1955 Ferrari 250
Year of manufacture1955
At the Paris Salon, held in October 1954 at the magnificent Grand Palais, Ferrari introduced an important new model – the 250 Europa GT.
The previous year, Ferrari had unveiled the 250 Europa, a companion to the exclusive 375 America. The two models were virtually identical, with the exception of engine displacement; the 375 America featured a 4.5-liter Lampredi V-12, while the 250 Europa was fitted with a Lampredi V-12 of three-liter capacity.
Due to its similar outward appearance to the original Europa model, the updated 250 Europa GT did not create much commotion. However, the new model was nothing less than a true innovation and a meaningful step in the evolution of the now legendary range of 250 Ferraris.
The foundation of the new Europa GT was the thoroughly redesigned Tipo 508 chassis, featuring a wider track and a wheelbase about eight inches shorter than the previous model. Most significantly, the Europa GT benefited from independent coil-spring front suspension, a major improvement over the previous model’s transverse leaf spring arrangement. Thanks to its modern coil-spring front suspension and more manageable proportions, the 250 Europa GT offered superior road holding, more precise handling, and greater stability at speed.
Whereas the original 250 Europa was powered by a three-liter version of the Lampredi long-block, the new Europa GT was the first road-going 250 model to utilize the classic Colombo-designed V-12, a family of engines that can be traced back to the earliest days of the marque and which were responsible for some of Ferrari’s greatest achievements in motor sports. In fact, the Tipo 112 engine fitted to the 250 Europa GT was simply a lightly detuned version of the engine found in the race-winning 250 MM competition models.
Not only did the Colombo-type engine offer an increase in power, it was also better suited for road use; it was much less temperamental, easier to keep in tune, and took half the time to rebuild. It also had the added benefit of being substantially lighter than the Lampredi V-12, which contributed to more balanced handling and ease of use at low speeds. In addition to its upgraded engine, the Europa GT featured a greatly improved gearbox, utilizing Porsche-type synchromesh on all four forward gears, allowing for fast, seamless shifting.
As with the original Europa, the GT chassis was almost exclusively tailored by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. The handsome design was instrumental in defining the “Ferrari look,” with its imposing egg-crate grille, elegant proportions, and restrained yet sporting lines. Though similar to the original 250 Europa and 375 America, Pinin Farina’s design for the 250 Europa GT is perhaps even more harmonious due to the compact scale of the chassis.
Although it was primarily designed for high-speed grand touring, the 250 Europa GT was so technically advanced that many owners entered the model in motor sports events such as the Tour de France, where they were immediately successful and highly competitive.
It is widely acknowledged that the fundamental concepts first introduced by the 250 Europa GT – independent coil-spring front suspension, a three-liter Colombo V-12 and a fully synchronized gearbox – were found in every 250 GT model that followed, from the Tour de France to the GTO.
The Europa GT presented here, chassis 0413 GT, is perhaps the finest surviving example of this landmark model and, for that matter, among the best-preserved Ferraris of the 1950s.
Completed in October 1955, 0413 GT was the 29th of 43 Europa GTs built and was delivered new to the official Ferrari dealer in Genoa, Italy, Parauto S.r.l. According to the research of Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, this car is believed to have been destined for one of Ferrari’s most important early patrons, Dott. Enrico Wax.
A well-known name among Italian car aficionados, Dott. Enrico Wax was President of Wax & Vitale SpA, the Genovese firm that was the official Italian distributor for prestigious luxury brands including Johnnie Walker whisky, Moët & Chandon champagne, and Connolly leather. A passionate automobile enthusiast, with a superb eye for design and detail, Dott. Wax owned a succession of exquisite Alfa Romeos, Ferraris, and Maseratis, each custom-tailored to his own discerning tastes and specifications.
Given his substantial means, Dott. Wax purchased a new, often highly personalized Ferrari every year. Between 1950 and 1974, he is reported to have owned 15 different examples of the marque, from a Stabilimenti Farina-bodied 166 Inter to a 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer. Among his most famous commissions are several spectacular one-offs: the Bertone-bodied SWB Berlinetta (1739 GT), the Scaglietti-bodied 410 Superamerica (0671 SA), and the Pinin Farina-bodied Europa GT (0425 GT), which served as a design study for the 14-louvre Tour de France.
