Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Pinin Farina
*Please note that since the time of cataloguing, Ferrari Classiche Certification has been issued for this car, and the “Red Book” certification documents accompany the sale.
W. Nilens, Belgium (acquired new in 1956 via Garage Francorchamps)Holcombe & Merritt (acquired in 1966)Paul Forbes, Costa Mesa, California (acquired circa mid-1980s)Bruce Milner, Los Angeles, California (acquired circa 2003)Tom Shaughnessy, Oceanside, California (acquired circa 2006)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Grand Prix de Spa, May 12, 1957, Race Number 30 (Result Unknown)
Brussels Motor Show, Brussels, Belgium, January 1956Quail Motorsports Gathering, Carmel Valley, California, August 2010
At the Paris Salon, held in October 1954 at the magnificent Grand Palais, Ferrari introduced an important new model – the 250 Europa GT.
The previous year, Ferrari had unveiled the 250 Europa, a companion to the exclusive 375 America. The two models were virtually identical – with the exception of engine displacement: the 375 America featured a 4.5-liter Lampredi V-12 while the 250 Europa was fitted with a Lampredi engine of three-liter capacity.
Though similar in appearance to the original 250 Europa, the new Europa GT was nothing less than a true innovation and a meaningful step in the evolution of a now legendary range of Ferraris.
The foundation of the new Europa GT was the thoroughly redesigned Tipo 508 chassis, featuring a wider track and a wheelbase about eight inches shorter than the previous model. Most significantly, the Europa GT benefited from independent coil-spring front suspension, a great improvement over the previous model’s transverse-front leaf-spring arrangement.
Whereas the original 250 Europa was powered by a three-liter version of the Lampredi long block, the new Europa GT was the first road-going 250 model to utilize the classic Colombo-designed V-12, a family of engines that can be traced back to the earliest days of the marque. The Tipo 112 engine fitted to the 250 Europa GT was really just a lightly detuned version of the engine found in the race-winning 250 MM competition models.
Not only did the Colombo engine offer exceptional performance and increased power output, it was better suited for road use, in that it was much less temperamental, easier to keep in tune, and took half the time to rebuild. It also had the added benefit of being substantially lighter than the Lampredi V-12, contributing to more balanced handling and ease of use at low speeds.
As with the original Europa, the GT chassis was almost exclusively tailored by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. The handsome design was instrumental in defining the “Ferrari look,” with its imposing egg-crate grille, elegant proportions, and restrained, yet sporting, lines. Though similar to the original 250 Europa and 375 America, Pinin Farina’s design for the 250 Europa GT is even more resolved and harmonious due to the compact scale of the chassis.
Constructed at the Ferrari factory in late 1955, this 250 Europa GT, chassis 0427 GT, was originally specified in Grigio Metallizzato (Metallic Gray) with a contrasting green top section, while its luxurious interior was upholstered in a handsome combination of gray cloth and leather trim. As completed, 0427 GT was the very last Europa GT built. The next 250 GT built by Ferrari, 0429 GT, was the first prototype for the low-roof Boano.
In January 1956, the Europa GT was delivered to Jacques Swaters’ famed Garage Francorchamps in Belgium and, later that month, the striking Pinin Farina-bodied Ferrari was a prominent display on their Brussels Motor Show stand. After serving its duties as a show car, 0427 GT was issued its certificate of origin and sold to W. Nilens, a resident of Belgium, under whose ownership it was registered as “B.0655.”
About one year later, on May 12, 1957, 0427 GT made its only competitive outing, when it took part in the Grand Prix de Spa. In this sports car race – held at the Circuit National de Francorchamps and won by Tony Brooks in a DBR1 Aston Martin – the Europa GT proved its worth as a dual-purpose GT, wearing both race number 30 and its Belgian road registration.
In 1966, after being re-registered in Belgium as “5.L.482,” 0427 GT was sold to Jude Holcombe and Richard F. Merritt of Bethesda, Maryland, and exported to the US. Some years later, the Ferrari relocated to Upstate New York, where it developed head gasket troubles and was subsequently retired from the road. In the 1980s, the Europa GT ended up in Southern California and, over the next two decades, was owned by three noted Italian car collectors: Paul Forbes, Bruce Milner, and Tom Shaughnessy.
When the current owner acquired 0427 GT in 2006, it remained in excellent original condition, having been kept of the road in static storage for almost 30 years. In fact, the Europa GT even retained its original upholstery and an old Garage Francorchamps sticker on the trunk lid.
In conducting the restoration of this important car, the consignor enlisted the talents of the most respected specialists. The Patrick Ottis Company of the Bay Area performed an exacting mechanical restoration, Brian Hoyt’s Perfect Reflections refinished the coachwork in an attractive two-tone color scheme. According to the consignor, this color combination was discovered as the base layer when the body was stripped to bare metal. Ken Nemanic’s Vintage Automotive Upholstery trimmed the upholstery using the well-preserved original interior as a foundation for authentic color, pattern, and detail.
Since this world-class, concours-quality restoration was completed in 2010, the Europa GT has only been shown once – at the exclusive Quail Motorsports Gathering in Carmel Valley, California.
In its current condition, it would be quite a challenge to fault the overall presentation of 0427 GT. Finished in an attractive color scheme and restored to an exceptional standard by the most acclaimed marque specialists on the West Coast, this marvelous Pinin Farina-bodied Europa GT possesses a visual appeal and preparation that would be difficult to improve upon. Highly regarded among knowledgeable Ferrari enthusiasts, 0427 GT is significant as the last Europa GT built and is believed to be the only example of this important model that served as both a show and competition car in period.
Those with an appreciation for the prestige, glamour, and sophistication embodied by the elegant Pinin Farina-built 250 Europa GT should recognize the sale of this exceptional 1950s Ferrari as an opportunity not to be missed.