Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Scaglietti
Doris Blackwood, Metamora, Michigan (acquired new in 1962)James Carbone, Gig Harbor, Washington (acquired from the above in 1978)Walnut Creek Ferrari, Walnut Creek, California (acquired from the above in 1984)Ferrari South, Jackson, Mississippi (acquired from the above in October 1984)James Wickstead, Mendham, New Jersey (acquired from the above in 1987)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Santa Fe Concorso, Santa Fe, New Mexico, September 2010
Anyone with even a passing interest in collector cars would agree that there is something special about the SWB Berlinetta. Beyond the typical qualities that make 250 GT Ferraris so desirable – the romantic period in which they were built, the mystique of their Italian heritage, and the skilled Modenese craftsmen who brought them into being – the SWB Berlinettas have developed a revered reputation for their exquisite beauty, brilliant performance, and all-around versatility. There is perhaps no other car that offers its owner the same consistent pleasure behind the wheel – whether one is in the midst of competition or on a night on the town. In all, just 165 examples were built and each has its own unique story to tell.
The remarkable journey of this 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, chassis 3113 GT, begins with its first owner, Doris C. Blackwood.
Born on July 16, 1896, Mrs. Blackwood was a passionate equestrian enthusiast, whose homes in Metamora, Michigan, and Tryon, North Carolina, were built on sprawling properties, each with its own stable, live-in groom, and ample pastures. Mrs. Blackwood and her husband James lived a traditional sporting lifestyle: They collected beautiful antiques, owned fine European sports cars, and were prominent members of the local hunt clubs.
In fall 1961, Mrs. Blackwood was traveling through Europe and decided to visit the Paris Auto Salon held at the Grand Palais. There, she was immediately drawn to a car on the Franco-Brittanic stand – a silver-gray Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta.
Ferrari historian Alan Boe, who maintained regular correspondence with Mrs. Blackwood over many years, tells the story of her first encounter with this SWB Berlinetta in a wonderful article published by Forza magazine titled “Second-Chance SWB.”
“Following a conversation with the people baby-sitting the Ferrari, Blackwood understood that she had bought the car and could pick it up at the factory 10 days later. However, when she arrived in Maranello she learned the car was not there and had already been sold. As you might imagine, this did not go down well with her, so she demanded an audience with Enzo Ferrari – and got it!
“The upshot of their meeting was a promise from Enzo that Blackwood could have the next silver-grey SWB Berlinetta that wasn’t presold or destined for a Ferrari concessionaire. And so, the following February she returned to Maranello, accompanied by her nephew, a student at the University of Sweden, to pick up her new Ferrari: S/n 3113. The plan was to spend two weeks touring Europe in the SWB, then ship it back to her home, Redhouse Farm, outside Metamora. However, during a stop for some skiing in Kitzbuhl, Austria, her nephew broke his ankle, so he headed back to Sweden, leaving Blackwood alone with her new Ferrari.”
In a letter to Mr. Boe, Mrs. Blackwood explains that, at this point, she headed toward Paris to visit friends and recalls some of her early misadventures in the Ferrari.
“I’ll never forget stopping at a light in Orleans and a young lad coming over from the curb and reaching in and slapping my face. Then I got lost in Paris and asked a man if he could direct me to my friend’s place near the Bois de Bologne and he did. I thought afterward what a foolish thing to do.”
After returning home, Mrs. Blackwood joined the Ferrari Club of America, becoming the club’s 46th member. During the 1960s, she was active in the local sports car scene and even opened her home to fellow enthusiasts during the very first FCA Annual Meeting, held in Detroit, October 24–25, 1964.
A summary of “The Detroit Weekend,” published in the FCA newsletter, provides a glimpse into the Blackwoods’ elegant lifestyle:
“The final stop of the Ferraris was at the beautiful, century-old farm of Mrs. James A. (Doris) Blackwood near Metamora, Michigan. Doris is interested in horses – the kind on the button of her short wheelbase Berlinetta, and the kind that eat hay and jump. The women that visited her house that Sunday afternoon could tell you much about the appointments and furnishings that the untrained eye of the male missed. But Mrs. Blackwood’s home has all the appeal and warmth that it can possibly get from a charming woman and gracious hostess. It is wonderful to meet a person like Doris who is a real Ferrari enthusiast, when we had come to think of the club as a masculine interest. Mrs. Blackwood, our collective hat is off to you for a delightful afternoon.”
Though Mrs. Blackwood developed a strong attachment to her beloved Ferrari over the next decade, by 1975, she decided to part with the car and advertised it for sale in the FCA Bulletin.
