1957 Ferrari 250GT Boano
Year of manufacture1957
Chassis number0645 GT
Engine number0645 GT
• Unrestored and largely unseen since 1958
• With period competition history
• Matching numbers, Ferrari Classiche certified, FIVA A2 passport
• Swiss registered and never before offered for public sale
“The 250 GT…is a designed-from-scratch high performance tourer that combines Ferrari’s best competition chassis features with innumerable refinements that successfully tame the basic inner beast… The design, detailing and execution of every part of its chassis and body reflect the builder’s determination to put together a perfect machine.” American magazine Sports Car Illustrated reviews a $10,975 250 GT Boano Coupé in January 1958. And likes it.
The line of Ferrari’s stripped-bare competition berlinettas that started with Marquis ‘Fon’ de Portago’s 1956 Tour de France-winning 250 GT is the stuff of legend.
By the mid-1950s, Ferrari’s focus was not only on racing. The famous Maranello company was also interested in selling road cars in more than ones and twos to the world’s wealthiest, the way it had done in the past.
A prototype of a new 250 GT Coupé, bearing the immortal Colombo 3.0-litre Tipo 128 V12 and using the classic 2,600mm wheelbase, was in development at Pinin Farina’s Turin plant in September 1955. Intended for limited-series production, the delicate, yet masculine design was shown at the March 1956 Geneva Salon. In the fashion of the day, it bore no name.
Although this was a model intended to be built in numbers, however limited, Pinin Farina could not manufacture the bodies at its new Grugliasco plant. It was not yet ready, and the 30,000sq mt factory was geared up to producing 1,000s of cars for Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and others.
So production was outsourced to ex-Ghia employees Mario-Felice Boano and Luciano Pollo whose company, Carrozzeria Boano, had been formed in 1953. Later, Mario-Felice Boano went to Fiat to run its central styling office and management reverted to Pollo, joined by his son-in-law Ezio Ellena. As a result, the 250 GTs made during this time, though mechanically similar, are referred to as either ‘Boano’ or ‘Ellena’ cars.
The Boanos are distinguished by their elegant ‘low roof’, and 68 cars were built before production switched to the ‘high roof’ Ellena, of which some 50 were made. Although small changes in transmission, braking and steering came in as production went on, the cars’ performance was identical: 220-240bhp at 7,000rpm; ca. 125mph maximum; standing ¼ mile of 16 seconds. The interiors were better finished than the Scaglietti-built, pared down berlinettas, but each one was still ‘classic Ferrari’ – a cockpit that meant serious driving for two.
Inevitably, several were raced and rallied, scoring creditable results on the Mille Miglia, the Tour de France Automobile and serious long-distance events.
At least one car was entered for the world-famous Monte Carlo Rally – the car illustrated.
This motor car
According to research by Swiss marque authority Marcel Massini, chassis 0645 GT was purchased new by Giancarlo Ori of Modena in July 1957. He may have been a ‘man of straw’ intermediary, as he sold the car almost immediately to Italian Monaco resident Guido Caruto – likely another sales agent – before it passed to fellow Monégasque Jean Bonnet. As confirmation, Ferrari Classiche stated to Kidston SA in 2021 that its records show the car sold new to Monaco. Bonnet registered it ‘3258’ in the principality on 31 December 1957. Massini indicates the car was initially painted in Marrone 1115 (a dark brown) but around the time of its sale to Bonnet – as an effectively new Ferrari – this was changed to Verde Riviera 1160, the colour it has worn since 1957/8 and in which it raced. The interior was trimmed in leather, Grigio Arbo Tan 682. To confirm the sporting intent of this 250 GT, it was delivered on Michelin Pilote 6in x 16in racing tyres and had powerful Marchal fog lights in the front grille.
Bonnet, who competed as ‘Jean Lucienbonnet’, was a speedboat and sportscar dealer in Monaco and enthusiastic amateur rally driver. Born in Nice on 7 January 1923, he was also an occasional racer with one F1 Grand Prix entry to his credit: Monaco in 1959. He died on 19 August 1962 competing in a Formula Junior race in Sicily. He usually shared his 250 GT with fellow Frenchman Maurice Parucci, a veteran of many Mille Miglias at the wheel of a Panhard Dyna.
