1958 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta Tour de France
- Year of manufacture1958
- Mileage85 km / 53 mi
- Car typeCoupé
- Chassis number1031GT
- Engine number1031GT
- Reference numberFJ2374
- Exterior brand colourGiulietta Blue with a Maroon Stripe
- Interior colourBrown
- Interior brand colourHavana
- Number of doors2
- Number of seats2
- Exterior colourBlue
- Fuel typePetrol
This particular car, serial number 1031GT, must be counted as one of the most highly documented and known competition Tour de France models extant. 1031GT was originally ordered by privateer racer Jacques Peron on the 30th of April 1958, for 2.300.000 Lire. Peron, a resident of the 8th Arrondisment of Paris, indicated his specifications for the Ferrari in copiously detailed letters to the factory. Ferrari entertained the inquiry, suggesting that Peron supply a list of his racing accomplishments in order to vet the Frenchman and his skills at the wheel. Peron, of course complied, sending a multi-page letter outlining his substantial racing resume. Peron furthered his inquiry to Ferrari requesting that his car be built with a large fuel tank, a hinged hood, Bendix fuel pump, space for two spare tires, Speed-Pilot, and ammeter. Peron offered his 250 Europa GT s/n 0563GT as partial payment, further supporting his already engaged interest as a Ferrari customer. Ferrari, having been in receipt of the various letters and voluminous resume, but perhaps uninterested in building the car to such exacting customer specifications, instead offered delays in place of fulfillment.
Peron, still eager to see the car through to construction, continues his campaign with additional letters to Scaglietti offering further specifications including a request for a passenger head rest, and the suggestion that the car be finished in a light blue color, referencing his Alfa Giulietta as the color to match. The letter continued with the added detail that an Italian red racing stripe “roughly the width of the license plate” run the length of the car, and that the car be trimmed with “Havana” interior. Of particular interest was Peron’s request to also have a rear belly pan installed.
Despite Peron’s request to have the car delivered with ample time for testing and sorting, Ferrari eventually complied with construction and fabrication from Scaglietti. However, the car did not arrive until just days before the start of the Tour de France race. A fuming Peron, a decorated racer of all manner of exotic sports cars, was more familiar with refined customer treatment. Still he accepted the car as it was delivered, including nearly all his requests, with a few minor exceptions. On the 9th of September, the car was issued a temporary registration BO06520 as well as an insurance policy to supersede the formerly traded 0563GT. The complexities and politics of construction now behind him, the car was immediately raced in the Tour de France with Peron and his co-driver Harry Schell. Over the course of the week-long event, Schell was at the wheel when the right front fender was damaged. Undaunted by the damage, the car was capable of completing the event, thus, Peron and Schell pressed on, finishing 4th overall. Having concluded the race, but in need of front corner rebuilding, 1031GT was returned to Scaglietti who reconstructed the front fascia and refinished the front of the car in matching colors.
Among the many documents supporting the history of the car, a few are mentioned here for context and reference.
-Correspondence from 1954 relating to an OSCA he was purchasing.
-Extensive correspondence between Peron and the Ferrari factory during the construction of his Europa 0563GT, including the requested specification of 0563GT, build sheets for 0563GT, invoices for repairs.
-Letters from BP France that accompanied reimbursement checks for fuel used in races from his sponsorship.
-Similar letters accompanying checks from Cibié for his rally victories under their sponsorship.
-A letter accompanying his prize money from Peron’s participation in the 1957 Tour de France in s/n 0563GT.
-Documentation of Peron’s efforts to sell 1031GT including 1959 letters from J. Schlesser and one written by Marion Chinetti on behalf of her husband Luigi Chinetti (presumably because she spoke French and he did not) relating to the possible purchase from Peron of 1031GT.
-A letter from July of 1959 from Peron to the Ferrari factory explaining that the car had been sold to M. Cotton
As documented in the aforementioned letter, the second owner acquires the car in 1959 through agency dictated by Peron, shortly after completion of repairs to the front fender. The new owner, M. Cotton enters the car in the 1959 Monza Lottery, placing 6th overall, then in the 1959 Tour de France (Cotton/Beduin), with Beduin driving in the Montihery Coupe Paris, both of which were recorded as DNFs. The third owner, G. Tettamini of Como, tends to the car extensively with work performed by G. Colnago Autoriparazioni in Milan in May, 1967 (records on file with the car). On June 23, 1967, the car is exported by Robert Magnani from Genova to San Francisco, California aboard the steamship “President Arthur”. Residing in Point Richmond, CA, Magnani has the car serviced at S. Whitney Griswold Co., the now legendary Ferrari. Alfa-Romeo, and Maserati dealer and service facility of Northern California. Magnani maintains a detailed service record book on the car beginning on October 9, 1967 with 56,581 kms, tracking all service and maintenance work performed on the car. Service notations include such detailed notations as cleaning the float bowls, replacing tappet hardware, and servicing brake components.
