Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Scaglietti
Luigi Chinetti, New York, New York (acquired new in 1960)Dr. Harvey Schur, Scarsdale, New York (acquired from the above in 1960)Gil Horton, Jamestown, North Dakota (acquired in 1962)Mark Slotkin, California (acquired from the above in 1967)Charles Betz and Fred Peters, Orange, California (acquired from the above in 1970)Dr. Philip Bronner, Rancho Palos Verdes, California (acquired from the above in 1973)Peter Giddings, Walnut Creek, California (acquired from the above in 1980)Tom Mudd, Woodside, California (acquired from the above in 1983)Private Owner, England (acquired from the above in 2002)Peter LeSaffre, Andover, Massachusetts (acquired from the above in 2005)John Kotts, Houston, Texas (acquired from the above in 2006)Private Collection, England (acquired from the above in 2012)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
24 Hours of Le Mans, June 1960, Hugus/Pabst, No. 19 (7th Overall, 4th in Class)Black Otter Hillclimb, June-July 1962, Horton7th Overall at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans | NART Team Car, Driven by Ed Hugus and Augie Pabst
FOC USA Hillclimb, Virginia City, Nevada, September 1973Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca, California, August 1975Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca, California, August 1976Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca, California, August 1977Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca, California, August 1978Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca, California, August 1979Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca, California, August 1980Palm Beach Cavallino Classic XV, Palm Beach, Florida, January 2006Palm Beach Cavallino Classic XVI, Palm Beach, Florida, January 2007
At the Paris Auto Salon, held at the Grand Palais in October 1959, Ferrari unveiled an all-new 250 GT Berlinetta, creating excitement among enthusiasts around the world.
Now known as the short-wheelbase (SWB) berlinetta, the new Ferrari featured a revised 250 GT chassis that had been carefully developed by three talented young engineers – Giotto Bizzarrini, Carlo Chiti, and Mauro Forghieri. Distinguished from its predecessor by its shorter wheelbase (2,400 mm versus 2,600 mm) and disc brakes, the new berlinetta featured attractive coachwork designed by Pinin Farina in Torino and executed by Carrozzeria Scaglietti in Modena.
The 250 GT SWB Berlinetta was available in road-going form, with a steel body or, in competition specification, with lightweight aluminum coachwork. The alloy-bodied cars were typically tailored to the demands of their first owner, who, depending on the type of races he planned to enter, could request a variety of special equipment.
The 250 GT SWB Berlinetta presented here, chassis no. 1759 GT, is the sixth example built and among the very first competition cars completed for the 1960 model year, which are now referred to simply as the Comp/60s. As noted on Ferrari build sheets for 1759 GT, this car was purpose-built to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most famous and challenging endurance race. Built between January and March 1960, this SWB Berlinetta was equipped with the latest Tipo 168 outside-plug V-12 engine, featuring Testa Rossa cylinder heads, Weber 40 DCL6 carburetors, velocity stacks, and 9.9:1 compression – possibly the highest ratio ever specified on a 250 GT Ferrari. No. 1759 GT may have also been the first Ferrari fitted with the famous SNAP exhaust extractors.
On April 27, 1960, the Berlinetta Competizione was tested at Monza, a high-speed track ideal for simulating the conditions at Le Mans. There, a team of factory drivers, including Phil Hill, Richie Ginther, and Wolfgang von Trips, test-drove 1759 GT, which can be easily identified in photos by its distinctive rear brake cooling scoops on the rocker panels just ahead of the rear wheels.
On June 18, 1960, Ferrari sold 1759 GT to US distributor Luigi Chinetti Motors in New York, who sold the car to Dr. Harvey Schur, a long-term client and financial backer. The Ferrari was then registered on Italian export license plates “EE 02016,” and final preparations were made for its racing debut.
At Le Mans, Chinetti’s North American Racing Team operation was responsible for four Ferraris – a TR59, two Competition Berlinettas, and a Competition California Spider – all sequentially numbered from 17 to 20. Chassis 1759 GT, which wore no. 19, was decorated with NART insignias, a white and blue noseband, and bold white stripes running diagonally along the passenger’s side. In addition to these distinctive markings, the SWB Berlinetta had its front bumperettes removed for the race, a Plexiglas bug deflector placed on the hood, and an aluminum roll bar installed. Ed Hugus and Augie Pabst, who had just come from an impressive 4th Place finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring, drove 1759 GT, battling day and night against the competition while being pounded by a rainstorm.
