Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Pinin Farina
The 1958 Torino Motor Show Car | Ferrari Classiche Red Book CertifiedPrince Mohammed bin Faisal Al Saud, New York City, New York (acquired new in 1959)Lyle B. Fox, Santa Monica, California (acquired from the above in 1963)Joe Marchetti’s International Autos, Chicago, Illinois (acquired from the above in 1972)Allen Powell, Mishawaka, Indiana (acquired from the above in 1973)John Clinard, Livonia, Michigan (acquired from the above in 1976)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Torino Motor Show, Torino, Italy, November 1958Concours on Rodeo, Beverly Hills, California, June 1993 (Second in Class)Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, Pebble Beach, California, August 1993Newport Beach Concours d’Elegance, Newport Beach, California, October 1995 (Second in Class)Newport Beach Concours d’Elegance, Newport Beach, California, October 1997 (Design Achievement Award)Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, Pebble Beach, California, August 2004The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering, Carmel Valley, California, August 2007 (Road & Track Trophy)
Between 1956 and 1959, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina produced a series of 41 special Cabriolets – each exquisitely designed and constructed – on Ferrari’s 250 GT chassis. The Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolets, as they are referred to today, were all constructed in Pinin Farina’s custom shop in Torino. This was done not only to maintain a superior build quality, but also to accommodate the many special requests made by Ferrari’s most important clients.
Although many detail differences can be found from car to car, nearly all of the Series I Cabriolets share the same elegant proportions and memorable design cues, such as beautiful razor-edge taillights, pronounced rear haunches, and a dramatically raked windscreen. All but four were finished with the classic covered-headlamp arrangement, and late-production examples were typically finished with full-width bumpers and driving lights behind the grille. Interiors were beautifully trimmed in Connolly leather, with unique console-mounted controls and a wrinkle-finish dashboard carrying the full complement of Veglia gauges and pastel-colored warning lights.
Compared to the sporting California Spider, its Scaglietti-bodied contemporary, Pinin Farina’s refined Cabriolet was aimed at a more mature, sophisticated buyer. This exceptional quality and style came at a price, however. When new, the Pinin Farina Cabriolet not only was the most expensive 250 GT by a wide margin, it was one of the finest, most exclusive automobiles one could buy. Factory literature states a list price of $14,950 for a new Cabriolet – $3,000 more than the California Spider, and $2,500 more than the Tour de France Berlinetta.
The Series I Cabriolet has long been regarded as one of the most successful collaborations between Ferrari and Pinin Farina and, by all accounts, is a true masterpiece of the coachbuilder’s art. In the eyes of many connoisseurs, these cars are among the most beautiful Ferraris ever made, and the model remains eminently desirable, with most held in significant private collections.
The Ferrari presented here, chassis 1079 GT, is a superb example of one of the greatest sports cars of the 1950s: a Series I Cabriolet with a fascinating, unbroken provenance, and a stunning presentation.
According to factory records, 1079 GT was completed in October 1958, making it the 35th Series I Cabriolet produced. The Pinin Farina body, internally recorded as job no. 15812, was originally finished in the understated yet striking color combination of Grigio Conchiglia (Shell Gray) with red leather upholstery. The new 250 GT made its debut on the Ferrari stand at the Torino Motor Show, held at Parco Valentino between November 5 and 16, 1958.
The impressive display, which included the first Series III 410 Superamerica, chassis 1015 SA, and a standard 250 GT Pinin Farina Coupe, was a remarkable testament to the successful partnership between the two Italian firms, and was memorialized by a picture in the 1958 Ferrari Yearbook.
According to the research of Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, 1079 GT returned to the factory following its show duties. There, the upholstery was changed from red to black, an Italian “EE” tourist registration was issued, and final preparations were made in anticipation of delivery to its first private owner, Mohammed bin Faisal Al Saud, prince of Saudi Arabia, who was then living in the US while attending Menlo College in California.
