Mille Miglia eligible
1954 Ferrari Tipo 250 Europa Prototype
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina #12503
Chassis no. 0297EU
Engine no. 0297EU
Capitalizing on the success of his V12-engined competition cars Enzo Ferrari began to develop exclusive road-going models for sale to private customers. Enzo Ferrari had begun planning his new car during the war and in 1946 commissioned Gioacchino Colombo to design a small-capacity V12 engine for it. By the time of the Paris Salon, in October 1953, the Ferrari range of road-going cars was being fully renewed with two new models announced, the 250 Europa to replace the 212 Inter born in 1951 and a bigger engined model, the 375 America. These two new Ferraris featured a common and longer (2,800mm instead of 2,600mm) chassis and 'long block' Lampredi engines, a 3-litre (2,963cc) known as Tipo 103 for the Europa and a 4.5-litre (4,522cc) Tipo 104 for the America together with a 4-speed gearbox to replace the 5-speed of the 212 Inter.
The first 375 America (0293AL) was ready for the 'Salon de l'Automobile', exhibited as a 2-seat coupé featuring an all new Pinin Farina design. Although indicated as '250 Europa' the 3-litre Vignale coupé (0295EU) displayed alongside remained based on the 212 Inter 2,600mm chassis and featured a 'short block' Colombo 3-litre engine. As for the car offered here, 0297EU (EU for Europa), it shows the same chassis and engine combination with the difference of a Pinin Farina bodywork more in the style of the earlier 212 Inter. Therefore 0295EU and 0297EU can be considered as the two prototypes of the 250 Europa. In order to complete the story of the transition between the 212 Inter and the 250 Europa, we have to also mention 0299EU, one of the many Ferraris sold to the master film producer Roberto Rossellini. It featured the Pinin Farina 212 Inter style bodywork and chassis like 0297EU but was fitted with the new Lampredi Tipo 103 engine.
Further confusion comes from the Pinin Farina archives. 0297EU, scocca #12503, listed as the 17th and last Ferrari 212 Inter Coupe while Rossellini's 0299EU appears as #12532 in the '250 Europa - 375 America' list although it is still based on the 2,600mm chassis.
Two catalogues mentioning the 250 Europa also explain why the two real 'prototypes' 0295EU and 0297EU have confused observers over the years. One factory 10-page brochure common to the 250 Europa, the 500 Mondial and the 750 Monza credits the Europa with the Colombo (2,953cc) engine and the 2,600mm chassis. An 8-page factory catalogue titled '250 Europa - 375 America' gives the correct standard 250 Europa figures of 2,963cc for the Lampredi engine and 2,800mm wheelbase, but includes two pictures of a car and a dashboard that could very well be 0297EU, while the car pictured in the other brochure is definitely of the later Pinin Farina design, actually showing 0321EU at a 1954 Montreux Concours d'élégance.
The period of production for these models was at a time when Pinin Farina was becoming the predominant carrozzeria to couture Ferraris as the links between the two companies became stronger. It was a time when Ferrari were trying to establish a marque identity in the sense of developing a homogeneous 'face', rather than there just being a Ferrari badge on any number of different body styles by different design houses.
For the new standard model to come, Pinin Farina had laid down the foundation for this with their designs all of which were very similar, unlike those from Vignale for example, where each individual body had its own nuances. The 250 Europa and 375 America models from Pinin Farina were visually very similar, although showing variations synonymous of bespoke tailoring, featuring for instance either a two or four side-window cabin section.
Producing between 220 and 260 bhp with a top speed of around 240km/h and race bred handling, this made the new 250 Europa among the quickest road cars of its day. As one would expect the 250 Europa was developed directly from Ferrari's competition models. At this time Ferrari was still far more concerned with the manufacture of competition cars for itself and selected customers than with building road cars, but nevertheless took these were the first steps towards this new 250 series. A stark limited production of 20 cars called the 250 Europa - including 0295EU, 0297EU and 0299EU and ending with 0351EU were produced, this series also including two cabriolets, one by Pinin Farina, one by Vignale.
