The Ex-Frederico Gatta, Robert Solomon
1962 FERRARI 250 GT SHORT-WHEELBASE SPECIALE AERODINAMICA
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Pininfarina
Chassis no. 3615
*One of only four Aerodinamicas on 250 GT SWB chassis
*Peerlessly luxurious lightweight 3-litre V12 two-seater
*One of the most exclusive Ferraris by Pininfarina
THE FERRARI 250 GT SWB SPECIALE AERODINAMICA
During the turn of the 1950s to the 1960s, the Ferrari 250 GT family of Gran Turismo designs with their front-mounted 3-litre V12 engines provided the Maranello company with a firm foundation to expand their manufacturing volume. Limited production of the parallel Superamerica series of 4-litre V12-engined prestige models was continuing to satisfy what has been described as "the fastidiousness of a few perfectionists who demanded even more performance, comfort and refinement, and who wanted even more of an image of prestige and exclusivity than could be provided by the 'standard' Ferrari".
In November 1960, at the Turin Salone dell'Automobile exhibition, Ferrari and Pininfarina had absolutely stunned the automotive world by releasing their breathtaking Superfast II model, launching an entirely new body shape for a fastidiously-detailed performance car, in effect an aerodynamically sleek Gran Turismo limousine...
Ferrari authority Antoine Prunet has described the Superfast II as follows: "This experimental creation by the great Torinese coachbuilder was actually quite remarkable for the completely new style which it proposed. Born in a wind tunnel, this harmonious design resembled the profile of an airplane wing. The leading edge was, in fact, the nose of the car, in the middle of which was the air intake for the radiator, an ellipse of very reduced dimensions resembling that of several sports Ferraris. The trailing edge was represented by the rear deck, streamlined to a point, upon which converged the curves of the roof.
The graceful curve of the hood, devoid of all harshness, was particularly remarkable, as was the shape of the windshield, whose posts, very noticeably curved inward, reinforced the effect.... This marvelous two-place Coupe can certainly be considered as one of the most significant examples of the art of coach building...".
At the Geneva Salon of 1962 a Superfast III revision of the innovative, aerodynamic, high-performance limousine was unveiled, offering a more open 'greenhouse' cabin window treatment. A Superfast IV followed, but the design of Pininfarina's peerless 'Coupe Aerodinamica' would also be applied to only four, we believe, 250 GT Berlinettas with shorter 2.40-metre wheelbase the Passo Corto or 250 GT SWB chassis length - of which this fine example is one. And it is from the Coupe Aerodinamica theme that the so-called GTO Prototype car was produced to compete at Le Mans in 1961, leading ultimately to the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO itself.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
To quote directly from the Collezione Maranello Rosso booklet on this startlingly beautiful aerodyne: "Enzo Ferrari used to welcome top politicians, sports heroes and entertainers to his kingdom at Maranello, when these Ferrari enthusiasts came to pick up their (new car) directly from the hand of its creator. Just three of these sports cars were ever built. Chassis no. '3615' was assembled like a bespoke suit this was the one and only time that this colour appeared on a Ferrari for one of the world's greatest car collectors, the Shah of Persia. This is a truly unique vehicle, an amalgam of a 250 SWB chassis and engine in a body specially designed by Pininfarina and inspired by the Superamerica model...".
Well, ignore the delusory Shah of Persia attribution and puff, but - bodied in similar form to the 4-litre V12-engined Superamerica - this gorgeous example of Italianate automotive high fashion was supplied new in 1962 to businessman F. Gatta, finished to Pininfarina and Ferrari's highest standards and liveried in dark blue with tan interior upholstery and trim. Its Pininfarina body number was '99541', it has left-hand drive and its 'Special 400SA-type bodywork' with open headlights.
Factory records indicate that the chassis was consigned to Carrozzeria Pininfarina's Turin plant on April 7, 1962, and it was signed off as complete on June 18,1962. In July that year it was repainted into 'Grigio Marrone Italver 20563 Acryl' livery. Its Maranello factory completion date is July 23, 1962, and its formal Certificato d'Origine was issued three days later, on July 26.
It was sold new by SEFAC SpA on that same day to first owner Ferdinando Gatta, "born in Torino on 1st March 1919, resident at Strada Michele 8 in Moncalieri (Torino), Italy, price paid Italian Lire 6,950,000" as the illustrious Swiss Ferrari specialist and historian Marcel Massini's records describe.
On August 29, 1962, the car was first registered on Turin license plates as 'TO 470900'. There is a Ferrari factory Assistenza Clienti record of it being serviced and maintained by them on October 1, 1965, factory order number '491', delivery note '486' and odometer reading then recorded as '49,337kms'.
On April 18, 1966, the car was sold by first-owner Gatta to Evasio Arcangelo Ricaldone, "born in Pomaro Monferrato (Province of Alessandria) on the 3rd of August 1982, resident at Vicolo Mazzi 1 in Pomaro Monferrato". On April 22 the car was re-registered on Alessandria license plates as 'AL 136903'.
Signor Ricaldone sold '3615 GT' offered here to its third owner on April 5, 1967. The car's lucky recipient was Antonina Pravata, "born in Mirabella Rocca Palumbo on the 30th January 1925, resident at Via Varese in Torino, Italy, price paid was Italian Lire 1,000,000".
