In the current family ownership for 40 years 1961 Ferrari 250GT Series II Cabriolet Coachwork by Pininfarina Chassis no. 2943GT Engine no. 2943GT
By the early 1960s, road car production had ceased to be a sideline for Ferrari and was seen as vitally important to the company's future stability. Thus the 250, Ferrari's first volume-produced model, can be seen as critically important, though production of the first of the line - the 250 Europa, built from 1953 to '54 - amounted to fewer than 20. Before the advent of the Europa, Ferrari had built road-going coupés and convertibles in small numbers, usually to special customer order using a sports-racing chassis as the basis. Ghia and Vignale of Turin and Touring of Milan were responsible for bodying many of these but there was no attempt at standardisation for series production and no two cars were alike.
The introduction of the 250 Europa heralded a significant change in Ferrari's preferred coachbuilder; whereas previously Vignale had been the most popular carrozzeria among Maranello's customers, from now on Pinin Farina (later 'Pininfarina') would be Ferrari's number one choice, bodying no fewer than 48 out of the 53 Europa/Europa GTs built. Pinin Farina's experiments eventually crystallised in a new Ferrari 250GT road car that was first displayed publicly at the Geneva Salon in March 1956. However, the Torinese carrozzeria was not yet in a position to cope with the increased workload, resulting in production being entrusted to Carrozzeria Boano after Pinin Farina had completed a handful of prototypes.
True series production began with the arrival of Pininfarina's 'notchback' Coupé on the 250GT chassis, 350 of which were built between 1958 and 1960 within the sequence '0841' to '2081'. However, the relatively small scale of production meant that cars could still be ordered with subtle variations according to customer choice, as well as enabling a handful of show cars and 'specials' to be constructed on the 250GT chassis.
A number of important developments occurred during 250GT production: the original 128C 3.0-litre engine being superseded by the twin-distributor 128D, which in turn was supplanted in 1960 by the outside-plug 128F engine which did away with its predecessor's Siamesed inlets in favour of six separate ports. On the chassis side, four-wheel disc brakes arrived late in 1959 and a four-speeds-plus-overdrive gearbox the following year.
A number of coachbuilders offered a variety of body styles on the 250GT chassis, Mario Boano's cabriolet on chassis number '0461GT', exhibited at Geneva in March 1956, being considered the probable inspiration for the Pinin Farina-designed series that followed. Exhibited for the first time at the 1957 Geneva Salon, the latter's first 250GT Cabriolet was snapped up by Ferrari works driver Peter Collins, who later had the car converted to disc brakes. This car, '0655GT', was the first of four Cabriolet prototypes - alternatively referred to as Spyders - though the remaining 36 Series I cars all differed in detail to such an extent that each may be considered a unique creation. Indeed, it was common at this time for wealthy clients to specify features seen on show models or other Ferraris as a means of personalising their cars.
After a handful of alternative versions had been built, series production of the 250GT Cabriolet began in July 1957 and around 40 Series I Pininfarina-styled examples had been completed before the introduction of the Series II in 1959. Effectively an open-top version of the Pininfarina-built 250GT Coupé, whose chassis and mechanics it shared, the Series II Cabriolet was built alongside its closed cousin until 1962. Overall design followed that of the Coupé, with short nose and long rear overhang, while a more-vertical windscreen provided greater headroom in the generously sized cockpit. As well as the aforementioned improvements to brakes and transmission, the Series II cars benefited from the latest, 240bhp Tipo 128F V12 engine with outside sparkplugs, coil valve springs and twelve-port cylinder heads. The 250GT was the most successful Ferrari of its time, production of all types exceeding 900 units of which 200 were Series II Cabriolets. More refined and practical than any previous road-going Ferrari yet retaining the sporting heritage of its predecessors, the 250GT is of historical significance, the Cabriolet version being the rarest and most desirable.
The 148th of the 200 built, chassis number '2943' was completed in October 1961 and later that same year was delivered to its first owner, Euromac Srl, a company located at Bergamo, Italy. The car was originally finished in red with black leather interior. In April 1962 the Ferrari was sold to a new owner in Milan and registered there. In June 1963, '2943' was serviced at Ferrari's Assistenza Clienti department in Modena, having covered 14,913 kilometres by that time.
The car was later exported to Germany and sold to Prince Joackim Zu Furstenberg. The address of the ownership was Schloss (Castle), Donaueschingen. In 1972 it was for sale in the showroom of Auto Becker where it was bought by the vendor who brought the car home to Norway. Before being handed over by Auto Becker, it went through a complete inspection and service. During its time in Norway, the car was only driven on special occasions. '2943' displays a total of only 61,971 kilometres (approximately 38,500 miles) on the odometer, which equates to fewer than 1,200 kilometres (745 miles) annually from new! We are advised that the engine last ran some 4-5 years ago but is now suffering from a problem with the fuel pump, while the car overall is described as in generally fair/good condition, with good interior. Offered in need of re-commissioning, it represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a highly original example of a landmark model that helped cement Ferrari's continuing relationship with Carrozzeria Pininfarina.
Should the vehicle remain in the UK, local import taxes of 5% will be applied to the purchase price.