With the exception of the three cars mentioned above, all the twenty 250 Europa Ferraris were built on a 2,800mm wheelbase chassis, the longest of any production Ferrari up to that time.
Constructed from oval section main tubes with substantial cross bracing on the chassis, the front suspension was independent featuring a transverse leaf spring and 'A'arms. At the rear the rigid axle ran above the main chassis tubes located by tie rods and suspended on leaf springs, with Houdaille lever shock absorbers all round. The engines were based on the 'long block' Lampredi design, the only significant differences between the two models being a difference of bore size, 68mm for the 250 and 84mm for the 375 model, together with larger carburetors on the latter.
In charting the history of this new 250 series with the valuable assistance and research carried out recently by renowned Ferrari historians Antoine Prunet and Marcel Massini, it is interesting to understand the few cars surrounding the production number 0297EU. The first two Ferrari cars produced in the new series were 0293AL and 0295EU, both Paris Salon cars of October 1953. The 375 America, 0293AL, carried an emerging new design for Pinin Farina, a two side window coupe produced on a long chassis of 2,800mm destined to be delivered to The Superior Oil Company of Los Angeles. The flamboyant styling of the Vignale, 0295EU, was the official first 250 Europa it was delivered to Robert Teakle of Detroit, Michigan. The next 250 Europa delivered was the car offered here chassis 0297EU and was destined for American Motorsport Promoter Tom Marchese. Subsequently chassis 0299EU went to film director Roberto Rossellini in Roma. We see these first cars in the series were all assigned to Enzo Ferrari's high profile clients most having influence in the American target market.
The Ferrari 250 Europa we offer today can only be referred to as one of two factory prototypes. Going to press now it has come as a virtual new discovery in the Ferrari world that 0297EU was for decades misidentified as the last in the 212 series when the documentation and historical back tracking affirms that 0297EU is a very special short chassis prototype and the second 250 Europa produced with a 3,000cc Colombo engine.
In the 1960's, Amerigo Manicardi, director of International Sales at Ferrari, had a hand written ledger compiled of all the Ferrari serial numbers starting with the first cars and their first owners. This list is heavily guarded in the Ferrari world, and rarely mentioned outside of the inner sanctums of Ferrari as it contained the names of Ferrari's elite client base. In this rare ledger 0297EU is shown clearly as one of two production Ferraris with unique characteristics qualifying it as a prototype of the 250 Europa series and noting the 'proprietario' as Tom Marchese -Thiensville USA.
Tom 'Gaetano' Marchese was racing driver and motorsport events promoter. He sold and promoted sales of several important American car brands, including Auburn, Pontiac, Gardner, and Chrysler in the 1930's. He developed race tracks and race events including an association with the Indianapolis 500 event. In 1950 and 1951 he was voted Automotive Promoter of the Year after a poll of his peers by Speed Age Magazine. In 1952 the AAA awarded him similar leading honors. Ferrari destined the 250 Europa model for the American market and Marchese was the ideal high profile client for Enzo's new model.
Placing his order directly with Enzo Ferrari himself Tom Marchese's dream to own a Ferrari automobile would soon come true. Tom, along with his brother Carl, Peter Crivello and friend Carl Wilke would sail on the Queen Mary and travel across Europe to Maranello, Italy. In a meeting with Enzo Ferrari himself Marchese took delivery of 0297EU on November 26, 1953 along with another Ferrari for Wilkie. Driving to the new luxury liner S.S Andrea Doria and returning to New York both Ferraris were trucked back to Wisconsin. 'My Ferrari handles like a dream, and it can do over 150 mph' Tom said in his interview with the Milwaukee Newspaper in an article on his purchase published on December 29, 1953.
The vendor advises us that she is currently waiting for recently discovered colour photographs of Marchese and '0297EU' during this Italian trip of 1953, which will form part of the historical file and also feature in a soon-to-be-published book on this particular 250 Europa prototype.
