One owner since 1973, 56,816km recorded 1961 Ferrari 250GT Short Wheelbase Berlinetta Coachwork by Pininfarina Chassis no. 2649GT
The 250GT SWB Berlinetta was immediately successful in racing, and remained successful until its place at the head of the GT pack was gradually assumed by the GTO. Its list of competition successes is so long as to be pointless to recount in detail but included GT category wins at Le Mans in 1960 and 1961, Tour de France wins in 1960, 1961 and 1962 and of course Stirling Mosss pair of Goodwood Tourist Trophy wins in 1960 and 1961. Built in both steel and aluminum, only 165 were made from 1959-1962. The 250GT SWB Berlinetta is the last true dual-purpose gran turismo built in quantity by Ferrari or anyone else for that matter and is in all respects a fitting milestone to mark the end of a legendary age.
The eighty-fifth 250GT SWB constructed and one of sixty-six cars built during 1961, 2649 GT was uniquely configured by order of its first owner R. Riccero of Rome. Delivered through Rome dealer Malago, among the seventeen special features specified by the buyer were flush mounted door handles, a special dashboard with leather covering, a central console with different knobs, special instrumentation similar to that of the 250 GTE, electric windows and a request that the SWB be delivered with perfect panel fit. The colour scheme was specified as Rosso Bordeaux with black leather. Factory documentation indicates that its engine produced 236 horsepower on the Ferrari dynamometer at delivery, a strong example of the street-tuned Tipo 168 engine.
Imported to Switzerland in 1968, its next owner was Henri Heller who kept it for several years before selling it to dealer Robert de la Rive Box. At some point the nose received covered headlights which have become one of 2649 GTs distinguishing features, a complement to the many custom features ordered by its first owner from Ferrari. Riding on Borrani wire wheels, it has grille-mounted driving lights and small front bumperettes that enhance the uniqueness of its covered headlights.
Michel Lepeltier acquired 2649 GT via Garage Hüni in 1973 and it has remained within this extraordinary collection of Ferraris ever since. Its odometer now displays only 56,816 kilometers which based upon its history almost certainly is the actual distance covered by 2649 GT since it was built.
As a 1961 Ferrari 250GT SWB, 2649 GT incorporates two years experience in construction as well as desirable features such as the door quarter windows which improve passenger compartment ventilation and reduce window condensation. Finished in Rosso with the original black leather interior, its long list of specially ordered original features and covered headlights set it apart from other 250GT SWB Lussos, as does its history of thirty years continuous ownership in the Lepeltier collection, a provenance which will continue to distinguish it through the rest of its history.
No automobile in the world, even from Ferrari, better expresses the concept of a dual purpose gran turismo than the 250GT Short Wheelbase Berlinetta. Highly prized for their styling, performance, responsive handling and refinement, Michel Lepeltiers 2649 GT is a unique example of this outstanding Ferrari model. It will be a highlight of any collection but will be even more rewarding to own and drive enthusiastically where its lively performance and balanced handling will remain as impressive as they were to Stirling Moss, who described the 250GT SWB as very well-mannered, well-balanced cars [that] also impressed me by their ability to change direction very quickly. High praise indeed, but no more than is deserved by Michel Lepeltiers Ferrari 250GT SWB.