Lot 33

2016   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2016

1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione

Coachwork by Scaglietti

SOLD $18,150,000


$18,000,000 - $20,000,000


1603 GT


1603 GT

Car Highlights

One of Only Nine Alloy-Bodied LWB California Spiders
Covered Headlights, Disc Brakes, and Full Competition Specifications
Outstanding Race Record Includes 5th Overall at the 1960 12 Hours of Sebring
Platinum Award and Competizione Cup Winner at the 2011 Cavallino Classic
Ferrari Classiche Red Book Certified; Offered with Books, Tools, and Massini Report

Technical Specs

2,953 CC SOHC Type 168 V-12 Engine
Three Weber 40 DCL6 Carburetors
Estimated 275 BHP at 7,000 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Dunlop Disc Brakes
Independent Coil-Spring Front Suspension with Houdaille Shock Absorbers
Live Rear Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs with Houdaille Shock Absorbers
Register to Bid

5th Overall at the 1960 12 Hours of Sebring | Ferrari Classiche CertifiedLuigi Chinetti Motors, New York, New York (acquired new in 1959)George Reed, Homewood, Illinois (acquired from the above in 1959)Ed Zwintscher, Wisconsin (acquired circa 1969)Brian Brunkhorst, Brookfield, Wisconsin (acquired from the above in 1984)Michael Mak, Macau (acquired from the above in 1992)Dennis Machul, Oak Brook, Illinois (acquired from the above in 2000)Todd Morici, Clifton, New Jersey (acquired from the above in 2001)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2010)

Nassau Governor’s Trophy (5 Lap), December 1959, Reed, no. 95 (15th Overall, 10th in Class)Nassau Governor’s Trophy (12 Lap), December 1959, Reed, no. 95 (8th Overall, 2nd in Class)Nassau Ferrari Race, December 1959, Reed, no. 95 (6th Overall)Nassau Trophy Race, December 1959, Reed, no. 95 (23rd Overall)12 Hours of Sebring, March 1960, Reed/Connell, no. 17 (5th Overall, 3rd in Class)SCCA National Road America, September 1960, Reed (2nd Overall)Nassau Tourist Trophy, November 1960, Reed, no. 85 (3rd Overall)Nassau Governor’s Trophy, December 1960, Reed, no. 85 (DNF)Nassau Trophy Race, December 1960, Reed, no. 85 (12th Overall)SCCA National Road America, June 1961, Sharp, no. 95 (4th Overall)SCCA National Meadowdale, July 1961, Reed, no. 195 (8th Overall)SCCA Regional Wilmot Hills Race 1, September 1961, Reed (3rd Overall)SCCA Regional Wilmot Hills Race 2, September 1961, Reed (2nd Overall)SCCA National Cumberland, May 1963, Reed (2nd Overall)SCCA Regional Kent Fields, May 1964, Reed

FCA Annual Meeting, Lake Lanier, Georgia, June 1989 (First in Class)Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, Rochester, Michigan, August 1989FCA National Concours, Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 1992 (3rd in Class)XII Cavallino Classic, Palm Beach, Florida, January 2003XIII Cavallino Classic, Palm Beach, Florida, January 2004XVII Cavallino Classic, Palm Beach, Florida, January 2008Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca, August 2009XX Cavallino Classic, Palm Beach, Florida, January 2011 (Competizione Cup, Platinum Award)

The Ferrari 250 California Spider is unquestionably among the most recognizable and beloved sports cars of all time. While the origins of the legendary model have been well established and the entire production run carefully documented by devoted historians, the exceptionally rare competition variants were built to highly individualized specifications and, as a result, do not fall into a single, all-encompassing category.

Although the California Spider was envisioned and marketed as a dual-purpose sports car, only a limited number of the glamorous open Ferraris left the factory in race-ready trim. By 1950s standards, all that was required to transform a California Spider into a serious racing car was a tuned engine and a lightweight aluminum body. Nevertheless, only nine LWB California Spiders were originally constructed with alloy coachwork, and of those, an even smaller number left the factory with competition features. As the alloy-bodied Spiders were produced on a one-off basis throughout the 50-car production run, no two are exactly alike, and all nine examples display significant differences, both mechanically and aesthetically.

Despite their limited production and lack of direct factory support, the California Spider Competiziones achieved impressive results at the height of international racing. From 1959 to 1961, alloy-bodied California Spiders won their class at major events (Sebring, Bridgehampton, Nassau, and Watkins Glen) and dominated the SCCA’s B and C Production classes.

Given its ideal specification, outstanding five-year racing history, and exceptional presentation, the LWB California Spider Competizione presented here, chassis 1603 GT, is widely regarded as the most desirable example of this rare breed.

Completed on November 23, 1959, 1603 GT is among the last LWB California Spiders produced. As such, it is built on the highly developed 508 D chassis, which incorporated myriad improvements made during the model’s two years in production. According to Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, this California Spider is also the very first example to be equipped from new with Dunlop disc brakes. In total, just 10 LWB California Spiders were equipped with disc brakes, a feature that greatly improved overall performance and became standard on all subsequent Ferrari models.

Mechanically, 1603 GT is a true standout among LWB California Spiders. Not only was it the first example supplied with disc brakes, it was specified with a competition gearbox (with a ribbed aluminum casting for improved cooling), a limited-slip differential, and an oversized 136-liter fuel tank, fed through a competition-style external fuel filler.

