SANTA MONICA, Calif. (February 12, 2016) – Gooding & Company, the auction house acclaimed for selling the world’s most significant and valuable collector cars, is privileged to announce the addition of a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider (estimate $15,000,000-$17,000,000) to be sold at the Amelia Island Auction on March 11, 2016. This highly coveted Ferrari is the 22nd SWB California Spider built and one of only 37 covered-headlight examples produced. Remarkably, it has been in the loving care of the current owner for over 30 years.
“We are thrilled to present this California Spider to our clients,” states David Gooding, President and Founder of Gooding & Company. “With only three owners from new and a rich and fascinating history, this covered-headlight SWB California Spider has never before been offered for public sale and is being presented for the first time outside of Italy.”
Ferrari introduced the 250 GT California Spider in 1957 on their long-wheelbase (LWB) chassis for the booming North American market. Ferrari’s leading US dealers, Luigi Chinetti and John von Neumann, requested from the factory a dual-purpose sports car that was highly capable on the racetrack, but comfortable for use as a daily driver. In 1960, with the introduction of Ferrari’s new short-wheelbase (SWB) 250 GT Berlinetta chassis, Ferrari thoroughly redesigned the California Spider. The new 250 GT SWB California Spider benefitted from a much more sophisticated chassis, along with standard four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes, a refined suspension setup and new outside-plug engines. The renowned Italian coachbuilder, Scaglietti, redesigned the California Spider’s coachwork around the updated chassis, resulting in a much more aggressive and sporting appearance. Despite being a more refined and well-rounded sports car, the SWB California Spiders were true thoroughbreds, with several examples raced at events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Targa Florio. Between 1960 and 1963, Ferrari built just 56 examples of the SWB variant, with only 37 being highly sought after covered-headlight versions.
The Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider presented here, chassis 2871 GT, is among the most desirable SWB California Spiders. The Ferrari was purchased new in Milan, Italy by the famed Italian industrial designer, Gianfranco Frattini in September, 1961. While in Mr. Frattini’s care, chassis 2871 GT was featured in the Italian film Ieri, Oggi, Domani (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow), which starred Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. Mr. Frattini lovingly owned the car for 17 years before selling it to Terzo Dalia in June, 1978. Mr. Dalia participated in two Ferrari events in the early-1980s before selling 2871 GT to the current owner in December, 1985. This important Ferrari has been with its current owner for the last 30 years, is well-documented by Ferrari historian, Marcel Massini, and is presented the classic color combination of red with a black interior. This exemplary California Spider, with a celebrated provenance and featuring only three owners from new, offers the astute collector the opportunity to own a piece of Ferrari history.