The largest and most important differences between the two 250 Europa prototypes (0295EU and 0297EU) and the remaining 18 units of the series of the 250 Europa production lay under the bonnet. As noted in the Ferrari Archive records the engine of 0297EU is a 3,000cc V12 unit of Colombo design, referred to as a short-block with a bore and stroke of 75 mm x 58.8 mm, fitted with a bank of three twin-choke Weber 42 DCZ carburetors, with twin coil and front horizontal mounted distributor ignition, it produced a claimed 250 bhp and is coupled to a factory installed five speed gearbox along with a large-capacity fuel tank for endurance events all notable unique and original features of 0297EU.
By using the Colombo short block V12 engine design it enabled the use of a desirable 2,600mm chassis making 0297EU one of only two short chassis 250 Europa series one cars produced. All other Europas in the early 250 Europa series had Aurelio Lampredi-designed long block engines that were kept below 3,000cc and a longer chassis of 2,800mm. Perhaps an explanation of the long and short block descriptions would not go amiss at this juncture. The Lampredi long block design featured cylinder liners that screwed into the cylinder heads, which needed greater bore spacing than the Colombo short block design, which had more conventional push fit cylinder liners and a standard head gasket arrangement, which is more compact fitting well into this short chassis Ferrari offered here.
Although the 250 Europa series were only produced in relatively small numbers for a short period of time, they were an important transition stage between the preceding very successful 212 Inter series and the 250 Europa GT series of late 1954 - the latter being the precursor of the 250 GT series that would be the mainstay of Ferrari production for the next decade. This model is an important landmark in the Ferrari production car story and a unique benchmark for any Ferrari collection.
The car offered here carries coachwork by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina, Ferrari's preferred coachbuilder. The 102 inch chassis was delivered to Pinin Farina on September 21, 1953 and job order 12503 was started with unique one-off Pinin Farina coachwork. It is a particularly striking design with unique features not duplicated on other Pinin Farina coupés, as one ex-works Ferrari driver refers to 0297EU as 'Humphrey Bogart handsome in a world too full of Liberace'.
The front grille is remarkably similar to that of the 250MM and the roofline is particularly low with no pagoda ridge on the front section of the top where it meets the windscreen making it more aerodynamically efficient low profile coupe. On close examination of the dash during restoration it was discovered that, the car was originally dark blue with a creme roof and a two-tone dash in the same color a new owner could of course easily return the car to its attractive and original colour scheme - period photo taken in 1961 affirms this. The interior was tan leather as it is today, and no significant piece of the interior has been replaced or has been restored since 1953.
In 1955 Marchesi sold 0297EU to Ed Weschler of Nashotah, WI. Weschler had many special Ferraris; he was connected to the Anheuser Busch brewing empire and was a true Ferrarista. In the early 1960s Ferrari 0297EU appeared in Road & Track for sale in May 1960 as a 2.9 litre Farina coupe. It sold to Mr. Seidler and having covered few miles, developed engine problems and the engine was removed and replaced with that taken from '1141GT'.
In 1969, 250 Europa 0297EU was purchased by a Dr. Whitlock, a neurosurgeon from Springfield, Missouri, who retained the original engine during his ownership. In 1982 Dr. Whitlock met Jess Pourret, then President of the Ferrari Club of France at Spa Francorchamps, where Jess disclosed that 0297EU was indeed one of the first 250 Europa cars, had a special 3,000cc engine and was the first Farina 250 Europa built.
In 1985 the original engine 0297EU was rebuilt by John Hajduk in Bensenville, Illinois to be used as a spare for Whitlock's 212 Barchetta Touring chassis #0100E. In 1985 0297EU was donated to the Brook Stevens Automobile Museum in Milwaukee where it was displayed for 10 years without the engine installed bearing an identification sign that said '1953 Ferrari 250 Europa donated by C. Courtney Whitlock', at this time the odometer read 46,000kms. In 1995 the Europa 250 was purchased from Investment Cars Inc. of Norfolk, Virginia. It should be noted that on the Virginia title there is no mention of model type, only the year of production. Then purchased by Luigi Mancini of Pisa, Italy and exported from the USA to Pisa, Italy together with the original engine '0297EU' it is at this time that the misidentification of 0297EU seems to commence. Mancini was restoring a 212, and registered 0297EU as a 212 for some unknown reason. Mancini removed the bumpers and the oval grill chrome and sold them off thinking the car looked more aggressive without the chrome these have meanwhile been recovered and will be sold with the car.
