1962 FERRARI 250GT SHORT WHEELBASE BERLINETTA
COACHWORK TO PININFARINA DESIGN, BUILT BY SCAGLIETTI
Chassis No. 3695 GT
Engine No. 3695 GT
Giallo fly with black leather interior
Engine: V12, two single overhead camshafts, one for each cylinder bank, three Weber twin-choke carburetors, 2,953cc, 250bhp at 7,000rpm; Gearbox: four-speed and reverse manual in unit with engine; Suspension: upper and lower wishbone front suspension with solid rear axle mounted upon leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel Dunlop disc brakes. Left hand drive.
By 1959, Ferrari was building his last long wheelbase 250GT 'Tour de France' Berlinettas. The very last few had not only brand new Pininfarina designed bodywork adorning them (as opposed to the Scaglietti designed and built 'Tour de France'), but also had new 128DF/128F engines, fitted with outside spark plugs. Although the engine block still used three studs per cylinder to bolt the cylinder heads down, the heads now at last had coil valve springs (instead of the mousetrap variety). Another change from the previously used Siamesed intake ports was that the new engine featured twelve-port induction, although it was still using only three carburetors, though these were of the larger, 40DCZ 6 type.
The other big news for these cars was that Ferrari had, at last, forsaken his beautiful (but old!) aluminum drum brakes. Dunlop disc brakes were fitted to two of these cars for their 1959 entries in the Tour de France. However, the scrutineers would not allow them as they were not then homologated for the cars and the brakes had to be rapidly changed back to the old drums for the event. It mattered not, as a 250GT driven by Olivier Gendebien still won the event.
These Dunlop disc brakes were a harbinger of things to come quite shortly. Ferrari introduced his new Berlinetta at the Paris Auto Show in October, 1959. With its Pininfarina designed, Scaglietti made bodywork, the car was a huge hit and had customers reaching for their wallets in order to place an order for either an alloy competition car or a steel 'Lusso' version for the road. Naturally, the factory built alloy cars first as these were for the racing customers and would uphold Ferrari's prestige in the GT racing world. The show car itself, 1539 GT, was an alloy car.
Built on the new chassis, Tipo 539, which had had just over seven inches removed from its wheelbase, this car featured a track similar to the preceding 250GT 'Tour de France' cars, now known unofficially as the 'interim' model. The Dunlop disc brakes were fitted (and included in the homologation forms) and the suspension was similar to that of the longer wheelbase cars also. A new ZF steering box with a 17:1 ratio was fitted as was a 31.7 gallon fuel tank. The engine was again further developed; this time being annotated the Tipo 168 or 168B. Still 73mm x 58.8mm with the capacity at 2953.211cc, the engine featured most of the modifications of the Tipo 128DF seen in Gendebien's Tour de France winning Berlinetta, although larger valves had been inserted into the heads. A new timing chain casing using a disposable horizontal oil filter was in use and the generator was moved from its chain-driven central location to the right-hand side of the engine. A new oil pump and a fan which would de-clutch when not needed were on this new engine as well as a new fuel pump. A Fichtel & Sachs competition clutch was fitted. Compression ratio was 9.5:1. The engines destined for competition were fitted with magnesium (called 'electron' by the factory) sump camshaft covers and timing chain covers and developed 275bhp at 7,000rpm. Acceleration times for street cars (independently taken) indicated 0-60mph in just 6.0 seconds, 0-100mph in under 16 secs and a top speed of 145mph.
The gearbox was Ferrari's standard four-speed plus reverse item with Porsche synchromesh. The early alloy bodied cars meant for racing use had the gearbox casing made of aluminum, although unribbed. Weight of a complete alloy competition SWB was 2,406 pounds.
The first cars produced lacked front and rear wing vents, had no indicators on the front wings, lacked a rear number plate mounting and had no rain guttering over the windows, in fact they were the cleanest shape of all. The second series of cars, made from May to August, 1960, had front and rear wing vents to assist the exit of hot air, repeating blinker lights on the front wings, a rear number plate mounting and sleeved brake cooling ducts. Some cars had sliding windows and some had the wind up variety. The third modification to the bodywork came in August. The air outlet for the cockpit was moved to the top of the roof, and the cars fitted with wind-up windows received front, opening, quarter lights.
