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.

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 9... 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 life-long automobile enthusiast and ... 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

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... 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

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... 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. He att... 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, where he was based out ... 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