Eventually as the car became such a collectible icon of Ferrari history, it was exported from Italy into the USA by Luigi Chinetti Motors. Its new owner into the 1970s was Ferrari aficionado Robert Solomon, resident in Los Angeles, California.
He sold it in 1977 to Donald L. Rose, also of California, and on February 6 that year it was advertised for sale in the 'Los Angeles Times' newspaper, the vendor being presented as Ferrari of San Diego. By that Fall the car had been acquired by Marvin L. Johnson of Dallas, Texas. The car's ownership was listed within the Ferrari Owners' Club USA records as being Mr Johnson from 1979-1983, although he had advertised it for sale in 1981. In September 1983 it was advertised for sale in the Ferrari Market Letter, Volume 8 number 18, Mr Johnson describing it as having been mechanically rebuilt bumper-to-bumper, and featuring factory air conditioning, AM/FM cassette radio player, center console (still on the car today as a useful and well-matched after-market addition), power windows, two-tone gray leather seats with matching carpets, and white exterior. His asking price was US $59,500.
Advertising continued to appear in subsequent Ferrari Market Letter editions until it was eventually sold to Stephen Barney's Foreign Cars Italia company in Greensboro, North Carolina. The following year saw it re-sold to Ed Waterman's Motorcar Gallery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida but before it could even be collected by them it was re-sold to Tom Davis of Fort Lauderdale. In 1985 it was then acquired by Canadian collector and connoisseur David Cohen of Vancouver, British Columbia.
At some stage the car lost its original engine, serial '3615 GT', which in July 1988 was owned individually by John Ridings Lee in Dallas, Texas. On November 22, 1991, Bob LeFlufy of Autoclassic Restorations in North Vancouver, BC, Canada, advertised this gorgeously restored Aerodinamica in the 'Toronto Globe & Mail' newspaper described as (again according to Marcel Massini's incredibly detailed marque records) "special body in immaculate condition, owned by one of their principals since 1986...".
By February 1992 the original engine was with Richard Freshman of Chatsworth, California, and in April 1992 '3615 GT' itself was offered for sale again, this time by Garry Roberts of Costa Mesa, California. His asking price was US $750,000. By December 1992 in the Ferrari Market Letter, Volume 17 number 25, it was offered again "dark blue paint with parchment interior, asking price US $500,000...".
In 1993 it was then registered 'VYJ 850' in England and it was sold by the Bonhams team then Brooks Auctioneers in the October 26, 1993 Earls' Court, London, Sale. During that period of deep recession within the classic car market, '3615 GT' passed to Talacrest Ltd of Egham, England, who advertised it for sale yet again in the Ferrari Market Letter, Volume 19 number 4, described as bing "dark blue with tan hides and carpets, the fourth and last 250 GT SWB with 400 Super America-style coachwork, asking price US $400,000". It was then that the car was acquired by Fabrizio Violati for his Collezione Maranello Rosso in San Marino.
When Fabrizio Violati passed away in January 2010, he had owned '3615 GT' for the preceding 16 years, and it has since continued to be maintained and preserved upon display as one of the jewels of his surviving Collezione Maranello Rosso. Today the car is offered with its long-installed replacement engine, but as a long-term Museum exhibit it certainly merits careful expert inspection and proper re-commissioning both mechanically and cosmetically to proper health.
The car presents extremely well in its shape, furnishing, and colour choice it is simply beautiful. Settle into its pale-tan or cream leather upholstered driver's seat and the commanding view forward with 0-8,000rpm tachometer dial on the left of the dash panel and 0-300km/h speedometer upon the right is just majestic. Aquamarine-blue topped pull switches dominate the cream leather centre console, contrasting gorgeously against the hide colour, and in every hand-stitched detail '3615 GT's furnishing, with its expansive rear deck beneath the 'fastback' rear screen, is just an opulent delight, as is the pile-textured parallel-quilted headlining.
Back in June 1963, 'Road & Track' magazine road tested a related 400 Superamerica and recorded maximum speeds of 58.5mph in first gear, 83.7mph in second, 115.3mph in third and 179.6mph in fourth with overdrive engaged. The test car weighed a hefty 3,710lbs, and the 250 GT SWB variant presented here is expected to be considerably lighter, with the more nimble 3.0 litre motor and its performance would probably lie in a comparable bracket. So not only does the car combine its gloriously sleek Aerodinamica looks with luxurious accommodation and style, but also with for an effectively two-seat limousine - quite prodigious street performance.
What's more, '3615 GT' offered here possesses the extra cachet of being based upon a 250 GT SWB chassis frame, and its familial relationship to the competition-bred GT SWB 3-litre V12 cars is an important plus.
As it stands and with the possibility of it being reunited with its long-since exchanged original engine this very rare, immensely attractive and most desirable Ferrari Aerodinamica by Pininfarina would certainly be the envy of every other country club member should the new owner purr up to the clubhouse in such eye-poppingly luxurious Italianate splendor...
Here is Pininfarina style and flair at its finest.
- Bonhams is pleased to announce that the original engine for 3615 (numero interno 314/62E) has been located and will be included with the sale of the car. For further information, please contact the department.