Yes, the F40 is the poster car everyone dreams of owning. Sure, the Enzo showcases one man’s determination to dominate its rivals. Naturally, the Testarossa would be the car to be seen in pulling up at the coolest club in town. But, for us, there is one Ferrari that does it all, and does it in pure style: The Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta.
The year was 1959, and Ferrari were busy working around the clock in a bid to enable their Formula One cars to keep up with those plucky Brits and their Cooper-Climax. While their on-track escapades weren’t the most successful in the Tifosi’s timeline, away from the apexes and grandstands, something magical was taking place.
Pininfarina handled the design, while multiple changes were being made to the chassis and suspension components, to ensure that the 250 GT was outstanding right from the get-go. Adopting the name ‘Passo Corto Berlinetta’, later kept to ‘SWB’ was 2,400mm in length, making it razor-sharp when it came to tackling even the sharpest of turns. It was a Ferrari of firsts too, pioneering disc brakes as standard on all four wheels.
This particular example has enjoyed life to its fullest, travelling the world with every new custodian. Born as a Berlinetta Stradale in July 1961 and originally being finished in Grigio, it is the 86th of 165 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta ever built. Delivered to its first Italian owner from new, the 250 would stay in the same ownership for some time, until travelling across the world to Los Angeles in the 70’s. Remaining in California, the Ferrari received a full restoration in the mid-90’s, where it was then first given the Rosso treatment, complete with natural leather interior, 40 DCL Weber carbs, split Testa Rossa style exhaust headers, and even a single-layer aluminium floor, transforming this already highly capable B-road destroyer into perhaps the ultimate café racer with number plates!
Now, this glorious SWB is finished in exquisite condition inside and out, wearing Rosso in effortless style, with the original interior colour being unconfirmed by the factory, enabling the next custodian to have the rare luxury of specifying the interior in a colour they desire. For us though, Rosso over tan has always been a winning combination, especially on a golden-era Ferrari! Driving any Ferrari from the 1950s is a truly unforgettable experience, but the 250 GT SWB is perhaps the purest form of driving, offering the most well-proportioned and striking Berlinetta in Ferrari’s 70+ year history.
With many examples changes hands multiple times in recent years, this prancing horse represents a rare chance to acquire a 250 SWB in stunning condition that has been owned and cherished over the last two decades by the same owner. If you don't buy it, we'll have to start a donations tin in the Classic Driver office, maybe in another twenty years we'll be able to buy the wheel!
Photos by Stephan Bauer