Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Scaglietti
Angelo J. Sarubbi, West New york, New Jersey (acquired new in 1964)Jonathan Groat, Syracuse, New york (acquired circa 1973)Howard Schwarz, Batavia, New york (acquired from the above circa 1974)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Recently discovered in a New york garage after decades in static storage, this sensational 250 GT Lusso is certainly one of the most exciting recent finds of a well-preserved and largely original example.
The remarkable story of this Lusso can be traced back to October 1963, when Ferrari sent the chassis frame of 5249 GT to Carrozzeria Scaglietti in Modena to receive coachwork. Completed by the Ferrari factory that December, this Lusso, the 185th of 350 examples built, was finished in the extremely rare and handsome color scheme of black with red leather upholstery. In spring 1964, the striking Lusso was delivered to Luigi Chinetti Motors and sold from their Manhattan showroom to its first owner, Angelo J. Sarubbi of West New york, New Jersey.
A fascinating character, Mr. Sarubbi was the proprietor of a successful construction firm and served as the director of the Department of Public Works to the Township of North Bergen, before being elected mayor in the late 1950s – a position he maintained well into the late 1960s. In 1971, Mr. Sarubbi was one of two former New Jersey mayors indicted for extortion and fraud in connection with the construction of a $40 million mail processing facility for the US Post Office Department.
Clearly enamored with glamorous Italian sports cars, Mayor Sarubbi retained the black Lusso until May 1966, when he traded 5249 GT back to Chinetti Motors against a new alloy-bodied 275 GTB equipped with six carburetors and an outside fuel filler.
In September 1973, Jonathan M. Groat, an executive at the Smith-Lee Company in Oneida, New york, advertised 5249 GT for sale in the Ferrari Club of America newsletter, describing the 10-year-old Ferrari as having “fresh black lacquer with red interior, new clutch, master cylinder, booster and tie rod ends.”
Before long, the Lusso was sold to Howard Schwarz, a plant manager living in Batavia, New york. Between 1974 and 1976, 5249 GT was listed under Mr. Schwarz’s name in the Ferrari Owners Club USA membership roster. However, after 1976, the black Lusso was retired from the road and all but disappeared from the public eye.
For nearly 40 years, this beautiful Italian sports car has been confined to the comforts of a modest two-car garage on the outskirts of New York City.
As a result of its extended storage, this Lusso has seen very little use in its 51 years; and today, the odometer displays just over 20,350 miles. Though its black paintwork shows its age, and its lacquer is checked and cracking in areas, the Lusso’s interior is very well preserved with beautifully patinated red leather upholstery and matching carpets. The engine bay retains nearly all of the important ancillary components and, most signifcantly, the chassis and engine stampings – along with the factory data tag – appear clear and undisturbed.
Attesting to the car’s long-term New york-area provenance are several charming details, such as the 1975 and 1976 registration stickers afxed to the windscreen, Ferrari Club of America badge on the tail, and the mid-1970s-era New york license plate “HHS-40.”
Over the past few months, the Ferrari has been revived and now runs and drives under its own power. With a carefully executed, sympathetic mechanical recommissioning, this magnificent Lusso could almost certainly be driven and enjoyed in its present condition, making it all the more enticing.
Given its spectacular original color scheme, fascinating history, and irreplaceable character, this Lusso should hold tremendous appeal to those with a reverence for highly original, unrestored automobiles. It is virtually guaranteed to draw an appreciative audience wherever it is seen.
Significant 1960s Ferraris in this condition do not come along very often, and with the passing years it is increasingly unlikely that very many wonderfully original Lussos remain to be found. For the collector who has been searching for a distinctive, time-capsule Ferrari 250 GT, this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.