Robert Birmingham gives the following account of the race in his book Augie Pabst: Behind the Wheel:
“Racing down the long Mulsanne Straight in the rain created serious problems when the wipers floated about half an inch off the windscreen and the windows fogged up. As cars made their routine pit stops, crew members threw rags into the cockpit so that the drivers could periodically wipe the inside of the windows. This may sound easy, but at speeds of up to 160 miles per hour it was a task that required a good deal of concentration. As night fell, the rain began to ease and Pabst and Hugus settled into a rhythm. By the sixteen-hour mark they had risen to seventh place, and remained there for the duration. Seventh overall and fourth in the GT category was their final placing. The Ferrari performed well, and they experienced no serious problems during the race.”
Ferrari completely dominated Le Mans in 1960, with the factory’s TR59, driven by Olivier Gendebien and Paul Frère, taking overall honors. No. 1759 GT was one of four SWB Berlinettas to finish in the Top 10 – a remarkable feat and a testament to the strength, reliability, and outright performance of the new Ferrari GTs.
Following its impressive performance at Le Mans, 1759 GT was exported to the US and prepared for Dr. Schur, who requested that Chinetti Motors change the instruments from kilometers to miles per hour.
In 1962, Gilbert Horton, the proprietor of Sportstown & Import Motors in Jamestown, North Dakota, traded in his alloy-bodied LWB California Spider (chassis 1639 GT) for 1759 GT, which was then being offered for sale by Pallotti & Pool, a dealership in Hartford, Connecticut. Early on in his ownership, Mr. Horton entered the SWB Berlinetta in the 1962 Black Otter Hillclimb in Billings (an annual event organized by the Montana Sports Car Club) and drove the car to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, to watch the 500-mile race at Road America in September 1962.
In 1967, Mr. Horton sold 1759 GT to California resident Mark Slotkin, who, three years later, sold the car to well-known Ferrari enthusiasts Charles Betz and Fred Peters. In 1973, Betz and Peters sold the SWB Berlinetta to Philip Bronner, a psychiatrist in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Throughout the 1970s, Dr. Bronner participated in a variety of vintage races with 1759 GT, running it at the Ferrari Owners Club USA Hillclimb in Virginia City, Nevada, and the Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca every year from 1975 to 1980.
In 1980, Dr. Bronner sold the competition Ferrari to fellow racer Peter Giddings, who enjoyed the car for three years before selling it to Tom Mudd of Woodside, California. Mr. Mudd, who also owned a spectacular Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Touring Spider, had Kent White begin a restoration of the Ferrari, which involved disassembling the car and stripping the coachwork to bare metal. The project never progressed beyond this stage, however, and in 2002 Mr. Mudd sold 1759 GT to a private collector.
That October, the Ferrari was sent to respected marque specialist GTO Engineering in England, where a comprehensive restoration was undertaken. Once the process got underway, 1759 GT was found to be in exceptional condition, with its original aluminum bodywork intact, along with its matching-numbers engine and gearbox. Even the original door cards, with the chassis number written in chalk, remained with the car 40-plus years after leaving the Scaglietti workshop.
Since the initial restoration was completed in 2005, 1759 GT has been selectively displayed at concours such as the Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach and campaigned in vintage races. For track use, a later 250-series spare engine was installed in an effort to preserve the original unit.
The current owner, a discriminating collector with a stable of the finest sports and racing cars, has recently returned the car to GTO Engineering to have the original, matching-numbers engine reinstalled and prepare the car for use on the road rather than the track. Today, 1759 GT is simply magnificent, finished in its original Le Mans livery and carefully prepared by one of the world’s leading Ferrari specialists.
As an early-production SWB Berlinetta, 1759 GT is surely among the most beautiful sports cars ever built – the purest form of one of the most admired designs in automotive history. It is even more desirable because it was built for racing with lightweight, hand-formed aluminum coachwork.
In terms of mechanical specifications, one could scarcely ask for a more desirable 250-series Ferrari. Factory-built with disc brakes, a ribbed alloy gearbox, 120-liter aluminum fuel tank, and a full competition-spec engine with all the best factory-delivered speed equipment, this alloy-bodied SWB Berlinetta was the ultimate dual-purpose sports car of its day.
Not only is 1759 GT a significant Ferrari of unrivaled rarity and beauty, its history and provenance are second to none. Tested at Monza by Hill, Ginther, and von Trips, it was delivered new to influential US distributor Luigi Chinetti and was instrumental in NART’s four-car assault on the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans. Driven by Augie Pabst and Ed Hugus, it captured a Top 10 result at the greatest endurance race of them all. Over the past 66 years, this exceptional Ferrari has been in the hands of knowledgeable, passionate owners. It is presented with a file of important documentation that includes period photographs, copies of the original Ferrari assembly sheets, and a history report produced by marque authority Marcel Massini. In addition, Red Book Certification has been applied for and approved by the Ferrari Classiche Department.
While any alloy-bodied, competition SWB Berlinetta would be regarded as a top-tier collector car, this exceptionally original Le Mans veteran is undoubtedly a star among the best.