1964 Ferrari 250 GT /L BerlinettaSOLD
See all the Images for this Car
Estimate: $600,000-$700,000 US

Sold: $550,000

Introduced to the public at the 1953 Paris Auto Salon, alongside the 375 America, the 250 GT Europa was the first roadgoing Ferrari to be identified by the now-legendary 250 series nomenclature, powered by a 3-liter version of Gioacchino Colombo’s V12 engine design. It was also the first true grand touring Ferrari automobile produced, and helped to solidify Ferrari’s enduring relationship with legendary designer Battista “Pinin” Farina.

By the mid-1950s, the Pinin Farina design house had truly established its signature Ferrari look, exemplified by the Europa/Boano/Ellena GT series of cars. Their distinctive design cues included a long, low hood, an oval radiator opening, and a handsome “egg crate”-style grille treatment – traits that by the mid-1950s had secured ‘Principal Ferrari Design House’ status for the Turin firm. Even though these cars were marketed as expensive, luxurious, and well-finished grand touring machines, their advanced technical specifications and sleek lines helped assure the marque’s reputation for performance above all else.

The gorgeous Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta was the final iteration of the glorious 250 GT series, and it is generally regarded as one of the most exquisitely proportioned and beautiful of all the Pininfarina body designs. These were classic high-performance grand touring cars with a difference, though, for they combined power, speed, and agility with the highest levels of elegance and comfort for two occupants, including their luggage. A prototype of the new 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta, or simply “Lusso” as it became known, first appeared at the Paris Motor Show in October 1962, and was instantly considered yet another triumph for Pininfarina (the coachbuilder’s name officially became one word in 1961) and the coachbuilder, Scaglietti.

The strikingly elegant lines incorporated a frontal treatment reminiscent of the 250 GT SWB, which had been Ferrari’s last real dual-purpose road and race car, as the difference between Ferrari’s racing cars and road cars was ever widening. From there, the Lusso’s body swept back to a clean, 250 GTO-like truncated tail, capped by a delicate but effective spoiler. The airy greenhouse took advantage of thin pillars and a panoramic rear window to develop a sweeping curve that merged delicately into a tiny rear deck, offering excellent visibility. Remarkably free from external adornment, even the bumpers blended cleanly into the Lusso’s shape. Only a small chrome grille at the front of the hood bulge, emulating the now typical Ferrari egg crate radiator grille, broke the Lusso’s gracefully curved panels.

The chassis was conventional 250 GT Ferrari, although a couple of new rear suspension features were borrowed from the all-conquering GTO, namely tubular shock absorbers with concentric helper springs, and lateral location via a Watts linkage. The engine was Ferrari’s spectacular Colombo-derived V12, a glorious-sounding overhead cam design crowned by a trio of twin-choke Weber carburetors. Sadly, the 250 GT Lusso would be the last car to be fitted with the delectable Colombo-designed V12 engine in its definitive three-liter form. The unit used in the Lusso produced approximately 250 brake horsepower, and was capable of propelling the car to a top speed approaching 150 miles per hour. Over its brief production run, spanning from 1963 to 1964, just 353 examples of the exquisite 250 GT/L were produced.

Following its introduction, the Lusso received a tremendous reception from Ferrari enthusiasts and the press alike. In May of 1964, Car and Driver magazine said “…its proportions approach perfection”. While Road and Track did not road test the car until 1969, it wrote “…Ferrari’s most beautiful car; a classic at age five.” Ferrari Magazine called it “one of the all time classics”, the weekly Automobile Revue called it “...the most beautiful car in the world”, and Auto Week noted, “Some cars, like some movies, are not for kids. This is one of them.” In short, the cars were everything a street Ferrari should be – fast, nimble, comfortable, and achingly beautiful.

It was not just the press that gave the car such plaudits. Notably, the 250 GT/L attracted some very well known owners as well. Ferrari’s former head of Formula 1 design, Dr. Harvey Postlethwaite, owned one, as did the model’s designer, Battista “Pinin” Farina, with several subtle modifications that included revised door handles and instrument placement. Hollywood icon Steve McQueen was another owner and devoted enthusiast. As his friend, photographer William Claxton recalled in a recent issue of Motor Trend Classic, “We would set a place to meet for lunch and then take off, Steve in the Lusso and me in my Porsche 356 SC 1600. Steve’s idea of fun was to go roaring off and, a couple hours later, be parked at the side of the road pretending to be bored waiting for us to arrive. It was a great time. He really loved that car.”

The stunning and award-winning 1964 250 GT/L offered here is fittingly presented in a Rosso Corsa exterior finish, and was restored from the ground up between 1999 and 2000 by exotic car experts Tillack & Company of Redondo Beach, California. Upon completion, the Lusso was first shown at the Monterey Concorso Italiano in 2000, where the Ferrari 250 GT/L was also the event’s featured car. Under the judges’ scrutiny, this very fine example emerged with both Platinum and Best of Show awards. Next, the car was shown at the 2001 edition of the Cavallino Classic, and in 2002, the car received a Platinum Award at the Ferrari Club of America meeting in Century City.

The exterior finish remains truly beautiful, and is complemented by excellent brightwork and correct Borrani “knock off” wire wheels. True to the car’s model designation, the cockpit is expertly and luxuriously trimmed in beautiful tan hides with darker brown carpeting. All instruments and controls, including the handsome wood-rimmed steering wheel are period correct and remain flawless as well. Underhood, the entire engine bay and the legendary V12 engine are beautifully detailed and period correct in presentation, with the minor exception of a modern-type maintenance-free battery.

Despite its short two-year production run, the 250 GT/L is, on the strength of its appearance alone, one of the most appreciated and highly sought-after Ferraris today. It is also recognized as one of Sports Car International’s Top Ten Sports Cars of the 1960s, and its enduring success is attributable to a seamless blend of race-proven performance and sexy Italian styling – a truly winning combination, exemplified by this rare and highly desirable automobile. Without question, this is one of the finest of these beautiful Lussos that RM Auctions has had the pleasure of offering at auction.

Reference Number 35004

as of 12/4/2008

Car 1964 Ferrari 250 GT /L Berlinetta
VIN 5475 
More Images
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car