London

7 September 2015

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Lot 172

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 'Tour de France' by Scaglietti

  • Chassis no. 0897 GT
  • Engine no. 0897 GT

Sold for £4,760,000

Documents: German Fahrzeugbrief


263 bhp, 2,953 cc SOHC V-12 engine with three Weber 40 DCL3 carburettors, four-speed all-synchromesh manual transmission, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs and parallel trailing arms, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,600 mm

  • Recently uncovered period competition history
  • A very early single-louvre example with covered headlights
  • Important provenance, including ownership by Prince Zourab Tchkotoua, Steve Earle, and Richard Merritt
  • Original engine recently rebuilt by GTO Engineering
  • The ultimate dual-purpose alloy competition Ferrari
  • Highly eligible for many of the world's premier historic motoring events, including the Tour Auto, Goodwood Revival, and Le Mans Classic


FERRARI’S TOUR DE FRANCE

The Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta is one of the most influential and impressive automobiles produced in the company’s illustrious history, as it helped to establish the marque’s dominance in racing in the GT class. With the 3.0-litre Colombo V-12 engine fitted to Ferrari’s 2,600-millimetre wheelbase chassis, numerous highly desirable Ferraris that followed in its footsteps, including the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta and the 250 GTO, can directly trace their roots to the 250 GT LWB Berlinetta. With incredible alloy coachwork that was designed by Pinin Farina and hand-built by Scaglietti, this was a car that was just as beautiful to look at as it was exciting to drive.

The 250 GT LWB Berlinetta proved its worth at the Tour de France in 1956, where an early example of the model (chassis 0557 GT) raced to victory with Alfonso de Portago behind the wheel. It is worth mentioning that this was not just a few laps on a closed course, but a multi-day event consisting of 3,600 miles of all-out racing, including six circuit races, two hill climbs, and a drag race. The fact that the 250 GT LWB Berlinetta came out on top of such a gruelling event spoke not only to the performance of the car but also to the level of craftsmanship behind it.

Nineteen fifty-six would not be the only year where a 250 GT LWB Berlinetta would take 1st overall at the Tour de France. Olivier Gendenbien went on to place 1st overall for the next three consecutive years, cementing the car’s reputation in not only motorsport but also automotive history and earning the nickname of “TdF” to commemorate its success over four years of racing throughout the French countryside. It is the most successful competition 250 GT Ferrari model, as it has garnered more victories than any other model, including the revered 250 GTO.

CHASSIS NUMBER 0897 GT

Ferrari’s production of the LWB Berlinetta is divisible into five distinct versions. This particular TdF, chassis number 0897 GT, is a classic 1958 version that has been fitted with a single louver between the rear and side windows and covered headlamps. Thirty-six such examples were produced, with this car being the fifth example built, and all were bodied in aluminium by Scaglietti and ready for competition.

This example was completed in late March 1958 and sold new to F.A.S.T. SpA, of Milan, Italy. Copies of the build sheets and the engine dynamometer tests show that this car produced an incredible 263.2 horsepower at 7,200 rpm and a similarly impressive torque output. Most 250 GT LWB Berlinettas only produced around 240 horsepower at the time!

Furthermore, additional research undertaken by RM Sotheby’s has uncovered that chassis number 0897 GT raced in the Gran Premio della Lotteria di Monza on 28 June 1959, under the banner of Scuderia Ambrosiana. Wearing #20, the car was driven by Carlo Leto di Priolo, yet it failed to finish. However, it did achieve the ninth fastest time in practice at that event. The car was then sold to Prince Zourab Tchkotoua in September 1959 and re-registered as MO 53102. Under his ownership, chassis 0897 GT was raced at the 1959 Cotê de la Faucille, held on 6 September, where he finished 2nd in class and 13th overall. The prince was a devoted Ferrari client and even finished 2nd in class at the Tour de France in 1959, whilst racing chassis 0503 GT.

Thereafter, the car was exported from Italy to the United States and was noted as being owned by Steven J. Earle, of Santa Barbara, California, the founder of the Monterey Historic Races. Earle sold the car in the late 1960s to another noted Ferrari enthusiast of the time, Richard W. Merritt of Bethesda, Maryland. It is believed that during Merritt’s ownership, the car’s original engine was removed, and the car was later sold to Don Peak and then Bill Zierling, of Malibu, California, in 1971. The TdF was then restored by Allen Bishop, of Pacific Palisades, who fitted an engine from a 250 GT PF Coupé, number 1555 GT.

Whilst passing through the care of well-known enthusiast Don Orosco, of Carmel, California, it was again restored, this time by Nino Epifani Restorations in Berkley, in 1989, and it was then sold to Engelbert E. Stieger, of St. Gallen, Switzerland. At this time, Stieger sourced and purchased the car’s original engine. The TdF also received a partial restoration by Garage Leirer in Switzerland.

In 1995, 0897 GT was sold to Matthias Fitch, of Munich, Germany. Over the course of the next 17 years, the car was regularly driven and enjoyed on rallies and historic racing events across Europe. These included the Mille Miglia on five separate occasions, the Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge, and the Le Mans Classic in both 2010 and 2012. During this time, the car was driven with engine number 1555 GT, although Fitch still retained the original engine.

Recently, the original engine was reinstalled following a full rebuild by the Ferrari specialists at GTO Engineering. With only test mileage since the engine rebuild, the car is reported to be in excellent driving condition, and it would make a wonderful candidate for further historic racing events and vintage rallies. Accompanying the sale are copies of the car’s build sheet, documenting its high-horsepower specification, as well as its Italian Estratto Chronologico and period photographs that confirm its early ownership and racing history. Moreover, it is accompanied by its valid FIA HTP and A/3 Class FIVA Passport.

The 250 GT TdF, renowned for its incredible driving dynamics and road manners, is eager to please both on the road and track. Today, this car remains as desirable as when it was new, and it is highly valued as a competitive and successful GT car from one of Ferrari’s most successful eras of racing. As it is an ideal entrant for historic events around the globe, the acquisition of chassis number 0897 GT would not only afford its next caretaker access to some of the world’s most prestigious and selective driving events, but it would also serve as a highlight of any significant collection. As a true aluminium-bodied competition Ferrari, the TdF is one of the most successful and iconic dual-purpose Berlinettas ever to wear the Prancing Horse.

Addendum

‘Please note that after the auction the car will be returned to GTO Engineering where it will receive final set up and shakedown further to the engine rebuild. The car will be transported to GTO Engineering, the works completed and then delivered to the RM Sotheby’s storage facility at the sellers cost. It is expected these works will take roughly two weeks to complete.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
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

Annette Abaci

aabaci@rmsothebys.com

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

BRuprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

dwarrener@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... 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. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... 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 joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

jboxstrom@rmsothebys.com

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 917 213 5672
Ontario, Canada

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

Jonathan Sierakowski

JSierakowski@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 260 927 9797
Indiana, United States

Kurt Forry joins Auctions America with more than a decade of experience on the North American auction scene and a well-rounded knowled... 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 Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

PFisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

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

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... 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
Netherlands

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more