siren, emergency light and police livery.
Incredibly, the retired Spatafora was able to meet his old motor again in 1984. It was at the Coppa delle Dolomiti, and the people were keen to see the legendary pair dovetail once more. Spatafora took the wheel, and turned back time. The audience watched on in awe as the old man and the old machine set the second fastest time of the entire race.
The museum years
When the Museum of Police Vehicles opened in Rome at the turn of the 21st century, the now legendary 250 GTE 2+2 Polizia took pride of place. In fact, the chief of police himself drove it all the way from its home in Rimini.
But it hasn’t just sat in the museum to gather dust. It’s been showcased often at festivals, car shows, rallies, and special events, including Ferrari’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1997. It even made a special “guest” appearance at the book launch of Il Poliziotto con la Ferrari, the biography of Armando Spatafora, written by daughter Carmen.
The present day
La Ferrari returned to private ownership just 5 years ago, in 2015, and made a proud appearance at the famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance the following year.
And now, she awaits her next adventure. Her next owner will receive more than just a car. They’ll own original build sheets, archived police documentation, FIVA identity card as well as an ASI certificate of homologation.
If that’s not enough, she comes with a collection of period photographs of the car and its fabled first owner, Armando Spatafora.
And the condition? Well, Ferrari Classiche inspected and certified it in 2014, confirming she’s totally original.
For the quality of the car, the originality, the sheer uniqueness, or maybe just for the back story, the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 Polizia is a genuine piece of history. We can dream about it all day long, but one things for sure, we don't think we can afford it quite yet.
Courtesy Girardo & Co.