2023 |Amelia Island Auctions
1953 Ferrari 250 MM Spider Series II
From the Estate of Jess Pourret
Coachwork by Vignale
$3,000,000 - $5,000,000
A Historically Important, Even-Serial-Number Competition Ferrari
One of 12 Vignale Spiders Built on the Legendary 250 MM Chassis
Extensive International Race History Includes the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio
Formerly Owned by Noted American Collectors P. Paul Pappalardo and Bob Rubin
Part of the Famed Jess Pourret Ferrari Collection for over Three Decades
Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini
2,953 CC SOHC Alloy V-12 Engine
Three Weber 4-Barrel Carburetors
240 BHP at 7,200 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Finned-Aluminum Drum Brakes
Front Independent Suspension with Transverse Leaf Spring and Shock Absorbers
Rear Live Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs and Shock Absorbers
Piero Scotti, Florence, Italy (acquired new in 1953)
Porfirio Rubirosa, Paris, France (acquired from the above in 1953)
Francisco Landi, Sao Paulo, Brazil (acquired from the above in 1954)
Herbert McKay-Frazer, Brazil (acquired in 1955)
Peruzzo & Zambello Ltd., Sao Paulo, Brazil (acquired in 1959)
Carlo Mazzuchetti, Sao Paulo, Brazil (acquired in 1959)
Edward Griffin, New Orleans, Louisiana (acquired in 1959)
Ed Groff, Las Vegas, Nevada (acquired in 1960)
Bill Kidd, Los Angeles, California (acquired in 1975)
P. Paul Pappalardo, Greenwich, Connecticut (acquired in 1977)
Gary A. Schonwald, New York City, New York (acquired from the above in 1978)
Robert M. Rubin, New York City, New York (acquired from the above in 1986)
Jess G. Pourret (acquired from the above in 1987)
Giro di Sicilia, April 1953, Scotti/Contini
Mille Miglia, April 1953, Scotti/Contini, No. 636 (DNF)
Targa Florio, May 1953, Scotti/Contini, No. 82 (DNF)
Coppa della Toscana, May 1953, Scotti/Contini, No. 939 (10th Overall)
Gran Premio Supercortemaggiore, June 1953, Scotti, No. 52 (9th Overall)
Coppa della Consuma Hillclimb, July 1953, Scotti, No. 142 (1st Overall)
Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti, July 1953, Scotti, No. 88 (13th Overall)
Aosta-San Bernardo Hillclimb, July 1953, Scotti, No. 122 (1st in Class)
Circuito di Senigallia, August 1953, Scotti, No. 97 (6th Overall)
Coppa Acerbo, August 1953, Scotti, No. 20 (DNF)
Catania-Etna Hillclimb, September 1953, Scotti (4th Overall)
Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix, December 1953, Landi, No. 2 (3rd Overall)
Grand Prix of Salvador, January 1954, Landi, No. 2 (1st Overall)
Grand Prix of Porto, June 1954, Valentim, No. 11 (5th Overall)
Grand Prix of Portugal, July 1954, Valentim, No. 1 (11th Overall)
Circuito di Senigallia, August 1954, Landi (4th Overall)
Trullo d’Oro, August 1954, Landi (4th Overall)
Bahia Grand Prix, 1954, Landi (1st Overall)
Circuito del Salvador, 1954, Landi (1st Overall)
Maracana Circuit, 1955, McKay-Frazer (2nd Overall)
Interlagos 500 Km, 1957, Viana/Martins (3rd Overall)
FF40 International Ferrari Concours, Belgium, September 1992
Ferrari Club France 25th Anniversary Meeting, 1993
Ferrari Club Thailand Rally, 1996
Ferrari Racing Days, Germany, July 1996
250 GTO 40th Anniversary Tour, France, 2002
Ferrari 60th Anniversary Meeting and Concours, Fiorano, Italy, 2007
Anciennes de Maranello Tour, France, 2009
Corthay-Rothschild Excellence Run, 2011
In 1953, Ferrari unveiled an exciting new model called the 250 Mille Miglia. A development of the experimental 250 Sport that Giovanni Bracco and Alfonoso Rolfo drove to victory in the 1952 Mille Miglia, the latest Ferrari sports racing car was the first series-built competition model to use the now iconic “250” appellation.
