$13m Ferrari 250GT California Spider joins Monterey gang

| 18 Jul 2019
Classic & Sports Car – $13m Ferrari 250GT California Spider joins Monterey gang

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A rare 1958 Ferrari 250GT LWB California Spider is set to become one of the most expensive cars ever sold at auction when it goes under the hammer next month. 

Chassis 1055 GT is the 11th of just 50 California Spiders built in LWB form – a further 56 were produced in SWB guise – and will be offered with an eye-watering estimate of $11-13m (£8.8-10.4m).

Then again, this is quite a special car: it’s a matching-numbers example in the desirable covered-headlights spec; it’s in pristine condition following a full restoration; and it has period racing history behind it.

Now it’s heading to auction at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach sale – and it could be one of the biggest sellers across the whole Monterey Car Week extravaganza.

Classic & Sports Car – $13m Ferrari 250GT California Spider joins Monterey gang

The California Spider is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful of all Ferraris and always comes with a suitably high price tag; indeed this very example sold for $8.8m (£7.05m) with RM Sotheby’s in 2014

It was designed by Carrozzeria Scaglietti and, as its name suggests, was aimed squarely at the American market.

Indeed, it was two famed Ferrari dealers in the States, Luigi Chinetti and John von Neumann, who persuaded Maranello bosses that an open-topped version of the powerhouse 250GT Berlinetta would be a hit with their young, wealthy clientele. 

Classic & Sports Car – $13m Ferrari 250GT California Spider joins Monterey gang

No mere show pony, the California Spider was a racer at heart – it was, after all, based on one of Ferrari's greatest ever track stars, the 250GT Tour De France.

Under the bonnet there was a 3-litre V12 engine good for 240bhp at 7000rpm and coupled with an ultra-lightweight aluminium body it could hit a top speed of 145mph.

It enjoyed success at many a race in the late ’50s and early ’60s, and it even finished fifth overall at the 1959 Le Mans 24 Hours under the banner of Chinetti’s North American Racing Team. 

Chassis 1055 GT didn’t reach quite those heights, but it did perform admirably in its one period outing – finishing first in class and second overall at the Osceola Grand Prix in Florida in January 1962.

Classic & Sports Car – $13m Ferrari 250GT California Spider joins Monterey gang

Delivered to Luigi Chinetti Motors in 1959, it was sold new to an attorney in Texas and has a well-documented history since then, taking in several notable owners including Gerald Roush, founder of Ferrari Market Letter, and collectors Tony Wang and Hans Thulin.

It recently underwent a full, no-expense-spared restoration at the hands of marque specialist Motion Products, Inc and is presented in the fetching, period-correct colour scheme of Grigio Vinovo with brown leather interior.

“In the world of vintage Ferraris, most would agree that the 250GT California Spider is in a class of its own,” said David Gooding, President and Founder of Gooding & Company.

“It is the quintessential open Ferrari, and this example exhibits highly desirable features including covered headlights, Classiche certification, numerous awards, and a unique and stunning colour scheme.”

Gooding & Co’s Pebble Beach auction takes place on 16-17 August and is shaping up to be something special.

A total of eight cars with $3m (£2.4m)-plus estimates have already been consigned, among them a Ferrari 312T Formula One car driven several times by the late Niki Lauda in his title-winning 1975 season, a 1958 250GT Tour De France and a 1953 Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV. You can view the full lot list here.

Images: Mathieu Heurtault/Gooding & Company


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