Gilberto Focardi purchased the car in 2005 and his target was to race the Mille Milgia in the next years. Focardi knew the engine was special, but was not really interested in tracing the archives of Ferrari for the car's early history. It was then that the official supplier to Ferrari Classiche - Modena Motori of Modena provided the parts required to rebuild the engine with Scuderia Bigazzi performing the mechanical restoration which confirmed it as being a low mileage Ferrari that was in preserved condition. While further assistance and advice was provided by Faralli & Mazzanti (F&M) a leading specialist in the restoration of Pinin Farina bodied cars and other rare Italian classics from the likes of Cisitalia and Maserati, Autocarrozzeria Leoncini in Siena performed a bare metal respray back in 2008.
The Ferrari retains its original leather interior and comes with a substantial file of letters written over the past 40 years. Included also are photos and receipts for a sympathetic restoration, which was completed in 2010. This unique and highly original 250 Europa has always been in careful ownership, has had no modifications or accidents and was restored under the guidance of Ferrari specialists. All the glass on 0297EU is original and still bears the Securit etching, most of the chrome is original and in good condition, the instruments are all original and work perfectly , the original heater is installed and working, the doors close perfectly with good original panel gaps and the Ferrari is reported as having been garaged it's entire life.
Mechanically well sorted with a clean, corrosion free and correctly presented chassis, 0297EU went on to participate in the Mille Miglia in 2010 and has completed a 750 kilometer tour this past summer (2013). We are advised that 0297EU has covered only 54,890 kilometers from new at this time. In July 2013 the current owner located all the original Pinin Farina trim, the bumpers front and rear and the original grill surround, in fact, every piece removed in Pisa in 1996. The vendor describes each piece as being Pinin Farina numbered 12503, and all these pieces which are in very good original condition are included with 0297EU making her complete. The chassis number, engine number and engine production number (182) are all visible and are believed 100% original stampings which would make this a fully matching numbers car.
It should be noted that the preceding Italian owner enjoys close links with the Ferrari factory, and although it was felt that there was no need for a certificate from Ferrari Classiche, one could be provided as stated in the enclosed letter, to document the provenance of this very unique pre-production 250 Europa with so many one-off features officially certifying 0297EU as a portfolio quality Vintage Ferrari of unique historical importance.
Accompanying documentation consists of copies of Virginia US Certificate of title deeds, current original Italian registration papers affirming EEC tax compliance, and FIVA ID Card stating that '0297EU' is an original car retaining its original engine, newspaper articles from 1953, The Brook Stevens display sheet for the 250 Europa and an owner's manual. It must be noted that some of the contemporary registration documents reflect the model 212 Inter and this error in model type identifications can be easily corrected with the copies of the Ferrari archive material (provided to the buyer) showing it as the second 250 Europa produced. This particular Ferrari is an important part of Ferrari history, unique in its own right and very recently newly discovered as a missing link in the Ferrari production car story.
With its attractive Pinin Farina styling and well-documented history, '0297EU' represents an exciting and unique opportunity to acquire a one-off design, 250 bhp V-12, short chassis Tipo 250 Europa Ferrari representing a significant stage in the marque's evolution. As such, this highly original car will be of great interest to historians and will command great interest at all shows and events. It is, of course, eligible for all the most prestigious historic motor sports events including the Tour Auto, Mille Miglia, Tour de France, Le Mans Classic, Carrera Panamericana, etc. not forgetting top concours d'élégance venues. We recommend close inspection of this re-discovered prototype Ferrari by any potentially interested parties.