Although Ferrari was experimenting with Lampredi engines during this period, the 250 MM was powered by a three-liter V-12 designed by Gioacchino Colombo. Essentially a Colombo block with Lampredi-style heads, the 250 MM engine featured individual porting, hairpin valve springs, and exotic four-choke Weber carburetors. It produced approximately 240 bhp at 7,200 rpm, with the benefit of being smaller, lighter, and easier to maintain than a Lampredi engine.
The 250 MM made its competition debut at the 1953 Giro di Sicilia and quickly earned a reputation as a winner. That April, Phil Hill won the Pebble Beach Road Races in his first outing with a 250 MM Spider. In June, Luigi Villoressi drove a 250 MM Berlinetta to victory at Monza and the following month Paolo Marzotto won the Coppa d’Oro della Dolomiti with a 250 MM Spider.
In total, Ferrari built just 31 examples of the 250 MM. Pinin Farina bodied the majority in berlinetta form and Vignale bodied the remaining 13, all but one as spiders. This 250 MM, chassis 0274 MM, is one of the chassis that Ferrari shipped to Carrozzeria Vignale in Torino.
During the early 1950s, Vignale designed and built custom coachwork for approximately 155 Ferraris, from the most exclusive road-going models to thoroughbred competition cars. That they succeeded in producing winners on the racetrack and at leading European concours d’elegance is a testament to the vibrant collaboration that existed between company founder Alfredo Vignale and designer Giovanni Michelotti.
In 1953, toward the end of his activity as a coachbuilder for Ferrari, Vignale debuted a new style for two-seater racing cars that possessed the unmistakable imprimatur of Michelotti. These new Vignale Spiders featured compact proportions, rounded forms, imposing grilles, oval portholes, and triangular cutaways in the rear fenders. Bodies in this general style were built for the two-liter 166 MM/53, the three-liter 250 MM, and the 4.1-liter 340 MM.
Of the 12 Vignale Spiders built for the 250 MM chassis, 10 were fashioned in this updated “Series II” style. Each Vignale Spider was essentially unique, and 0274 MM was the first of three examples built with a dramatically staggered seating arrangement and long-range 150-liter fuel tank. This configuration was almost surely done at the request of the car’s original owner, the imposing Florentine racing driver Piero Scotti.
Completed in March 1953, chassis 0274 MM made its competition debut that April at the Giro di Sicilia with Scotti and co-driver Giulio Contini. Following this event, the Ferrari was entered in the most famous Italian road races – the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio – but failed to finish either event due to mechanical issues. In May, at the Coppa della Toscana, Sig. Contini served as co-driver one final time and the pair drove the Vignale-bodied Ferrari to a 10th Overall finish.
For the remainder of the 1953 racing season, Piero Scotti continued to race 0274 MM and achieved considerable success, with highlights including a 9th Overall at the Monza Gran Premio Supercortemaggiore, 1st Overall at the Coppa della Consuma Hillclimb, 13th Overall at the Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti, and 1st in Class at the Aosta-San Bernardo Hillclimb.
Toward the end of 1953, Piero Scotti sold the 250 MM to another famous Ferrari driver, Porfirio Rubirosa, who in turn sold it to Francisco “Chico” Landi of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Repainted white over the original red livery, 0274 MM made its South American debut at the Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix in December 1953, where Landi drove the car to an impressive 3rd Overall. In January 1954, he entered the Ferrari in the Grand Prix of Salvador, winning the race outright.
Later that year, Landi shipped the Ferrari to Europe and loaned it to fellow Brazilian driver Mario Valentim, who raced it with success at the Grand Prix of Porto in June and the Grand Prix of Portugal in July. In August 1954, “Chico” Landi reunited with 0274 MM at the Circuito di Senigallia and drove it to a 4th Overall finish.