Scaglietti bodied the great majority of the Short Wheelbase cars to a design by Pininfarina, but some cars received bodywork that was very similar to the then-current SuperAmerica model. Possibly the most beautiful 250GT short wheelbase of all was bodied by Bertone to a design by Giorgio Giugiaro. With its shark nose twin vents, this car turned heads at every show in which it was displayed.
The Short Wheelbase's career in competition was as outstanding as its predecessor's. Homologated into the GT class just a few days before the 1960 running of the Le Mans 24-Hour race, 2001 GT, driven by Tavano and Loutsel won the class and came fourth overall. Behind 3001 GT came the similar cars of Arents and Connell, Elde and Noblet and 1759 GT, driven by Hugus and Pabst. They filled the first four places in the GT class!
The Le Mans result was just a foretaste of the 250GT SWB's success to come. Wherever they appeared, they dominated their class and sometimes won races outright. For example, Stirling Moss won the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood in both 1960 and 1961, first of all with 2119 GT and then with 2735 GT, a SEFAC 'Hotrod', as Americans were to know the Comp.61/SWB. Other notable results were in the 'Tour de France' event where Willy Mairesse, partnered by Jo-Jo Berger, won in both 1960 and 1961. Olivier Gendebien, whilst giving Mairesse a very hard time, had to concede defeat after blowing a piston before the race at Le Mans.
The street version of the 250GT SWB also had customers lining up. Bodied in steel, again by Scaglietti, the car was known inside the factory as the 'Lusso' (Luxury), and followed the design of the competition car very closely but had an engine, the Tipo 128 F, that was not in such a high state of tune as the Comp. Cars and also had softer spring rates to give its customers a gentle, more civilized ride. However, all things are relative and a street SWB is a far more exciting machine than the above would tend to indicate! Many steel-bodied cars were raced when the owners were not able to take delivery of a purpose built competition alloy-bodied Berlinetta. Inside the cockpit, the seats and dash were covered in leather, and carpet to match the general coloring was in use.
The car we are proud to feature here is one of the very last 250GT SWB's built. Finished on July 28th, 1962, chassis number 3695 GT was delivered to its first Italian owner, Mr. M. L. Caccia about whom we know very little. The car differed from the standard 'Lusso' in that it had a Monza outside gas filler set in the left rear fender, something which usually only the Competition SWB's had. Other features of late production cars found on this car include Altissimo tear-drop shaped side lights and a rectangular Pininfarina design badge below the front fender vent. Sometime in the Seventies, the Berlinetta made its way to America and in 1976 was sold to a well-known race car driver, Jim Mullen.
Then during the 1980's the SWB was sent by a Japanese owner to European Auto Restorations, a highly respected firm in Southern California, who began a total restoration. The work was completed by Steve Tillack, a noted Ferrari restorer in the same area, and great care was taken to re-do the car using the most authentic materials and finishes available. After this, Steve Tillack showed the car at Pebble Beach and then drove the SWB two hundred miles to and from the Santa Barbara Concours d'Elegance, where the Berlinetta won the Best of Show award. It also took First in Class at the Newport Beach Concours d'Elegance. A short while later the car was sold to its current owner. Not satisfied with the engine's performance, the owner had the engine completely stripped and rebuilt in April 1998 so that 3695 GT was running as beautifully as she looked.
The Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheelbase Berlinetta is one of the most beautiful Ferraris ever built. Period. Combine this with a competition history of the type that was completely dominant and look at the very few cars of both street (Lusso) and Comp. Tipos built. Then one can begin to see that this Ferrari, restored to stunning condition, is surely one of the greatest road cars ever made.
Whether it is used on a race track or for a Concours d'Elegance (or both - SWB's are after all, dual-purpose machines), or for a Sunday afternoon drive, 3695 GT should fulfill every ambition her new owner may have.