Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Scaglietti
*Please note that the original jack does not accompany the sale of this car.
Marchasi Osvaldo, Rome, Italy (acquired circa 1964)Current Owner (acquired via official Ferrari Dealer V.E.C.A.R. in Rome, June 1966)
By the early 1960s, Ferrari’s racing and street cars began to diverge, with the Scuderia’s competition cars becoming ever more specialized and the road cars reflecting buyers’ growing demands for comfort and luxury. Debuted at Paris in 1962, the Grand Touring-oriented 250 GT Lusso of 1963-64 was quite similar in appearance to the outgoing 250 GT SWB Berlinettas of 1959-62 and heralded the shift in Ferrari’s road models. Designed by Torino’s Pininfarina with incredibly thin roof pillars delivering excellent visibility, the Lusso’s sleek body was beautifully rendered by Scaglietti mostly in steel, with the doors, hood, and trunk lid made of aluminum.
The Lusso’s chassis and engine were closely related to those employed by the competition-specification 250 GT SWB and 250 GTO. The Colombo-designed 60° SOHC V-12 was only somewhat detuned for road use with triple, as opposed to six, Weber twin-choke carburetors and lower 9.2:1 compression, with output rated at 240 hp to 250 hp at 7,000 rpm. Performance was brilliant as expected, with Road & Track citing 0-60 acceleration in 8 seconds, the quarter-mile in 16.1 seconds at 91 mph, and 150 mph flat out. Famous Lusso owners populated a list of the era’s luminaries, including Battista “Pinin” Farina, the head of the Pininfarina design works that designed the Lusso, and Hollywood’s King of Cool, Steve McQueen, whose glamorous photo shoot with his Lusso appeared in the pages of Esquire. Just 350 of these achingly beautiful performers were built during 1963 and 1964. Today, they remain a tour de force on all levels that defies the passage of time.
Numbered 4365, this very special example is even more desirable as quite likely one of the most fascinating of its rare breed. Coming to market for the first time after 50 years of loving single ownership and care, 4365 represents a true landmark offering at auction. The consignor, a lady with a passion for high-performance cars, owned such diverse cars as an AC Ace Bristol and a Tri-Power/four-speed Pontiac Bonneville 389. She was introduced to racing’s inner circle by a family friend, a successful restaurateur and racing driver. Time spent at the Nassau Speed Week, Sebring, and Daytona led to friendships with many of the top personalities in motorsport during the mid-1960s and a growing passion for the beautiful 250 GT Lusso, which emerged as the consignor’s object of automotive desire.
While beginning her search for a suitable Ferrari to purchase, personal friends assisted, including members of Scuderia Ferrari’s mid-1960s roster such as Lorenzo Bandini, Michael Parkes, and Ludovico Scarfiotti. During the spring of 1966, the quest for the right Ferrari moved to Europe, set against an incredible backdrop including a lengthy Continental vacation, a visit to set during the filming of John Frankenheimer’s racing epic Grand Prix, and the activity at Scuderia Ferrari’s paddocks. Recent conversations with the consignor crystallized this particularly wonderful moment in time, when racing drivers and their teams were far less removed from their fans and supporters, and the new crop of American drivers proved their mettle against the sport’s long-reigning European masters.
Ferrari F1 driver Michael Parkes provided this prospective Lusso-buyer with a cloth-bound Ferrari Dealer Directory. His handwritten note to the dealers he recommended reads: “I would be most grateful if you could help my friends on the purchase of a used car.” After seeing a number of available Ferrari models, the consignor purchased Lusso 4365 via Maurizio Grana’s V.E.C.A.R. SRL, the official Ferrari dealer based in Rome. Wonderful records document the purchase, which was completed on behalf of the consignor by her mother. Next, the consignor drove the Lusso to Modena and the Ferrari factory, where it was test-driven by Lorenzo Bandini and Parkes, checked over by Ferrari factory representatives, and given an interior retrim in tan leather by Scaglietti. Not only was this Lusso approved by the drivers and Ferrari engineers, it also caught the eye of Enzo Ferrari, who stated to the consignor, “This is the most beautiful model car I ever built.” She agreed with him wholeheartedly, replying the Lusso was the only car she would seriously consider. Its beautiful bodylines and design swayed her, especially in the unusual smoke gray paint. Additionally, the consignor and her mother were given an extremely rare tour of the Scuderia Ferrari workshops. During the visit, 4365 was photographed directly in front of the entrance to the Ferrari factory.
Following shipment to the US, the Lusso was carefully stored, sparingly but appropriately driven, and remained a beloved constant through the intervening years. Only the consignor and a select few have ever driven the car; to prevent the ravages of time, the consignor’s husband constructed a climate-controlled “garage within a garage” within their horse farm. A cosmetic restoration was performed between 1991 and 1993 by Exoticar in Frenchtown, New Jersey, and the Lusso’s three-liter Colombo V-12 engine was rebuilt by her regular mechanic, a factory-trained Ferrari technician at Auto-Elite in Tenafly, New Jersey. While the Lusso would certainly have been welcomed to virtually any show, the consignor was not particularly interested in showing it in judged competitions; nonetheless, it won the only show it entered, the 1996 New Hope Automobile Show. While never formally raced, the Lusso has been driven in on-track exhibition laps at Bridgehampton, Watkins Glen, and Lime Rock.
The Lusso is being reluctantly offered for sale after 50 years of loving ownership. The consignor feels that it is now time for a new owner who, she hopes, will appreciate and enjoy it as she has over the past 50 years. The original jack and tool bag accompany the sale of 4365, as does dealer paperwork, the original Italian registration book, and Rome license plates, some restoration records, and an original owner’s manual in French.
Attractively presented, with a nicely patinated older restoration, this wonderful 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso is a truly thrilling find with incomparable history, offering a rare glimpse into the world of 1960s racing society and marking an opportunity for astute Ferrari collectors and enthusiasts that is unlikely to be matched.