0413 GT would be entirely consistent with Dott. Wax’s tradition of ordering bespoke coachbuilt cars as it possesses fascinating, one-of-a-kind details that set it apart from standard 250 Europa GTs. Carrying Pinin Farina body number 14983, this car’s most notable custom appointments are its attractive instrument cluster and distinctive taillight treatment, which are believed to be unique features. Additionally, the Europa GT was specified in a sophisticated color scheme of Grigio Metallizzato, a deep metallic gray, with Arancia (Orange) leather upholstery and the dashboard and door caps painted in a contrasting green-gray finish. The result is a singular Europa GT that is elegant and subtle – a Ferrari that would have been appropriate for a connoisseur like Dott. Wax.
While little is recorded of the Ferrari’s earliest years in Italy, 0413 GT was sold to William Gottwald, a resident of Solana Beach, California, and exported to the US around 1960. Born in 1928 to German immigrants, Mr. Gottwald was a mechanical engineer who began his career with Messerschmitt Aircraft in Europe before returning to Southern California and establishing his own business, United Research and Manufacturing, Inc.
An avid automobile enthusiast, he acquired a stable of collector cars that included prewar American classics, postwar Fords and Mercurys, and even a Pinin Farina-bodied Ferrari 212 Inter. Although Mr. Gottwald’s taste in automobiles was diverse, his standard for condition was remarkably consistent: virtually every car he acquired was a pristine, low-mileage original example.
Mr. Gottwald continued to register 0413 GT until 1966, when it was finally retired from the road and placed in static storage. Amazingly, this Ferrari was a fixture in his private cache of collector cars for six decades. It remained untouched and rarely seen until his recent passing in November 2020, whereupon ownership of 0413 GT transferred to the consignor.
Today, 0413 GT displays a marvelous patina of age, with its Grigio Metallizzato paint still in remarkably sound condition throughout and important original fittings in place, including the original window glass, cloisonne emblems, and Carello and Marchal lamps. Pinin Farina’s quality craftsmanship is evident in the exceptional panel fit, and the Ferrari possesses a proper stance on its combination of period Pirelli and Englebert tires. The Europa GT even retains its original 1963-issue California black plates – “KPP 427” – with the last registration sticker dated 1966.
The interior is sensational, with the Arancia leather preserved in magnificent original condition and more notable deterioration to the carpeting and rubber mats. At the time of cataloguing, the odometer displayed just 33,671 kilometers (approximately 20,925 miles), a figure that is believed to represent the mileage from new. Affixed to the rear-view mirror is a 1959 Automobile Club d’Italia sticker, a charming reminder of the Ferrari’s Genovese provenance.
The engine bay and chassis are similarly well preserved, with many rare fittings, clamps, and accessories still in place – several rubber hoses miraculously retain their original Pirelli logos. Significantly, the chassis frame, data tag, and engine block are all properly stamped 0413 GT and the engine’s internal number, 353, corresponds to the Ferrari factory build records. Also worthy of note are this car’s twin front-mounted distributors, which are an unusual type seen on a limited number of Europa GTs, including an aluminum-bodied car built for competition use.
Never before restored, exhibited, or offered for public sale, and presented today in as-found condition, complete with its original handbooks and jack, 0413 GT represents a unique opportunity for the connoisseur. Exceptional in every respect – originality, specification, provenance – this Europa GT is surely among the finest surviving Ferraris of its era and an unrepeatable, museum-quality example of an important 250 model.
Having known and admired this particular Europa GT for many years, Gooding & Company is delighted to present 0413 GT at auction as it is well-suited to the most discerning collector, especially those who will continue to preserve it for posterity.
*Please note that this vehicle is titled 1956. Please also note that this vehicle has been in long-term static storage and may not be currently operational. It will require mechanical attention prior to road use.