At the close of the 1954 European racing season, 0274 MM was pictured in that year’s Ferrari Yearbook and was shipped back to South America, where it was sold to Brazilian-born American racing driver Herbert McKay-Frazer. He raced the 250 MM just once, at the Maracana Circuit in May 1955, and loaned it to another driver for the Interlagos 500 Km, held in September 1957. Throughout the late 1950s, the Ferrari traded hands among Brazilian owners and then, in 1959, came into the care of Edwin Griffin, an American engineer working for the Convair Company in Sao Paulo.
The aging Ferrari eventually relocated to the US, where it passed through a few additional owners before being rediscovered as a collectible by pioneering Ferrari collector P. Paul Pappalardo of Greenwich, Connecticut. Following Mr. Pappalardo’s ownership, 0274 MM was owned by another Italian car enthusiast, Gary Schonwald, until 1986 when it was sold to famed classic car collector Bob Rubin. When Mr. Rubin acquired the Ferrari 250 GTO, chassis 3607 GT, in 1987, this 250 MM Vignale Spider was involved in the transaction and changed hands, becoming the property of the GTO’s former owner, famed Ferrari historian Jess Pourret.
A hugely influential and revered personality in the world of classic Ferraris, M. Pourret first developed his passion for the marque as a young man and went to work for the exclusive French Ferrari importer, Franco-Britannic Autos Ltd., in 1965. During the late 1960s, he assembled a superb collection of 250 GT models – including a Tour de France, a SWB California Spider, and a 250 GTO – and co-founded Club Ferrari France.
In 1977, M. Pourret published the book, The Ferrari Legend: 250 GT Competition, one of the first great reference works to include individual chassis histories, which inspired countless enthusiasts and forever transformed the classic Ferrari market. Throughout the decades, M. Pourret authored several additional important books on the marque, co-founded several classic car clubs, and was a frequent organizer and attendee of Ferrari celebrations around the world, bringing together collectors, drivers, and historians. A true Ferrari devotee, M. Pourret even handwrote his personal correspondence in purple ink – just like Il Commendatore himself.
After acquiring 0274 MM, M. Pourret entrusted the car to noted Ferrari specialist DK Engineering for a complete restoration. During this time, the 250 MM Spider was repainted in the attractive two-tone livery seen today and fitted with a spare engine block, later stamped with the original serial number. Wisely, the Ferrari’s original block, stamped with internal no. 018, was retained for posterity and accompanies the sale today.
Following the restoration’s completion in 1992, M. Pourret drove the 250 MM many thousands of miles, taking part in numerous classic Ferrari tours and celebrations across the European continent. Important gatherings attended include the Ferrari Club France 25th Anniversary Meeting at Pierre Bardinon’s Mas du Clos in 1993, the 250 GTO 40th Anniversary Tour in 2002, and the Ferrari 60th Anniversary Meeting and Concours at Fiorano, Italy, in 2007. During M. Pourret’s ownership, 0274 MM was also featured on the cover of Cavallino, the subject of a featured article in Prancing Horse, and illustrated in numerous books on the marque and model.
Now available for the first time in over 35 years, 0274 MM presents a new generation of Ferrari enthusiasts with a most enticing opportunity. Presented here is an even-serial-number competition model, with spectacular open coachwork by Vignale, an extensive European and South American racing history, and a rich provenance that counts prominent collectors and a leading Ferrari historian among its previous owners. Well-known and highly regarded among marque experts, this is a significant early Ferrari that possesses every quality one looks for in a collectible automobile: aesthetic beauty, mechanical sophistication, exclusivity in numbers, a fantastic racing history, and exceptional provenance. Furthermore, it is eligible for virtually every major concours d’elegance and, as a veteran of the 1953 Mille Miglia, the exclusive historic running of that classic open road race.
One of the most fascinating and historically rich examples of this rare breed, 0274 MM is an outstanding representative of the last generation of Vignale-bodied Ferraris and a true prize for the connoisseur.