1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWBSOLD

RM Auction: Ferrari - Legenda e Passione - Sunday, May 20, 2007

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Estimate: 1,900,000€-2,200,000€

2,090,000 € Sold

Specifications: 300bhp 2,953cc single overhead camshaft V-12 engine; three Weber 46DCF/3 carburetors; four-speed manual gearbox; solid rear axle with semi elliptical leaf springs; independent front suspension with parallel A-arms and coil springs; four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,400mm (94.5")

By the late fifties it was apparent that Ferrari had perfected the dual-purpose gran turismo automobile with his line of 250 GTs. The Colombo-designed V-12 had evolved into a powerful engine. More importantly in racing, where it is said, "To finish first, you must first finish," it was reliable. That reliability carried over to 250 GTs that never saw the race track, creating confident and satisfied owners.

The 250 GT Short Wheelbase Berlinetta was introduced at the Paris Show in October 1959. Built on a shorter, 2400mm wheelbase, chassis than its predecessor, and - for the first time on a production Ferrari model - fitted with four wheel disc brakes. In the process, the Ferrari engineers together with Pinin Farina and Scaglietti created one of the most beautiful automobiles of all time, a succinct, straightforward and purposeful blending of form following function that excels in all aspects.

The 250 GT SWB Berlinetta is unmistakably Ferrari. It is devoid of superfluous bulk, features or embellishments. It is aerodynamic. The driver ’ s visibility from the ample greenhouse is good. The corners of the car are tightly wrapped around the wheels. Its gently rounded masses speak unambiguously of potency and power.

165 examples were constructed from 1959-1962. Scaglietti built both steel and aluminum bodies, often mixing features according to client ’ s wishes and manufacturing expediency. The 250 GT SWB Berlinetta is the last true dual-purpose gran turismo built in quantity by Ferrari – or anyone else for that matter. It is a milestone that marks the end of a legendary age when GT cars were driven to the greatest races, luggage unloaded, race numbers applied and driven to victories.

The 250 GT SWB Berlinetta ’ s list of competition successes is so long as to be pointless to recount in detail, but it includes GT category wins at Le Mans in 1960 and 1961, Tour de France wins in 1960, 1961 and 1962 and of course Stirling Moss ’ s pair of Goodwood Tourist Trophy wins in 1960 and 1961.

Quick, powerful, strong, lightweight, balanced, fast, responsive, reliable and, perhaps above all, indescribably beautiful, compact, purposeful and elemental, Ferrari ’ s 250 GT SWB Berlinetta is a high point even in Ferrari ’ s history of great automobiles.

Jo Schlesser

Jo Schlesser was a man with racing in his blood. He drove on the ragged edge, a style attested to by a litany of crashes. Each time, however, he immediately began looking for his next ride, and his persistence paid off with a wide variety of racing opportunities – from club racing and hill climbs to Grand Prix races – and eventually, Formula One.

Born Joseph Schlesser on May 18, 1928 in the French territory of Madagascar, he did not begin racing until the age of 24. After a career driving a variety of sports cars, including 2209 GT, he began to break into the top levels of racing, participating in the 1966 and 1967 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, driving Formula 2 Spec Matra-Cosworths

Unfortunately for Jo, his first Formula One opportunity came at the 1968 French Grand Prix at Rouen-Les- Essarts. Honda ’ s team driver, John Surtees denounced their new experimental magnesium-framed air-cooled car as a “ potential deathtrap ” , and declined to drive it. Schlesser, a local hero, was given the opportunity, which he accepted with characteristic enthusiasm. Unfortunately Surtees words proved prophetic, and Schlesser lost control in a fast downhill sweeper and the car hit the wall, coming to rest upside down in flames. With a full load of fuel and magnesium structure, Jo Schlesser never had a chance. Honda, for its part, withdrew from Formula One at the end of the 1968 season.

2209 GT – The Birth of a Legend

2209 GT was officially delivered October 19th, 1960 to Ardilio Tavoni of Modena, bearing Italian plate MO 60578 – although Tavoni is widely thought to have been acting for the well-known racing driver, Jo Schlesser. And indeed, the Ferrari was put to work almost immediately when it was entered in the 1000 Kms of Montlhèry just four days later, driven by Schlesser and co-driver Andrè Simon.

A brand new car, by all reports 2209 GT performed flawlessly, and Schlesser and Simon finished a very respectable third overall. The next race on record was at Monza on March 12th, 1961, the Coppa St. Ambroeus, where it was driven by Alessandro (Sandro) Zafferri to 3rd in the 3 litre class.