By August of 1969, Magnani had added nearly 15,000 km to the car, bringing the odometer reading to 71,075 km. The service records show the gradual accumulation of mileage to the car’s odometer reading in 1972 of 56,000 km, believed to be 156,000 km from new. In 1972, Magnani sold the car to David and Mary Love, avid enthusiasts who retained and enjoyed the car, alongside his 1958 Ferrari Testa Rossa, s/n 0754TR purchased in 1964, and an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Zagato. The Loves retained the car for 42 years until David passed in 2014.
During Love’s 40+ years of ownership, David Love notoriously documented and researched every aspect of the history of 1031GT, uncovering a voluminous quantity of period documentation. Additionally, Love himself performed much of the work on the car, using it extensively for events and shows. Love’s wife Mary, an accomplished vintage racecar driver, raced the car at the Monterey Historics in 1973 and 1974, placing first and second. Mr. Love rebuilt both the engine and the gearbox himself in 1979, consistently tending to every mechanical requirement over his fastidious decades of ownership. The couple attended the Colorado Grand every year from 1990 to 1995, driving to and from the event in the car and participating to completion. They also ran the inaugural Copperstate 1000 in 1991, the inaugural La Carrera Real in 1992, and participated in numerous HMSA and CSRG club races. In 2002, while participating in the Tour de Marin, the car was lightly damaged, ironically, in the same front fender section from the inaugural Tour de France outing more than 50 years earlier. In 2004, the front fender was professionally repaired by alloy specialists and repainted red using the services of Curtis Patience Prep and Paint: Classic Autobody, Berkeley, CA
The current owners acquired the car in 2014 from the estate of David Love. Armed with binders of documentation and period literature on the history of Tour de France Ferraris, the current owner consulted top restoration experts to determine the best course of action for a top-tier restoration. The decision was made to restore the car back to the original configuration as completed when the car first participated in the 1958 Tour de France. Fortuitously, an area underneath a plate in the door jamb revealed the original Giulietta blue color, which was critical to matching the paint on the car today.
Having been preserved and maintained with such dedication for not only the 42-year period during the David and Mary Love ownership, but throughout the entire life of the car, the restoration was managed with the goal of preserving as many of the original parts on the car and truly restoring them. When components were needed, every effort was made to locate absolutely original pieces of uncompromised quality. Examples of such pieces included sourcing a pair of original 1958 Marchal headlights with their original factory labels still in place, a correct and original “Tootsie roll” coil, a period correct battery, a correct horn compressor, and authentic washer bottle.
The major mechanical components, having always been retained with the car throughout its recorded history, were all documented, photographed, and correctly sorted when expert Patrick Ottis and his team dispatched their meticulous and award-winning skills restoring every aspect of the car. Reference photographs confirmed the transmission number 119.C.C 9 x 34 both stamped into the casting (9 x 34 being the specialized ratio), and the differential number, 25D. Here too, the chassis number and engine number all were evident and in place per factory specifications. Every aspect of the electrical system including wiring with correct wrapping, a correct brown phenolic under-dash circuit board, and Magneti-Marelli components were all sourced and installed. The interior, believed to be largely original when the restoration began, afforded the upholstery experts accurate patterns for the seats, door panels, and surrounding areas to retrim the car with correctly finished high-quality vinyl in the originally specified “Havana” color. Care was made to study period photos of the car during construction including installing the black vinyl rear deck area that had been specially constructed to allow space for two spare tires, as well as the passenger seat headrest, per Peron’s original request.
Having researched the interior carefully, so as to restore it to the exact specifications when built for Peron, no detail was overlooked, particularly the specifically requested ammeter. Occupying the space that typically would have housed a clock, Palo Alto Speedometer was commissioned to painstakingly create a matching ammeter with absolute scale, construction, and graphic/color integrity to accompany the restored original suite of instruments. Further attention to detail included matching the textured black dashboard finish, beautifully finished wood rim Nardi steering wheel, and correctly finished door sill trim. As yet a further testament to the originality of the car and the Scaglietti construction, the door sills still retain the fine etching “Officine Introzzi – Como”.
Further interesting details regarding the history of the car include the appearance of rare and sometimes challenged original and continual presence of “triple-ear” knockoffs. Although these were not typical to construction of Tour de France models, the earliest period photos, photos of the inaugural participation in the 1958 Tour de France, and additional period photographic details confirm the triple-ear knockoffs mounted to the painted silver Borrani wire wheels throughout the history of the car.
