Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France @ Bonhams 10th Anniversary The Zoute Sale

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France @ Bonhams 10th Anniversary The Zoute Sale

Coachwork by Pininfarina/Scaglietti Chassis no. 1401GT Engine no. 1401GT

Estimate: €5,000,000 - €7,000,000

Ferrari Classiche certified, matching numbers, concours condition

• The last long-wheelbase Tour de France built by Scaglietti
• In-period competition history
• Owned and campaigned for 37 years by the late Plinio Haas
• Fully restored by recognised specialists
• Ferrari Classiche certified in October 2018
• Massini report with ownership history
• Eligible for Le Mans Classic, Ferrari Challenge, Mille Miglia, Tour Auto

"The organisers of the Tour de France always allowed outright winners and class winners of the French car-racing marathon to add the name of the race to that of the car. Nothing could be more appropriate for the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competition - its official name - which won nine consecutive victories with the original model and then the short wheelbase version." – Giorgio Schön, Ferrari 250 Grand Touring Cars, Ed. Nicola Cutrera.

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 1954 - amounted to fewer than twenty. 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 early evolution of the 250 series coincided with an important stage in the development of the 3-litre Ferrari V12. A re-jigged (68x68mm bore/stroke) version of the 340 America's Lampredi-designed 'long block' engine had been chosen for the 250 Europa, but with the introduction of the 250 Europa GT in 1954 a change was made to Colombo's lighter and more compact short-stroke (73x58.8mm) unit. Power output of the single-overhead-camshaft all-aluminium engine was 220bhp at 7,000rpm.

At 2,600mm the 250 Europa GT chassis was 200mm shorter in the wheelbase than that of the Europa and 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, Porsche-type, all-synchromesh gearbox transmitted power to the semi-elliptically sprung live rear axle, while hydraulic drums all round looked after braking.

The 250 GT Competizione 'Tour de France' evolved from the preceding 250 Europa GT and competition Mille Miglia models, using the same 2,600mm wheelbase as the former and the Colombo V12 engine developing up to 280bhp. Its suspension arrangements remained essentially as before, although a front anti-roll bar was included, for the first time in a Ferrari. Maranello had yet to be convinced of the desirability of disc brakes, so the 250 GT Competizione's performance was restrained by massive drums with a friction surface of 1,278cm2.

A handful of what can be interpreted as prototypes of the 250 GT Competizione appeared on chassis manufactured within the preceding 250 Europa GT series, Scaglietti's own chassis number '0425GT' - shown at the Geneva Salon in 1956 – being accepted as one that presaged the forthcoming 'Tour de France' series. The Modenese coachbuilder went on to body the vast majority of 250 Competizione 'Tour de France' models built between 1956 and 1959, although to a Pininfarina design. These cars are commonly differentiated by the number of vents in the rear-quarter 'sail panel' rather than their year of manufacture, while expert opinion differs with regard to the total number manufactured (mid to high 70s).

A 'single vent' model with open headlights and all alloy bodywork, Ferrari 250 GT Competizione chassis number '1401GT' is the 77th 'Tour de France' manufactured and the last long-wheelbase TdF built by Scaglietti. Its original colour scheme was red with beige interior. The factory's Certificate of Origin was issued on 23rd May 1959 and the car sold to first owner Luigi Taramazzo, a resident of Bordighera, Italy. The declared purchase price was 5,500,000 Italian Lire.

On 29th June 1959, Taramazzo raced '1401GT' at the Gran Premio della Lotteria in Monza with competitor number '6', finishing in 9th place. He also raced at the Garessio-Colle San Bernado hill climb on 19th July 1959, placing 1st, and at the Trieste-Opicina hill climb on 26th July 1959 (DNF).

Later in 1959 Taramazzo sold '1401GT' to second owner Gérard Spinedi, a resident of Geneva, Switzerland, who had the Ferrari repainted in gold metallic with two narrow red stripes. Before the year's end Spinedi had competed in two more hill climbs: at Marchairuz and Vaduz-Triesenberg, placing 2nd on both occasions. On 17th November 1959 the original Italian registration was cancelled by the ACI and on 26th February 1960 the car was registered in Switzerland as 'GE 34675'. Copies of the original Italian registration document and the first Swiss title are on file.

In 1960, Gérard Spinedi took part in many important races. The Rallye de Genève with co-driver Aghdass Spinedi on 7th April 1960, the Mitholz-Kandersteg hill climb in Switzerland, on 14th May 1960. On 24th June 1960 Spinedi competed with the Ferrari in the Coupes des Alpes with co-driver Briffault, placing 12th in the GT Class. At the Auvergne 6 Hours, on the Charade circuit, on 10th July 1960 and at the Tour de France Automobile in September. The Ferrari's last outing in 1960 was at the Mille Miglia Rallye with competitor number '1'.

On 16th August 1961 Marmoud Frères of Geneva sold '1401GT' to Edgar Berney in Yverdon, Switzerland, passing to Stefan Martin of Zurich, Switzerland not long afterwards, by which time it had been repainted black. On 14th April 1963, Martin raced the Ferrari (now registered as 'ZH 353') at the Eberback hill climb in Southern Germany. Photographs of the car in competition are numerous in its early life and all over the years.

In the early 1970s the Ferrari, now painted red, passed through the hands of dealer Rob de la Rive Box and was sold to Karl Hasler, a florist resident in Wettswil, Switzerland. In 1976 Hasler sold '1401GT' to Plinio Haas of Arbon in Switzerland, who would be its custodian for the next 37 years. An immensely keen enthusiast, Haas raced the Ferrari extensively during his ownership, competing in prestigious events such as the Oldtimer GP at the Nürburgring; Spa Ferrari Days; Ferrari Shell Historic Challenge; Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge; and Tutte le Ferrari, winning numerous races and finishing on the podium seemingly at almost every meeting. Its impressive Historic competition record is a fitting tribute both to the Ferrari's durability and the driving talents of Plinio Haas.

In 2013, Plinio Haas passed away and the Ferrari was inherited by his son, Felix, who sold it through Marc Devis to the current owner in Belgium in 2014. In 2016, he obtained the original engine from '1401GT' (long since separated from the car) and reunited it with the chassis. In October 2016 '1401GT' was in Maranello undergoing total restoration in co-operation with Gipimotor in Brussels, Belgium; Carrozzeria Autosport in Bastiglia, Italy (bodywork); and Autofficina Omega in Zanè, Italy (engine, gearbox and mechanicals). In the course of restoration the car was repainted in Oro Chiaro (Light Gold) as it was by Gérard Spinedi back in 1959 only a few months after its first delivery and the interior re-trimmed in maroon leather.

On 17th October 2018, '1401GT' was issued with its Ferrari Classiche Certificate of Authenticity – the famous 'Red Book'. Since then the car has been displayed at the 10th Annual Zoute Concours d'Élégance held at Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium in October 2019 and the 'Ferrari 75 Years' exhibition held at the Autoworld Museum, Brussels, Belgium in September 2002.

By winning those nine consecutive Tours de France, the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta demonstrated peerless qualities as a Gran Turismo, proving equally at home on city streets, the open road and the race track. A fine long-wheelbase example of this legendary dynasty, '1401GT' offers a future owner the prospect of hugely enjoyable period performance motoring and entry into the most prestigious of historic motor sports events including the Ferrari Challenge, Mille Miglia and of course, the Tour Auto.


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Text & Image: Bonhams

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