Almost certainly other races ensued, but RM Auctions was unable to verify any that could be attributed to 2209 GT with certainty. In any event, in November of 1962 Milan native Gianni Roghi became the Ferrari ’ s second registered owner, with Milan registration number MI 702190. Several races followed with Roghi driving:

June 2, 1963 XXV Coppa Della Consuma Hill Climb 3rd in Class, 28th OA
1963 Coppa Pisa 3rd in Class
1963 Coppa Inter-Europa 6th in Class, 8th OA
1963 Coppa Città d ’ Asagio N/A

No records have been found of any further racing events for 2209 GT, but unfortunately in late 1966 or 1967 Roghi crashed the car. While the extent of the damage is not known, Roghi sold his beloved Ferrari to Tullio Lombardo, also from Milan, on January 23rd 1967, the car retaining the Milan registration number.

On December 22nd, 1967, Lombardo sold 2209 GT to Gastone Crepaldi, the Ferrari concessionaire for the Lombardy region, and in 1968, he is believed to have commissioned Carrozzeria Sports Cars (Piero Drogo) in Modena to construct a new body following a design by Tadini. At the same time, the engine was replaced with a freshly rebuilt 250 GTE engine, 4921 GT.

On May 29th 1969, 2209 GT, now wearing its smart new Drogo coachwork, was sold to Miss Maryvonne Lassus of St. Vite, France. She kept the car for just two years before selling it to Eric Russli Birchler of Paris on February 18th 1971.

Eventually, Birchler sold 2209 GT to Bernard Cros-Lafage. At this point the story gets interesting, as the car was reported stolen in 1978. As it turns out, it seems most likely that Cros-Lafage had some sort of dispute with a garage over repairs or storage, and the car was sold to settle the account. Later, after a thorough investigation by the French police and the UK Fine Arts squad, the ownership of the car was confirmed, and all subsequent owners have enjoyed clear title.

In any event, the next owner was a M. Marty in Toulouse, who repainted the car metallic blue. On July 9th, 1979, UK resident Stuart Passey became the ninth owner, via dealer Michael Lavers, registered on UK plates "SWB 70".

At this point, Passey commissioned marque specialists DK Engineering to conduct a total restoration. This four- year project included new alloy panels in the style of a SWB ’ 61. The car was refinished in its original Jo Schlesser Madagascar racing colors of white with twin green stripes.

Upon completion of the restoration, 2209 GT (at this point still with 250 GTE engine 4921 GT, stamped 2209 A) was shown extensively by Passey, including the 20th anniversary FOC meeting, at Oulton Park in 1987. Other outings included the Silverstone Historic Festival and the FF40 International Ferrari Concours in 1992, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the FOC Concours at Cottesbrooke Hall in 1994, and the Tour de France Auto event in 1996.

In January of 2003, 2209 GT was acquired by Frank Sytner, who resold the car in December of that year to the vendor, who repainted the car in yellow with green stripes. During 2004 and 2005 he campaigned the car successfully in the Shell Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge series. After a shunt in a historic race in Portugal while driven by a friend, the vendor elected to return the car to its original livery of white with green stripes.

The vendor, a lifelong Ferrari enthusiast, then decided to embark on a program to return 2209 GT to its exact original configuration. The car was shipped to Ferrari Classiche for metal testing and dimensional tests which confirmed its originality. Some small modifications were carried out to correct repairs that had been done to the chassis during the car ’ s life - maintaining almost all of the original parts. The body then underwent a complete restoration bringing it back to its original drawings. Whilst at the factory the present owner had a new 250 GT SWB block made specifically to be fitted into the car. The vendor then had the engine rebuilt to competition spec. as it left the factory in 1960.

Today, 2209 GT is pristine, fresh from restoration and fully sorted. It has been built as the weapon of choice for an historic racer, but will be equally at home on the Tour Auto – or the concours lawn at Villa d ’ Este or on circuits in the Ferrari Historic Challenge.


Painstaking historical research ensured that all details, including paint and trim were returned to exactly what they were when Jo Schlesser took delivery. The quality of the restoration, the originality of the components, and the authenticity of the details all combine to allow the successful bidder to be the first to enjoy 2209 GT exactly as it was when Jo Schlesser lined up for that first race at Montlhèry – as a four day old, brand new racing Ferrari.

The 250 GT SWB has it all – power, style, and razor quick handling. Even the standard steel cars led full lives on the track. Only a handful of cars were factory built for special customers as all-out competition cars, with alloy bodies, special engines, and anything else the client wanted. Jo Schlesser was one of those rare people who could have anything he wanted – and 2209GT was his idea of the perfect Ferrari.

It still is.

Note: The car has recently completed a comprehensive restoration during which the modifications made to the car have been reversed in order to return s/n 2209 GT to its original configuration. Upon completion of restoration photos will be available at www.rmauctions.com

Reference Number 8008

as of 3/18/2007

Car 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB
VIN 2209GT 
Small Series  1 of 29 
Exterior / Interior Color      White 
Configuration Left Hand Drive (LHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
Options Exterior: Wire wheels
Interior: Leather interior, Wooden steering wheel 
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