The 250 series of cars were produced by Ferrari between 1953 and 1964. The 250 nomenclature came from the capacity of each cylinder since all of these cars came with a 3.0 litre V12. The 250 range covered everything from sedate GT cars to out and out race cars like the 250 GTO.
The Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider from this series of cars is especially unique. It was produced to meet the demands of Ferrari’s American importers, Luigi Chinetti and John von Neumann, who anticipated demand for a convertible Ferrari GT car in the mould of the 250 GT Berlinetta. The 250 GT California Spyder is widely regarded as one of the prettiest Ferraris ever made. Add to this the V12 and the car could also boast of having serious competition pedigree. This made ideal for enthusiasts looking for fast open top two seaters to go racing in.
The 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione as seen in these pictures was aimed squarely at these enthusiasts. Coming up at the RM Sotheby’s New York sale, the Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione was built to a higher specification than the standard car, this featured the Tipo 128F engine, equipped with high lift camshafts, triple 40 DCL6 carburettors, and a competition-spec fuel tank. This engine put out 262.5 bhp, an increase in 40 bhp over the standard Colombo V12. These Scaglietti designed cars featured a tubular steel chassis with an aluminium alloy body. Top speed was rated at 145 mph and 0 to 60 took 6.5s. These cars were also exceedingly rare, just 8 were built to Competizione specification out of the California Spider’s total run of 50 cars.
This car in question, chassis no 1451 GT, was the second of these 8 cars. It has solid competition credentials, finishing 3rd in class and 5th overall at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. It also features in a string of smaller events with reasonable success until being retired from competition in 1960.
The California Spider Competizione is a quintessential example of a racing Ferrari. It featured all the attributes like exceptional dynamics and classically good looks that the brand has come to stand for over the years.
Photos by Diana Varga for RM Sotheby’s