Prince Mohammed retained his Series I Cabriolet until December 1963, when Lyle B. Fox, a resident of Santa Monica, California, acquired it. The car remained in Southern California until 1972, when Mr. Fox traded it into Joe Marchetti’s International Autos, the famed Chicago-based Ferrari dealer.
In June 1973, 1079 GT was sold to Allen Powell of Mishawaka, Indiana. The deal was at least partially funded by his business partner, John Delamater of Carmel, Indiana. Mr. Delamater, an influential broker and a founding member of the Ferrari Club of America, finalized the purchase from International Autos and drove the car home to Indiana from Chicago. In March 1976, Powell and Delamater sold the Series I Cabriolet to John Clinard, a resident of Livonia, Michigan. Mr. Clinard was a passionate car enthusiast who joined the Ford Motor Company in 1972 and worked there for 38 years, during which time he held positions in marketing, public affairs, motor sport, and product planning. He was also an active vintage racer and car collector, having been mentored by Norm Silver, one of the first serious Ferrari collectors in the US. In fact, the first Ferrari Mr. Clinard ever drove was Silver’s own Series I Cabriolet, chassis 0809 GT.
At the time of Mr. Clinard’s acquisition, the Ferrari had covered just 53,764 km (approximately 33,400 miles) and still wore its front Italian “EE” tourist plate from 1959. He continued to drive the car regularly until 1981, at which time he had Mr. Powell perform a cosmetic restoration, refinishing the car in red with tan leather upholstery. After this work was completed in 1983, 1079 GT was carefully driven approximately 175 miles a year “to keep everything happy” and exhibited on rare occasions.
In 1988, Mr. Clinard relocated to Southern California, and two years later he commissioned Rod Drew’s Francorchamps of America Inc. to perform a mechanical restoration, which included attention to the engine, driveline, and chassis. In 1993, the Series I Cabriolet was displayed at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®; it returned once more to the famed 18th fairway in August 2004. Three years later, Mr. Clinard organized a special display at The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Series I Cabriolet. Remarkably, 16 of the 41 examples appeared on the lawn that day, and 1079 GT was presented with the Road & Track Trophy.
When Mr. Clinard finally made the decision to part with 1079 GT in 2015, he had the distinction of being the longest continuous owner of a Series I Cabriolet. Although the Ferrari remained quite presentable thanks to his meticulous efforts, it has since benefited from a well-executed cosmetic restoration and presents beautifully.
Returned to its original livery of Grigio Conchiglia with red leather upholstery, 1079 GT looks just as it would have when it debuted on the Ferrari stand at the Torino Motor Show in 1958. Since that event, this exceptional Series I Cabriolet has benefited from the care of just six knowledgeable owners. As such, it is an unusually correct example, as confirmed by the Ferrari Classiche department, which issued a Red Book for 1079 GT noting that the car retains its original engine (internal number 060 D), gearbox (internal number 41 D), and rear end (internal number 53 D). In addition to this important document, this Ferrari’s rich history is supported by a comprehensive documentation file that speaks to decades of responsible stewardship in the care of true enthusiasts. Included with the sale is a tool roll, jack, keys, a rare factory brochure, and a 1958 Ferrari Yearbook. Also included are correspondence between John Clinard and Pininfarina, a selection of service and restoration records, a detailed mileage log, copies of the factory build sheets, and a complete history report produced by marque authority Marcel Massini.
As Ferrari 250 GTs of all types have become increasingly sought after, the most desirable open models are especially prized and difficult to come by. These magnificent Pinin Farina Cabriolets are objects of exceptional beauty and sophistication that have long captured the interest of connoisseurs. Today, Series I Cabriolets are found only in the finest collections and continue to reward those who seek out the very best. Not only is 1079 GT a significant Ferrari of unrivaled rarity and beauty, its history and provenance are second to none.
This is a rare opportunity indeed, and we encourage serious consideration of this splendid Pinin Farina Series I Cabriolet, one of the most appealing Ferraris ever built.