Ferrari – Leggenda e Passione

9 September 2017

1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider by Scaglietti


  • A genuine, numbers-matching example of extraordinary quality
  • Single ownership for nearly two decades; seldom shown
  • Featured in Cavallino #53 and in Stanley Nowak’s Ferrari Spyder California
  • Well documented, with original tool kit


The chassis for 1503 GT, the 35th of 50 LWB California Spiders, was supplied to Scaglietti on 7 July 1959, and the car’s assembly completed in early October. It was delivered the following month to official importer Carlos Kauffmann of Caracas, Venezuela, in an era when that country’s oil fortune was making its upper crust extraordinarily wealthy, and supplying Mr Kauffmann with numerous customers for bespoke coachbuilt Ferraris.

In Dr Otto Rodriguez Vincentini, a young socialite active in the high society party scene of the late 1950s, Kauffmann found an ideal buyer for the California Spider. With factory covered headlamps, no side marker lights and its Nardi steering wheel, glistening in Bianco over Nero, it fairly dripped aggressive power. One can imagine the figure that it cut, cruising through the streets of Caracas as its owner visited all of the most happening nightspots. However, it was on one of those evenings, and one of those darkened streets, that young men fled, leaving behind the idling California Spider, with the late owner – a victim of robbery – behind the wheel.

The car returned to Carlos Kauffmann, was repaired and reconditioned, and in 1963 was sold from Venezuela to Arthur Dennis Stevens of Evanston, Illinois. At the time it was imported into the U.S., the car had reportedly only covered 7,500 km. Stevens opted to drive the California Spider periodically between Evanston and Chicago for a few years before it was stored for two decades in suburban Chicago. Then, in 1985, it was sold to well-known Ferrari collector Richard Freshman of Malibu, California, then showing around 31,000 km. Two further short-term owners followed before the car was acquired by L. Jack Ruscilli of Columbus, Ohio, in 1987.

Mr Ruscilli commissioned a full restoration of the California Spider by the late Wayne Obry of Motion Products in Neenah, Wisconsin. As part of this work, the car was carefully brought back to its original delivery configuration, with the exception only to a change of colours, to Rosso over tan leather. The restored car toured the United States for several years, winning virtually every possible award, including Best in Class at both the Meadow Brook and Pebble Beach Concours in 1988, and Best of Show at the FCA National Concours in 1989. It was pictured in Stanley Nowak’s Ferrari Spyder California in 1990, and in issue number 53 of Cavallino, as part of a prominent feature story, ‘California on Tour’. In total this car collected more than 35 concours awards between 1988 and 1992, attesting to the incredible quality of the original Motion Products restoration, which helped raise the bar for all Ferrari restorations since that time.

The current owner acquired the car in 1998, and since then it has been properly stored in his private collection and very seldom shown; indeed, its only appearance was at the XII Palm Beach Cavallino Classic in January 2003, where it won a Platinum award. Today it is offered for a new round of show appearances and potential rally enjoyment, accompanied by a complete tool kit, a binder of restoration photography and a radio. Its odometer shows 32,586 kilometres, only about 700 more than when Mr Ruscilli acquired the car in 1987!

This respected, beautiful and superb California Spider, with a fascinating known history, represents one of the most desirable examples of the ultimate open Ferrari of its era.





• Un esemplare perfettamente conservato con tutti i numeri di serie giusti
• Proprietà unica per quasi vent'anni; esposta di rado
• Pubblicata sul numero 53 del Cavallino e nel libro Ferrari Spyder California di Stanley Nowak
• Ben documentata, con attrezzi originali

l'assemblaggio dell'auto viene completato all'inizio di ottobre; il mese successivo la spider è già nelle mani dell'importatore ufficiale per il Venezuela, Carlos Kauffmann di Caracas. Era un'epoca, quella, in cui il petrolio venezuelano stava arricchendo l'intera classe dirigente. Una manna dal cielo per Kauffmann che ha visto esplodere le richieste di Ferrari personalizzate da parte dei suoi clienti.

Kauffmann trovò l'acquirente ideale per questa California nel dottor Otto Rodriguez Vincentini, un giovane viveur della buona società della fine degli anni '50. Uscita di fabbrica con i fanali coperti, nessuna luce laterale, il volante Nardi e l'abbinamento cromatico del Bianco della carrozzeria col Nero degli interni, era sicuramente un bel esempio di cattiveria tutta grinta e sportività. Non ci vuole molta immaginazione per figurarsi quante teste faceva girare il giovane bellimbusto mentre faceva la spola tra una festa e l'altra nelle notti di Caracas. Ed è proprio in una di quelle sere che alcuni ragazzi scapparono via da un vicolo buio. In fondo si scorgeva una decappottabile bianca, ancora in moto. Vittima di una rapina, quell'uomo riverso sul volante è il dottor Otto Rodriguez Vincentini.

L'auto, tornata a Carlos Kauffmann, viene prontamente ripulita e sistemata e nel 1963 è pronta per partire alla volta del suo nuovo proprietario, Arthur Dennis Stevens di Evanston, Illinois. Al momento dell'entrata negli Stati Uniti, l'auto aveva 7.500 km totali. Per qualche anno Stevens guida periodicamente la California tra Evanston e Chicago. Ma a un certo punto decide di lasciarla nella sua residenza fuori Chicago, dove rimane per vent'anni. È nel 1985 che la spider viene venduta al famoso collezionista di auto di Maranello, Richard Freshman di Malibu, California. Al momento del passaggio di proprietà il contachilometri ne segna circa 31.000. Seguono due ulteriori proprietari, ma per poco tempo, poi la Ferari viene acquistata da L. Jack Ruscilli di Columbus, Ohio. Siamo nel 1987.

Ruscilli commissiona un restauro completo a Wayne Obry, Motion Products a Neenah, Wisconsin. In quest'occasione la spider viene accuratamente riportata allo stato in cui si presentava alla consegna, con l'unica eccezione dei colori, che ora sono Rosso per la carrozzeria e marrone chiaro per gli interni in pelle. Una volta restaurata, la California ha girato negli Stati Uniti per diversi anni, vincendo praticamente tutto: dal Best in Class a Meadow Brook e Pebble Beach (1988), al Best of Show dell'FCA National Concours l'anno successivo. È descritta nell'opera di Stanley Nowak, Ferrari Spyder California (1990) e sul numero 53 della rivista Cavallino, in cui è la protagonista della storia “California on Tour”. In totale questa vettura ha raccolto più di 35 premi nei concorsi a cui ha partecipato tra il 1988 e il 1992, confermando l'incredibile qualità del restauro Motion Products, che l'ha trasformata in un punto di riferimento per i restauratori Ferrari dell'epoca.

L'attuale proprietario, che ha acquistato l'auto nel 1998, l'ha adeguatamente conservata nella sua collezione privata, mostrandola molto di rado. Anzi, la sola uscita ufficiale è stata al XII Palm Beach Cavallino Classic nel gennaio 2003, dove si è aggiudicata il premio Platinum. Oggi è pronta per una nuova serie di concorsi e rievocazioni storiche. È fornita del set completo degli attrezzi originali, di un portfolio di fotografie del restauro e di una radio. La strumentazione segna 32.586 chilometri totali, solo 700 in più di quando Ruscilli l'ha comprata nel 1987!

Questo bell'esemplare di California Spider, blasonato e titolatissimo, ha una storia affascinante e rappresenta uno degli esempi più desiderabili dell'ultima Ferrari aperta della sua epoca.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more