The first in line to inquire about the one-owner SWB Berlinetta was Bobby Jones, a Ferrari collector from Hobart, Indiana. In October 1975, Mr. Jones sent Mrs. Blackwood a $500 deposit and, to his surprise, it was returned days before the final payment was due. According to Mrs. Blackwood, “I just went completely to pieces and four days later called the man and told him I just could not part with the car, now or ever.”
Even though his deposit was returned, Mr. Jones was very keen on buying the Ferrari and decided to sue Mrs. Blackwood. The lawsuit attracted so much attention that the local paper published an article – “Woman sued for not selling $13,000 car” – in which Mr. Jones’ attorney explains that, “monetary damages could not make up for the loss of the ‘classic’ vehicle…It would be very difficult if not impossible to locate another vehicle of this type in exactly the same condition as this particular vehicle.”
On the advice of her lawyer, Mrs. Blackwood drove the Ferrari to Tryon, North Carolina, where she stored it in a friend’s garage. Due to a malfunctioning fuel pump, Mrs. Blackwood’s trip progressed slowly. According to her letters, “Every time I stopped for gas I left the motor running because if I didn’t I would have to put ether in the carburetors.”
In early 1977, the lawsuit settled and Mrs. Blackwood paid Mr. Jones $2,500 but was allowed to retain possession of her prized car. Around this time, her health was in decline, so she asked Mr. Boe to drive the SWB Berlinetta back to Michigan for her, ignoring the sage advice she had received in 1962: “I’ll never forget Mr. Ferrari telling me not to let anyone else drive it.”
Mr. Boe, who was vacationing with his family in South Carolina, retrieved the SWB Berlinetta from its hiding place in Tryon and embarked on the 800-mile journey with his wife and children following in their Datsun wagon. The Ferrari made it as far as Sylvania, Ohio, before the mechanical fuel pump quit, requiring the last 100 miles of the journey to be made on a flatbed.
In spring 1978, Mrs. Blackwood sold the car to James C. Carbone of Gig Harbor, Washington – a man she regarded as “an odd person to be buying a Ferrari.” Unfortunately, little is known of Mr. Carbone other than his address and the fact that he sold 3113 GT to Walnut Creek Ferrari on August 3, 1984.
On September 30, 1987, a New Jersey engineer named James Wickstead purchased the SWB Berlinetta from Ferrari South in Jackson, Mississippi. In a letter to Mr. Boe, dated February 11, 1988, Mr. Wickstead extolled the virtues of his newly acquired Ferrari:
“The condition and strength of 3113 is a wonderful education for those interested in experiencing an almost original street SWB. It s no wonder these cars did so well in racing. With all their power they have great finesse and they are absolutely forgiving!”
Soon after purchasing the Ferrari, Mr. Wickstead embarked on a sympathetic mechanical restoration that consumed the better part of a decade. During this time, he worked on the Ferrari in his home garage, tending to various projects at night and on weekends.
Although 3113 GT was in excellent and remarkably original condition, it required an engine rebuild, which led to a variety of other small projects. At this point, the suspension and braking systems were refurbished, the gearbox and steering box were inspected and resealed, and the radiator was cleaned and pressure tested. Though the coachwork was repainted in its original silver gray, either during or just after Mr. Carbone’s ownership, the interior was still entirely original, with only the seats requiring leather treatment and dying. New red carpets replaced the original gray; however, they have been preserved and accompany the sale of the car.
Once completed, the Ferrari was driven sparingly and, with the exception of an appearance at the inaugural Santa Fe Concorso, it has not been seen on the show circuit.
As a late-production SWB Berlinetta, 3113 GT ranks among the most beautiful and iconic sports cars ever built. Finished in its elegant factory-delivered color scheme and presented in remarkably original order, it is all the more enticing. Consider that it has covered less than 35,000 miles since 1962 and you have an exceptionally rare and desirable 250 Ferrari.
Here is a significant 250 Ferrari that has never required a full, ground-up restoration. Rather, it has always been maintained as needed and, as a result, gives an insight into what these cars were like when they were new. In keeping with its soulful character, 3113 GT is offered with its original keys, a full tool roll, owner’s handbooks, and a file of documentation that includes copies of important ownership records, period photos, and correspondence between Alan Boe and the Ferrari’s two long-term owners – Doris Blackwood and James Wickstead.
An SWB Berlinetta, with only the right kind of stories, is hard to come by. Very few examples possess the outstanding qualities of this car, which has been an object of desire since the 1970s. For the true collector, 3113 GT is a unique prize.