1968 Ferrari 365/250GT SWB Re-creation Chassis no. 11945
'If you were a young, well-to-do racing enthusiast in 1960-61, the finest introduction into the enthralling world of Gran Turismo racing was to invest in a brand-new Ferrari 250GT Short-Wheelbase Berlinetta. Fast, safe, near unburstable and user-friendly the alloy cars were the ultimate.' Motors.
Introduced at the 1959 Paris Salon, the 250GT SWB Berlinetta went on to dominate its class in international GT racing in the years 1960 to 1962. A true dual-purpose car, it was arguably more capable than any Ferrari before or since of coping equally well with the conflicting demands of racetrack and highway. A quick change to cooler spark plugs, racing tyres and the addition of a roll bar and the SWB could contest its class at Le Mans or Sebring.
The 'SWB' (short-wheelbase) designation arose from a chassis that, at 2,400mm in that respect, was 200mm shorter than that of the standard 250GT. Powering the 250GT SWB was Ferrari's light and compact Colombo-designed 3.0-litre V12. Breathing through three twin-choke Weber carburettors, this two-cam, all-aluminium power unit produced 280bhp at 7,000rpm in competition tune, giving the car a top speed of 150mph and a useful 0-60mph acceleration time of 8.2 seconds.
Specifications could be varied to suit individual customers' requirements for either road or track, models supplied for competition use having lightweight aluminium-alloy bodies, and it was this special aluminium-bodied version of the 250GT SWB that led directly to the immortal GTO of 1962. Before then, the 250GT SWB Competizione had already established an enviable competition record of its own. In 1960 250GT SWBs won the Tourist Trophy, the Tour de France, the 1,000 Kms of Paris at Montlhéry and finished 4th and 5th overall at the Sebring 12 Hours and 4th and 5th overall at Le Mans. The 250GT SWB achieved numerous class wins in international events that same year and in 1961 won the Tourist Trophy yet again with Stirling Moss at the wheel, taking the GT class of the World Sportscar Championship with almost contemptuous ease.
After the first batch of SWBs had been built to lightweight Competition specification, the more refined (and 110 kilos heavier) steel-bodied Lusso, or street, version entered production towards the end of 1960 and would account for slightly more than 50 percent of the approximately 165 SWB Berlinettas made up to 1963.
The vendor has always considered the aluminium-bodied 250GT SWB to be one of the most beautiful cars of all time, a view shared by many, and in order to have one in his garage decided to have his Ferrari 365GT 2+2 converted. The latter was completely dismantled, the chassis shortened and the aluminium coachwork entrusted to a sheet-metal worker who had worked for 20 years for the renowned specialist coachbuilder, the late Giovanni Giordanengo of Cuneo, a master craftsman whose workshop has been responsible for many such re-creations. Mechanically, the car remains 365GT and thus enjoys the benefits of a 4.4-litre V12 engine, a five-speed gearbox, ventilated disc brakes and air conditioning. Finished in giallo fly (yellow) with black leather interior, the car was only completed in 2012 and comes to the sale benefiting from an engine and transmission freshly rebuilt by Rossi in Turin. There are sundry restoration invoices on file.
Needless to say, and in common with all limited-edition Ferrari competition cars, genuine 250GT SWBs now invariably command a veritable 'king's ransom' on the rare occasion that one of these exotic thoroughbreds comes up for sale, a seven-figure asking price being the norm. All of which makes this stunning re-creation, built using Ferrari mechanicals exclusively, seem like quite exceptional value for money. In the vendor's own words: 'It is and always will be a Ferrari, not a replica but a ricarrozzata.'