1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta Coachwork by Pininfarina Registration no. PRX 932B Chassis no. 4851 GT
Arguably the most beautiful product ever to carry the Maranello marque's prancing horse emblem, the 250 GT Lusso debuted at the Paris Salon in October 1962. Styled by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti, the Lusso (Luxury) combined racetrack looks with new standards of passenger comfort. Beautifully proportioned, it blended a low-slung nose, reminiscent of that of the SWB Berlinetta, with sculpted Kamm tail by means of some of the most exquisite lines yet seen on an automobile. Slim pillars and wide expanses of glass not only enhanced the car's outward appearance, but made for excellent visibility and a pleasantly light and airy interior.
The Lusso's immediate antecedent had been the 250 GT Berlinetta SWB. Introduced at the 1959 Paris Salon, the latter was a true dual-purpose car, arguably more capable than any Ferrari before or since of coping equally well with the conflicting demands of racetrack and highway. The 'SWB' (Short-WheelBase) designation arose from a chassis that, at 2,400mm, was 200mm shorter than the standard 250 GT's. Specifications could be varied to suit individual customers' requirements for either road or track, models supplied for competition use having lightweight aluminium-alloy bodies, the lusso road version enjoying a fully-trimmed interior and softer springing.
However, Ferrari's policy of building a single, dual-purpose race/road model did not survive long into the 1960s, the diverging requirements of the two markets necessitating greater specialisation in the form of the competition-only 250 GTO and Gran Turismo 250 GT Lusso. Built on a short-wheelbase chassis similar to that of the 250 GT SWB and 250 GTO, the Lusso was powered by Colombo's light and compact 3.0-litre V12 engine. Breathing through three twin-choke Weber carburettors, the all-aluminium, two-cam unit produced 240bhp at 7,500rpm, giving the Lusso a top speed of 150mph (240km/h) and a useful 0-100mph (0-160km/h) acceleration time of 19.5 seconds. An important milestone in the Maranello marque's history, the 250GT Lusso was the last of the long-running 250 series and a most fitting finale to this most remarkable family of Ferrari road cars.
One of only 350 250 GT Lussos made, left-hand drive chassis number '4851' is the 94th car completed and was delivered new to the USA via Luigi Chinetti Motors in New York. Its early history is unknown prior to the early 1970s when the Ferrari was owned by Bill Rudd of Reno, Nevada. Between 1972 and 1974 the car belonged to David S Nagel of San Gabriel, California, who also owned a second Lusso, '5861'. There is then a brief gap in the known history, which resumes in 1986 by which time the Ferrari was in the ownership of Tex K Otto of Fullerton, California, who kept it until 2005. At this time the exterior colour was red.
Its next owner was Paul Forbes, another California resident. In 2006 '4851' was cosmetically restored by Motion Products West of Carlsbad, California, the engine being overhauled by Bill Rudd, the body stripped back to bare metal and repainted in grey metallic, and the interior re-trimmed in black. The front brakes, master cylinder, radiator, fuel tank and fuel pumps all received attention at the same time. Circa 2006 the Ferrari was sold to Charles T 'Chuck' Wegner of West Chicago, Illinois, who kept it for the next five years.
In 2011, '4851' was sold to Neil McMahon in the UK and registered in this country as 'PRX 932B'. The car was then despatched to Cavallo Motorsports for HTP preparation. '4851' then participated in the 2011 Mille Miglia and 2012 Tour Auto (results sheets in history file). Chris Evans bought the Ferrari from Neil McMahon.
The accompanying history file contains the following: Ferrari Classiche file with build sheets; HTP document; FIVA certificate; import documents and purchase records; current MoT certificate; and V5C registration document.
Soon after the car's launch, Road & Track declared that the 250 GT Lusso was 'Ferrari's most beautiful car; a classic...' and the passage of time has not altered that assessment one iota.