Consistent with this competition equipment, 1603 GT was also equipped with the outside-plug Tipo 168 engine, the latest version of the classic Colombo V-12. This engine, the same type found in the Competition SWB Berlinettas, was developed from Ferrari’s magnificent 250 Testa Rossa sports racing cars and installed in just four LWB California Spiders. The engine supplied in 1603 GT (internal no. 22F) was factory-equipped with Testa Rossa-type cylinder heads, featuring high-lift Tipo 130 camshafts and 9.8:1 compression – the highest known ratio of any LWB California Spider. Breathing through three Weber 40 DCL6 carburetors topped with velocity stacks and an Abarth competition exhaust, this engine developed between 275 and 280 genuine horsepower – approximately 50 hp more than a standard LWB California Spider.

Once the potent chassis was completed, 1603 GT was sent to Carrozzeria Scaglietti in Modena, where it received lightweight aluminum coachwork, finished in the ultra-desirable covered-headlamp arrangement.

The Ferrari was then shipped to Luigi Chinetti Motors, the main supplier of racing Californias, and immediately sold to George Reed of Homewood, Illinois. Well known to many American enthusiasts, George Reed was the founder of RRR Racing, as well as a successful Goodyear distributor and the official Ferrari agent for Illinois and Wisconsin.

Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Reed was an active competitor in major events, regularly running at Le Mans and Sebring, and making numerous appearances at the Bahamas Speed Week and SCCA events throughout the Midwest. During this period, Reed was always seen with the most exotic European and domestic machinery. He owned and drove the best Ferraris, a Maserati 300S, as well as Porsche Speedsters, Shelby Cobras, and racing Corvettes.

As soon as the California Spider arrived in Reed’s hands, it was transported to Nassau for the Bahamas Speed Week, an international festival that attracted the most competitive European teams as well as the top US privateers. There, Reed drove 1603 GT in the 5- and 12-lap Governor’s Trophy, the Ferrari race, and Nassau Trophy race, performing well in his new car.

After Nassau, 1603 GT went through extensive testing and preparation in anticipation of its next appearance at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 1960. For the FIA-sanctioned endurance event, Reed enlisted Alan Connell as his co-driver, based on the Texan’s experience in endurance events. Reed also removed the California Spider’s bumpers, installed a chrome roll bar, taped the headlamps, and placed a marker light on the passenger door.

Wearing race no. 17, Reed and Connell battled throughout the afternoon and evening, and had, by morning, moved toward the head of the field. When the checkered flag dropped, the pair had achieved an incredible result with the Ferrari 5th Overall and 3rd in Class. At the finish, they were just 11 laps behind the victorious Porsche RS60 and placed well ahead of two other California Spiders. Had the Ferrari’s new disc brakes been homologated in time for the race, they would have won their class.

In September 1960, 1603 GT finished second overall in the SCCA National held at Road America. At the Bahamas Speed Week later that year, Reed drove the California to 3rd Overall in the Tourist Trophy and 12th Overall in the Nassau Trophy – outstanding results for a GT car. Between 1961 and 1964, 1603 GT regularly contested SCCA races in the Midwest, battling with the Corvettes, Cobras, and SWB Berlinettas that made up the B Production grids of the day.

After the 1964 season, Reed finally retired 1603 GT from service and sold the Ferrari to a resident of Kenosha, Wisconsin. By the end of the decade the Ferrari had been sold to Ed Zwintscher, a house painter in Wisconsin who kept the aging Ferrari in static storage, where it sat undisturbed for many years in as-raced condition.

In 1984, Brian Brunkhorst, a great collector with discriminating taste, acquired 1603 GT and sent it to Wayne Obry’s Motion Products Inc. in Neenah, Wisconsin, one of the leading restorers of competition Ferraris. In his care, the body and chassis were fully restored with great effort to save as much of the original aluminum coachwork as possible. At this time, the engine and gearbox were sent to Ferrari specialist Rick Bunkfeldt at Vintage Restoration Services Inc. for a complete rebuild. The completed car was then finished in dark blue with a tan interior.

In 1989, Mr. Brunkhorst displayed the California at the 25th Ferrari Club of America annual meeting, where it received a First in Class award, and later showed the car at the prestigious Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance. In the early 1990s, the car was sold to noted collector Michael Mak, who traded it to Dennis Machul for another significant Ferrari in 2000. The following year, Todd Morici acquired 1603 GT, and he campaigned it in several major vintage races before refinishing the car in its original Sebring livery. During Mr. Morici’s ownership, 1603 GT was certified by the Ferrari Classiche Department, which confirmed it as an authentic example, retaining its original chassis, body, engine, gearbox, rear end, and other major components.

The current owner acquired 1603 GT in 2010 and immediately commissioned Bob Smith Coachworks in Gainesville, Texas, to perform a selective cosmetic restoration. Completed in January 2011, the California Spider was displayed at the annual Palm Beach Cavallino Classic, where it earned an FCA Platinum Award and the prestigious Competizione Cup for the most outstanding competition Ferrari. It is presented today in pristine condition and is offered for sale with a tool roll, owner’s handbooks, correct bumpers, and period-correct roll bar, along with important documentation, the Ferrari Classiche Red Book, and a history report compiled by Marcel Massini.

In his definitive book on the model, the great Ferrari historian Stanley Nowak stated, “In many respects 1603 GT must be considered one of the most desirable competition Californias.” We at Gooding & Company most certainly agree, having known and admired this exceptional car for many years. Considering its incredible rarity, superb racing record, and faultless presentation, this alloy-bodied California Spider is surely among the greatest Ferrari competition cars and, quite possibly, the ultimate open 250 GT.