1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta TdFSOLD
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Estimate: €2.750.000-€3.250.000

€2.310.000 Sold

230/280 bhp at 7,000 rpm, 2,953 cc single overhead camshaft V-12 engine with three Weber carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptical springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,600 mm (102.4 in.)

The Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta not only has breathtaking looks, it is unquestionably one of the greatest Ferrari racing cars ever built and a car of such class that the various versions that followed have become legendary in their own right. Names like Testa Rossa, GTO and Tour de France evoke strong emotions in enthusiasts the world over. The 250 GT Berlinetta’s forerunner was the 250 MM, named after the famous Mille Miglia race won by Italian hill climb champion Giovanni Bracco in 1952. The last 250 MMs had been built by 1954 and work began on what would become the 250 GT Berlinetta “Tour de France”. A stronger, new tubular chassis was employed with a wheelbase of 2,600 mm. The elliptic leaf spring suspension was replaced with wishbones, coil springs and shocks and the Colombo Tipo 112 short block V-12 engine was fitted. (Subsequently the engine would be developed and designated Tipo 128, 128B, C and D.) This car was chassis number 0369 GT, the prototype Pinin Farina Berlinetta. Between April and July of 1955 Pinin Farina built three more 250 GTs that were of similar appearance to the 250 MM. In October, another car was shown at the Paris Salon and was the first design with many side louvres. Pinin Farina made a further two prototypes, one of which was owned by the Marquis de Portago from Spain. In December 1955 at Nassau, Bahamas, he scored the first victory for the car, which, by the end of the decade, would be a massive catalogue of race wins.

1955 was a bleak year in motor sport history. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes had been launched into the crowd, killing 84 people and injuring another 200. This prompted the creation of a Gran Turismo category with an engine capacity of 3.0 litres. The new rules would play into Ferrari’s hands in 1956.

Scaglietti appeared at the 1956 Geneva Motor Show with their own prototype which would become the limited production series I, fourteen-louvre 250 GT Berlinetta. The first production car was built in November 1956 and production was now the responsibility of Scaglietti in Modena.

There were five series of 250 GT Long Wheelbase Berlinettas. From mid-1957 the series II cars were introduced, which had three louvres and covered headlights, and just fifteen were produced. About twenty-nine series III cars were built; these retained the covered headlights but had just a single louvre. In 1959 eight single louvre cars were built with open headlights although some of these very late 250 GT LWB Berlinettas still had covered headlights. Five superlight Zagato-bodied cars were also made, not to mention the 250 GT LWB “Interim” Berlinettas, one of which won the 1959 Tour de France.

1956 saw the real start of the 250 GT Berlinetta’s competition career. The car would win more races than either of its legendary successors, the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta and the 250 GTO. Olivier Gendebien won the GT class in the Tour of Sicily at the beginning of 1956, but it was the Tour de France of that year which would be the GT Berlinetta’s most important race and put this car into the annals of motor sport history.

The Tour de France took five or six days and covered over 4,800 gruelling kilometres around France, sometimes venturing into Italy, Belgium or Germany. The race consisted of up to six circuit races, two hill climbs and a sprint. In 1956, in his first attempt, with Edmund Nelson as his co-driver, Alfonso de Portago took the victory, with Stirling Moss in a Mercedes 300 SL second and Gendebien third in the first Pinin Farina ex-works development car. From then on the name of the race which Ferrari had scored the famous victory came into common usage for the name of this model. Sadly, the Spanish nobleman de Portago, who was a three-time French amateur champion jockey, world-class swimmer and part of the Spanish bobsledding team in the 1956 Winter Olympics, perished the following year only forty kilometres from the end of the 1957 Mille Miglia. His co-driver Nelson and nine spectators were also killed when a tyre blew out on their Ferrari 335. De Portago can be remembered for giving the legendary Ferrari 250 GT Long Wheelbase Berlinetta its sobriquet – Tour de France.

Olivier Gendebien drove a Ferrari 250 GT (Tour de France) to victory for the next three consecutive years in the race whose name the car had now unofficially taken. The 250 GT (Tour de France) would be driven in some of the great races of the day by some of the most famous and talented drivers. The number of victories scored is testament to one of the most successful racing cars in history.

The Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France presented here, chassis no. 0563 GT, was sold new by Ferrari SpA to Racing Sport S.r.l of Torino, Italy on 10th September, 1956. Racing Sport immediately leased the car to Jacques Peron, resident in Nice, France. The fifth Tour de France was held between 17th to 23rd September and Peron, with co-driver Jacques Bertrammier entered 0536 GT and took the car to eighth place overall. Peron was a very active racer and obviously enjoyed racing the car. In October of that year he entered the 12th Coupe du Salon at Montlhéry, where he finished a fine second place.

In 1957 Peron won the Rallye des Forets in March, proving just how versatile these Ferrari competition cars really are. Victory again in April at the USA Cup at Montlhéry for Peron was followed by second overall and second in class in the Rallye du Printemps. June saw a class win in the Grand Prix of Paris at Montlhéry. Peron then shipped the car from France to Algeria to take part in the Rallye Allier where he would take victory. The next race was the Reims 12 Hours in France, but the car did not finish due to mechanical issues. However, it was not long before Peron was back to his winning ways, as he finished first in class in the Razel race. In September of the same year Peron entered 0563 GT in the sixth Tour de France, in which he and co-driver Burggraf finished a tremendous fifth overall against some of the best cars and drivers of the period including a number of works entries. This was a fantastic result for a privateer and proved what a superb competition car the Ferrari 250 GT was in its time. The Coupe du Salon at Montlhéry was followed by Peron’s last event of the year, the Armagnac Rallye in which he finished third.

1958 saw a more limited season, but highlights were seventh in the Pau 3 Hours and a class win in the Planfoy hill climb. Late in 1958, 0563 GT was returned by Racing Sport and Peron to the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy.

In November 1959 the car was sold by Ferrari to Bruce Kessler and exported to the U.S. In 1960 it was sold to Ron Wakeman from California and in 1973 became the property of Larry Taylor, also of California. In 1983 Richard Gent, Jr. bought the car from Taylor’s estate and had it restored by Joe Piscazzi’s Auto Body and Tom Selby. It was shown by Gent at the 25th Annual Ferrari Club of America International Concours at Stouffer’s Pine Isle Resort at Lake Lanier Island, Georgia where it placed second.

In the 1990s Bob Smith Coachworks in Texas fully restored 0563 GT to concours condition, bringing it back to the original colour scheme it had when it took part in the 1957 Tour de France. The car was not shown again by Richard Gent until January 2001 at the Tenth Annual Palm Beach Cavallino Classic at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, where it attracted great interest. In May of the same year the car won the Forza Award at the 37th Annual Ferrari Club of America National Meeting and Concours at Dallas. The car was then seen at the 53rd Pebble Beach Concours d’Elégance where it finished second in the class for Ferrari competition cars – a testament to the quality of its restoration in comparison to the other spectacular Ferraris on the lawn at Pebble Beach. More recently 0563 GT was shown at the Cavallino Classic alongside a Ferrari 250 Pontoon Fender Testa Rossa, where it once more attracted great interest. It was driven from The Breakers to the Palm Beach International Raceway, performing flawlessly and proving that it was equally at home on the open road as it is on the race track.

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta (Tour de France) chassis no. 0563 GT is one of the most legendary Ferrari dual-purpose road/race cars and is the last of the series of eight cars produced in this body style. With its outstanding competition history it is certainly of the most desirable closed 12-cylinder Ferraris and it would be eligible for all the important historic races and events around the world, including the Tour Auto, Mille Miglia Storica and Shell Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge, where it would be very competitive in the drum brake class. In fact, closed 12-cylinder Ferraris eligible for the Mille Miglia very rarely come onto the market today. With breathtaking looks, fantastic performance and great handling, early Ferrari 250 GT competition cars such as 0563 GT remain some of the most coveted models in the marque’s history.

Reference Number 41057

as of 3/24/2009

Car 1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta TdF
VIN 0563GT 
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