For the exterior body and paint work, expert Charlie Potts of California Classics was commissioned to address all aspects of the lightweight alloy body, inner alloy construction, and inner strike surfaces. Original workmanship from Scaglietti was revealed when the paint was stripped and used to detail the alloy construction methods applied to the restoration. A vast majority of the original alloy body and construction was evident including the repaired front fender from the damage during the 1958 Tour de France. Minor alloy work was performed to the original body, making every effort to preserve the handcrafted dimensional qualities indicative of Carrozzeria Scaglietti. During the restoration, an area in the door jamb was found revealing the original Giulietta blue paint. This was matched and finished along with the deep red central stripe, skillfully applied using period color and black and white photos with particular attention to alignment of the stripe at the hood scoop as well as the correctly cascading color past the rear license plate pocket, terminating at the belly pan suspension mounts, revealed in the rear valance. The front of the car was beautifully finished including the rare and desirable covered headlights fit smoothly to the front fender lines.
When the restoration was completed, the car participated in both the 2016 Pebble Beach Tour and Concours d’Elegance where it was awarded 3rd in class against tight competition, behind a 330 P3/P4 and alloy 250 SWB. Since completion, the car has been driven a total of 96 kms. In August 2019, the car was selected by invitation to be exhibited along with 90 other competition cars at Casa Ferrari 2019, Pebble Beach, CA. In preparation for event, the car was serviced by Patrick Ottis who checked the car for proper operation, adjusted the carbs, and changed fluids as needed.
Today the car presents as a beautiful and superlative 250 GT Tour de France, embracing authentic and documented competition details with a world-class restoration, and remarkable historic stewardship from both illustrious past owners and contemporary cognoscenti. The Giulietta blue paint has excellent gloss and smooth coverage with the central deep red stripe accenting both the body color and the dramatic long hood, short deck design that would come to define literally all Gran Turismos. The wide hood and full-length hood scoop are made all the more dynamic with the central stripe, flanked by the desirable covered headlights and inboard foglamps. Finishing out the rear, the satin aluminum outside filler cap delivers a bold reminder to the competition heritage. The panel fit is excellent with smooth perimeter execution along the particularly delicate and often misshapen alloy edge folds, which have been treated to correct finishes in all underside areas. The body lines are dramatic and beautifully executed with appropriately finished brushed aluminum side intake vents, front and rear lightweight alloy bumpers, and properly painted side window trim. The correctly specified competition side and rear windows are plexiglass, and together with the glass windshield, show no flaws. The Borrani wire wheels are finished with silver paint, held in place with the unique, accurate chrome plated triple ear knockoffs, and shod with 6.0/16 Engelbert Competition tires.
The interior is finished in the original specification Havana vinyl with excellent fit, finish, and proper pleating to the contoured seats. The uniquely shaped rear parcel shelf is formed to allow for two spare tires, just as Peron had specified, and finished with black vinyl, likely to more effectively mask the rubber scrubbing when tires were in place. The instruments are beautifully finished with excellent color, clarity, and details contrasting against the crackle black finish of the purposeful dashboard. Every aspect of the interior, even under the dashboard has been finished with exceptional care and authenticity befitting a car of such historic import. The trunk, while sparse and finished with weight savings in mind reveals the evidence of handcrafted construction and material integrity.
Unlatching the hood from the driver’s side bonnet release, the uniquely specified hinged and latched hood is easily raised and locked into position. Peron had specified this feature, preferring the ease of access for roadside adjustments without having to unstrap and remove the hood as a separate body panel. Under the hood, the engine is simply stunning in every respect. Void of a weighty air cleaner, the Siamese velocity stacks perfectly top triple dual-throat Weber carburetors. The engine castings, hardware, fittings, and brilliantly arrayed finishes are an exceptional combination of original mechanical artistry and restoration excellence. Every detail from the orange Fram oil filter canister to the Magnetti-Marreli ignition components has been restored to perfection. The engine compartment is a highlight of technical sophistication and engineering artistry, validated by matching numbers, authentic castings, and award-winning mechanical stewardship.
This remarkable 1958 Ferrari 250GT Tour de France is a truly unrepeatable example of one of the finest competition cars built in the 1950s. A highly desirable, matching numbers, factory covered headlight car with significant period race history and unique one-off specified features, this Ferrari 250 GT is further bestowed with an award-winning restoration. With this provenance, there is little that can compare to the combined past and present history of 1031GT. Curatorially superb, exemplary in restoration, and ready for accolades at any top tier concours throughout the world, this Tour de France is ready to engage its next owner in the rare and desirable experience of world class competition Ferrari ownership.