1961 Ferrari Cabriolet
Lot 130
1960 Ferrari 250GT Cabriolet Series II Chassis no. 1869GT Engine no. 1869GT
Sold for US$ 1,375,000 inc. premium
Auction Details
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Lot Details
1960 Ferrari 250GT Cabriolet Series II
Coachwork by Pinin Farina

Chassis no. 1869GT
Engine no. 1869GT
2,953cc SOHC V-12 engine
Triple Weber Dual-Choke Carburetors
240bhp and 7,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission with Overdrive
Independent Front Suspension - Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Disc Brakes

*Documented from new by Marcel Massini
*Ex-Skeets Dunn
*Fitted with the extremely rare and desirable hardtop from new
*Very well restored example
*The vehicle of choice for playboys and aristocrats alike



The Ferrari 250GT Cabriolet Series II

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 ongoing stability. Thus the 250, Ferrari's first volume-produced model, was of critical importance, though production of the first of the line - the 250 Europa, built from 1953 to '54 - amounted to fewer than twenty cars (see lot 160). The Europa was superseded by the 250GT in 1954, the latter featuring a lighter and more-compact Colombo-designed 3-liter V12 in place of its predecessor's bulkier Lampredi unit. Power output of the single-overhead-camshaft all-aluminium engine was 220bhp at 7,000rpm. Shorter in the wheelbase (by 200mm) than the Europa, the 250GT chassis followed Ferrari's established practice, being a multi-tubular frame tied together by oval main tubes, though the independent front suspension now employed coil springs instead of the previous transverse leaf type. A four-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox transmitted power to the live rear axle, while hydraulic drums all round looked after braking. Four-wheel disc brakes arrived late in 1959 and a four-speed-plus-overdrive gearbox the following year.

Multiple carrozzerie offered different body styles on the 250GT chassis, with Scaglietti and Pininfarina producing elegant open-top spyder and cabriolet models. Exhibited 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. After a handful of alternative versions had been built, series production began in July 1957, around 40 Series I Pininfarina Cabriolets being 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 V12 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.


The Motorcar Offered

1869GT rolled off the production floor in Maranello on March 24th, 1960 and was sent to Pinin Farina's works in Torino for the fitment of its sleek Cabriolet body. Completed in two months , on May 24th, this Rosso Rubino over Leather Naturale Cabriolet , the 31st of 200 Series II Cabriolets built, was sold new with the optional hardtop to Rome, Italy. Remaining in its homeland briefly, the Cabriolet found its way to the US through Luigi Chinetti Motors in Greenwich, Connecticut, before entering the garage of Richard Sotras in Glendale, California.

Sotras kept the car for several years before selling it in 1967 to Los Angeleno Edwin Niles who eventually sold it in 1969 to Joseph Schwan of Pheonix, Arizona. Schwan would keep the car for just over a decade before selling it to prolific Rancho Santa Fe Ferrari collector C.A. "Skeets" Dunn in 1980. In the mid-1980s, Skeets commissioned a complete restoration of the car to his usual high standards, finishing the car in Pozzi Blue over tan hides. After a decade of enjoyment, Skeets sold his Cabriolet to an important collection in Japan in 1990.

The car reappeared in the States at the end of 2002. Two years later, John Bagioli at Forza Motors executed a complete engine build prior to a successful running of the car in the California Mille. After trading hands again in August of 2004, a further $10,446.40 in receipts were accumulated at Randy Reid's Antique Auto Restorations just prior to 2010. This work included significant electrical sorting, restoring the fuel tank, installing new axle seals and bearings, fitting new shock links and bushings, body adjustments and new seals, and adjusting the carburetors and valves.

In 2010, the car was sold to Christopher Thomsen of Denmark, husband of the billionaire LEGO heiress Sofie Kirk Kristiansen and friend of the Danish royal family. Brought back to the United States by its current owner, the car was commissioned to Black Horse Garage in Connecticut for a concours-quality restoration. Led by the owners of Black Horse—well-known Ferrari restorer Frank Buonanno (who worked with Luigi Chinetti's top mechanic Alberto Pedretti) and his son John—the car has just undergone a respray of its rich Pozzi blue exterior along with installation of new Connolly leather and carpeting. The engine and drivetrain have been fully detailed by Black Horse and the car has just had a full mechanical service and tune.

Its history from new fully documented by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, 1869GT still shows very well today, a testament to the high quality of the restoration undertaken in the 1980s combined with the gentle use and careful, meticulous maintenance that the car has received through its life. The elegant and understated color scheme it now wears amplifies the refinement of one of Ferrari's finest Gran Turismos. Turning the key brings the throaty Colombo V12 to life and a drive reveals the Ferrari to be well-suited to high-speed sweeping corners or blasting down the Autostrada. Mashing the throttle presses you into the padded leather bucket seats while the disc brakes at all four corners are effective in bringing things back back under control. Period-correct Michelin X tires shroud the chrome Borrani wire wheels, allowing for a smile-inducing performance in the curves; just enough grip, not too much! The choice of open air motoring or a quieter buttoned up interior thanks to the optional hardtop make it a true dual-purpose motorcar.

With its ample trunk space, luxurious interior, long-legged V12 mated to an overdrive transmission, and the exceptionally rare and desirable optional hardtop, there are few more comfortable and stylish conveniences with which to melt away the miles. Redolent of the dolce vita era, Ferrari's first production convertible was a natural choice for playboys and aristocrats, a silver example serving as David Niven's personal conveyance in the original Pink Panther film and Dominican bon viveur and sometime racing driver Porfirio Rubirosa also choosing one as his personal transport. The chance to join this exclusive club is a rare one; 1869GT is certainly one of the most stylish ways to do so.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit and the timing chest on this car is possibly over stamped.
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