In Bonnet’s hands the Boano was campaigned throughout 1958:
• 21-29 January. Rallye de Monte Carlo, Lucienbonnet, #330 (result unknown)
• 9 March. Rallye Marseille-Provence, Lucienbonnet/Parucci, #103, 1st in class
• 12-13 April. Rallye de la Lavande, Lucienbonnet/Parucci, #234
• 7-12 July. Criterium Internationale de la Montagne – Coupe des Alpes, Lucienbonnet/Parucci, #422 (result unknown)
• 21 September. Tour de France Automobile, Lucienbonnet/Parucci, #170 (did not start)
Period photographs of the elegant Ferrari competing during the 1958 rally season show it looking as it does today, down to the enamel Monaco badge on the boot.
After Bonnet’s death in 1962 the Boano was probably sold to Guy Gravier (26 September 1925 – 6 September 2019) of 53 Avenue Aime Martin, Nice. A French registration title was issued on 18 February 1966, and on 4 February 1969 it was allocated the mark ‘302 Q P06’in Gravier’s name. M. Gravier’s only known outing with the Ferrari was at the Modena Ferrari Days meeting in September 1983. He kept the car until 1986, when it was sold via pioneering Monaco-based dealer Massimo Colombo to noted Italian collector Massimo Sordi of Milan. It joined his extensive, 60-car collection that included a 250 GT California Spider SWB and modern F1 and sports-racers from Maranello. On 19 June 1986 Ferrari historian Antoine Prunet wrote to Dr Sordi, informing him that his “green 250 GT Boano” had won the 2nd Rallye Marseille-Provence on 9 March 1958, enclosing a photograph and adding that he believed the car had spent all its life on the Côte d'Azur.
During Sordi’s ownership, chassis 0645 remained unregistered and probably unused, though on 11 May 2004 it received Ferrari Classiche red book status. In a discreet sale handled by Kidston SA the car passed in May 2014 to a new owner, being officially imported to Switzerland in July 2014. In December that year it was inspected by restorer Markus Scharnhorst and given FIVA A2 certification (2= original, A= standard, ie unmodified). At the same time, its first Swiss roadworthiness inspection was conducted in Bern, at which point the odometer read 61,445km. In June 2015, having covered 61,454km, ‘0645’ was serviced by French specialist FB Motors of Saint-Jeoire near Lake Geneva. The following year – at an odometer reading of 61,864km – the owner sent the car to Ferrari expert Officina Bonini in Italy. The service work cost €11,500, and since then FB has overhauled the clutch and gearbox.
Registered in Switzerland with local taxes paid, this beautiful green Boano is a preservation example of an early Ferrari bearing that oh-so beguiling and thrilling name, ‘250 GT’. It has been certified by Ferrari Classiche as ‘matching numbers’, and their red book is with the car, as is Massini’s detailed report dated 13th March 2021. The bodywork is steel with aluminium bonnet and boot (most were all steel). All glass appears original and is either dated 3 November 1955 or stamped Securit Plate AS2. The interior appears untouched, with patinated but largely intact grey leather complimented by matching cloth on the central seat/door panels. The transmission tunnel is covered in faded beige carpet and includes a bespoke map holder, probably a relic of its rally career. The painted dashboard matches the exterior colour and there is the usual full array of Veglia instruments, the speedometer reading to 300km/h. The odometer now shows 63,033km which is commensurate with the car’s condition. The floor is covered by plain rubber mats. The boot lining also appears original and the spare Borrani is housed inside, next to the fuel filler. A Nardi steering wheel, Marchal Equilox lights and four painted Borrani road wheels complete the typical mid-1950s Ferrari look.
A benchmark Ferrari from the period, still in the elegant and understated green livery in which it was campaigned in 1958, this largely unknown 250 GT by Boano deserves the often-misused ‘time capsule’ label: it has hardly been seen in public since 1958, spent half a century in the hands of just two owners, and has never before been offered for public sale. Each chip, scratch and worn surface could probably tell a story. It takes you back to a time when Ferraris were largely unknown to the general public, bought by real gentleman drivers, and rarely red. It should be preserved just as it is.