Year of manufacture1962
Chassis number250GT E3803
Engine number546/62E (internal)
Number of seats2
1962 Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet
Coachwork by Pininfarina
Registration no. KFO 458
Chassis no. 250GT E3803
Engine no. 546/62E (internal)
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.
The 250 GT featured the lighter and more compact Colombo-designed 3.0-litre V12 in place of its predecessor's bulkier Lampredi unit. Power output of the single-overhead-camshaft all-aluminium engine was 220bhp at 7,000rpm. Shorter in the wheelbase (by 200mm) than that of the Europa, the 250 GT chassis followed Ferrari's established practice, being a multi-tubular frame tied together by oval main tubes, though the independent front suspension now employed coil springs instead of the previous transverse leaf type. A four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox transmitted power to the live rear axle, while braking was looked after by hydraulic drums all round.
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 prominent European coachbuilders offered a variety of body styles on the 250GT chassis, with Scaglietti and Pininfarina producing elegant open-top spyder and cabriolet models. Exhibited at the 1957 Geneva Salon, the latter's first 250 GT Cabriolet, which, unusually, featured a Vintage-style cut-down driver's door, was snapped up by Ferrari works driver Peter Collins, who later had the car converted to disc brakes. After a handful of alternative versions had been built, series production began in July 1957, around 40 Series I Pininfarina Cabriolets being completed before the introduction of the Series II in 1959. Effectively an open-top version of the Pininfarina-built 250 GT Coupé, whose chassis and mechanics it shared, the Cabriolet was built alongside its closed cousin until 1962. Overall design followed that of the Coupé, with short nose and long rear overhang, while a more-vertical windscreen provided greater headroom in the generously sized cockpit. As well as the aforementioned improvements to brakes and transmission, the Series II cars benefited from the latest, 240bhp V12 with outside sparkplugs, coil valve springs and twelve-port cylinder heads. The 250 GT was the most successful Ferrari of its time, production of all types exceeding 900 units, of which 200 were Series II Cabriolets like that offered here.
A number of important developments occurred during 250 GT production: the original 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.
The penultimate 250 GT Series II cabriolet produced, chassis number '3803' was despatched from Ferrari's Maranello factory on 1st June 1962 to Pininfarina's works at Grugliasco where it was completed on 10th October of that year. Its original colour scheme was Bianco Salchi with blue hide interior. After completion, the Ferrari was delivered to the dealer Autorimessa Crivellari in Venice, Italy and sold to one Amadeo Dalle Molle of Padova, Italy in February 1963. The car's subsequent history is unknown prior to its being advertised in 1990 in the French magazine Autos Internationales by an individual living in Belgium.
In the mid-1990s the Ferrari was owned by collector Tom Walduck in the UK, the engine having been rebuilt at around this time (October 1995) by Paul Doumer Autos, a garage in Beausoleil, South of France (bill on file). It was first registered in this country, as 'KFO 458', in March 1996. In 2001, '3803' was advertised for sale by Paradise Garage (Paradise Racing Ltd) of London SW4, from whom it was purchased in July of that year by the current vendor, a member of the Ferrari Owners' Club and past custodian of a 360 Modena and 355 GTS. A copy of the Paradise Garage advertisement is on file, showing the car in its present colour scheme of silver with black interior.
Since acquisition, '3803' has been well cared for and wanted for nothing, as evidenced by the substantial quantity of service and maintenance bills on file, mostly issued by Lorenzini Autosports and R&D Automotive, including one for £12,563 for an engine rebuild in December 2014. Additional accompanying documentation includes a quantity of expired MoT certificates and tax discs, assorted Tracker (UK) Ltd paperwork, current MoT and old/current V5/V5C registration documents. A wonderful opportunity for the discerning collector to acquire a fine example of this most important Ferrari model.