Pinin Farina Geneva Motor Show Car, 1957 1957 FERRARI 250 GT 'SERIES I' CABRIOLET
COACHWORK BY PININ FARINA
Chassis No. 0801 GT
Engine No. 0801 GT (See text) Red with tan leather interior
Engine: Colombo designed V12, 2,953cc, 240bhp at 7,000rpm; Gearbox; four speed manual; Suspension: front, 'A'-arms, coil springs, Houdaille shock absorbers, rear, live axle, semi-elliptic springs, Houdaille shock absorbers; Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
Since its introduction in the early fifties, the legendary GT had only received Coupe or Berlinetta bodies. It was Boano who first introduced a Spyder in 1956. One year later, at the Geneva Motor Show, a truly inspired Pinin Farina at the height of his creativity replied with a striking design, built on the long wheelbase chassis (2,600mm) powered by the famous V12 engine.
Three more 'speciale' bodies followed before a small series of 36 cars went into production between 1957 and 1959. Although the general lines remained unchanged, nearly every car differed in some small detail, allowing for individual requests. The example offered here has the very desirable covered headlights, small rear lights and attractive front and rear bumperettes as opposed to the full bumpered cars. The later cars sported open headlights and also larger vertical tail lights, thereby announcing the 'Series II' cabriolet.
The small series was discontinued when it became obvious that the model was similar to the Spyder California, which was assembled by Scaglietti and was significantly less expensive for Ferrari. The Pinin Farina Cabriolet was made in fewer numbers, was extremely pretty and was certainly more refined and better built than the California. Its real value is now recognised among collectors and enthusiasts throughout the world.
Contemporary performance tests on the GT gave a 0 to 60mph time of some 7 seconds and 0 to 100mph in 18.0 seconds. Several 250 GT Berlinettas did well in competition, particularly during 1957, which no doubt helped road car sales. For instance, they won the Tour de France and the Coppa Inter Europa at Monza.
Chassis 0801 GT was dispatched to the Pinin Farina plant from the Ferrari factory on November 5, 1957 and emerged ready for sale on March 3, 1958. On March 13th, it was shown at the Geneva Salon when the doors opened to admit an admiring public. Almost immediately, 0801 GT was sold to Giuseppe De Stefano of Milan who took delivery of it on April 1st and no doubt enjoyed the car thoroughly. Apart from the aforementioned bumperettes, it also had a special dash layout.
Just thirteen months later, De Stefano sold 0801 GT to count Alberto Paolo Zitavalle, also of Milan and the cabriolet stayed in his ownership until 1962 when it passed to Plaisance Bernard, another Milanese car enthusiast. Bernard enjoyed the car so much that he kept it until 1971 when, after three years with Gastone Crepaldi, 0801 GT was sold to American Ferrari importer, Luigi Chinetti. Chinetti soon sold the attractive Ferrari to collector Philip Wichard. The Ferrari was offered for sale in 1987 by Unique Motor Cars of Long Island who described it as having been restored by the factory with 'new engine and disc brakes'. This 'new' engine is identical in specification to the original, being an inside-plug V12. It is believed that the engine was at some point re-stamped with the number 0801 GT. In 1992, the then owner had the cabriolet reconverted back to its original drum brakes.
Throughout its entire life, 0801 GT has been very well cared for by a succession of owners and is one of the very rare Series I 250 GT Cabriolets. 0801 GT remains a delight to drive in everyday use and is, of course, eligible for such long distance touring events as the Colorado Grand and California Mille. This Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet has a patina of age to the restoration. It should be the right car for the person who is looking for a 'user-friendly' touring Ferrari that still possesses the ability to make all the right noises and perform as only a 250 GT Ferrari can.