Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Scaglietti
*Please note that this car is titled as 250GTL5537.
From the Tony Shooshani CollectionCarl Walston, Portola Valley, California (acquired circa 1980)Royal Palm Motors, Pompano Beach, Florida (acquired in early 2009)Steve Wolf, Boca Raton, Florida (acquired from the above in March 2009)Shawn Williams, Los Angeles, California (acquired from the above in 2010)Tony Shooshani, Beverly Hills, California (acquired from the above in August 2013)
Arizona Concours d’Elegance, Phoenix, Arizona, January 2014 (Best in Class)
Two of the lots offered from the Tony Shooshani collection are based on the long-running 250 GT platform, and they stand apart from the other cars as true vintage Ferraris rather than modern supercars. In addition to their timeless beauty, Mr. Shooshani was intrigued by these models’ close relation to the 250 GTO, the legendary race car that was also built on a version of the 250 GT chassis, and which was equipped with the namesake 250 Colombo V-12 engine.
“The Lusso is actually the last representation of the 250 GT chassis,” Mr. Shooshani says. “That lineage is something that’s incredible to me. I wanted to have a piece of that history.”
By most accounts one of the handsomest designs ever produced in the series, the Ferrari 250 GT/L, or Lusso, is one of those rare automotive icons that encapsulates both the finest in styling and engineering. Chassis no. 5537 GT claims both a recent cosmetic restoration and a long period of single ownership, resulting in one of the finest Lussos to become available in some time.
Ferrari and Pininfarina collaborated on many models over their intertwined histories, but few have garnered such universal praise as the Lusso. First introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October 1962, the Lusso was immediately distinguished by its unique design, with delicate A-pillars and a fastback with a distinctive Kamm tail. With the sloping front grille, the Lusso immediately recalled elements of the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, whose 2,400 mm wheelbase it shared.
Mechanically, the Lusso featured the most advanced version of the three-liter Colombo V-12, tipo 168 U, as well as several chassis innovations borrowed from the 250 GTO. These advancements included the addition of a Watts linkage to stabilize the rear end, and concentric springs around the shock absorbers for improved suspension. The Lusso was the final 250-series model built, and in typical Maranello fashion it is therefore the most advanced of the group, benefiting from many developments made along the way.
In addition to the GTO-related mechanical appointments, the Lusso featured a unique new interior that was centered on an instrument panel never used before or since. Two large dials, the tachometer and speedometer, were centrally located but angled toward the driver, while ahead of the driver lay a cluster of several smaller gauges. With leather upholstery and luxury amenities, the Lusso recalled the elegance of the earlier coachbuilt offerings.
Only 350 examples of the model were produced over two years, and they were owned by celebrities including Steve McQueen and Eric Clapton. The Lusso has matured into one of the most revered of all Ferrari road cars, combining race-bred mechanical underpinnings with possibly the handsomest exterior design ever conceived.
Chassis no. 5537 GT claims a recent cosmetic restoration that bolstered work performed in the late 2000s, resulting in a beautifully detailed and correctly presented example of the Ferrari classic. According to a history by marque expert Marcel Massini, this Lusso is the 275th of 350 examples built, and its frame was sent to Scaglietti for coachwork in February 1964. Completed in April, the arresting berlinetta was sold to an unrecorded owner, and the car’s history until the early 1980s remains unknown.
By 1980, the 250 Lusso was owned by Carl Walston, a currency and precious metals dealer who resided in Portola Valley, California. Mr. Walston went on to retain the rare Ferrari for over two decades, keeping it with him during a move to Greenwich, Connecticut. By the time he offered the car in the mid-2000s, the Lusso had been repainted red.
The Lusso relocated to Florida in the ensuing years, and eventually was purchased by well-known collector Steve Wolf of Boca Raton. Mr. Wolf oversaw mechanical freshening, sympathetically addressing the suspension and brakes, and installing a new exhaust system.
In early 2010, the Lusso was purchased by Ferrari dealer Shawn Williams of Los Angeles, California, and his restoration chief, FCA judge and platinum-winning restorer Rex Nguyen, supervised a freshening that focused primarily on cosmetic issues. While Blackhorse Motors of Los Angeles was retained to tune the engine and carburetors, update the brakes as needed, and to rebuild the gear-shift linkage, Nguyen administered a replating of all finishes to factory specifications, re-chroming of all brightwork, and a repaint in the vintage Ferrari color of Blu Sera.
The interior was correctly re-upholstered in beige with authentic hides from HVL in the Netherlands, which cost more than $12,000 in materials alone, as noted by restoration invoices. The blue-over-tan color scheme is simply stunning, and entranced Tony Shooshani as soon as he saw the car in 2013. “The color combination is what got me,” he recalls. “To have that Blu Sera over the tan interior; I think that’s the sexiest color combination you could ever have on a Lusso!”
Following Mr. Shooshani’s purchase, the Ferrari was presented at the Arizona Concours d’Elegance in January 2014 and won the class for Postwar European Sports Cars. Currently displaying approximately 44,000 miles, this marvelous 250 GT is the perfect realization of the Lusso’s elegance, and is particularly fetching in the current color scheme.
Chassis no. 5537 GT portends continued success on concours fields. For the enthusiast who wishes to indulge in the most advanced of the road-going series 250 GT ever built – the direct relative of the 250 GTO racecar, no less – the well-tended V-12 and plush leather interior await, sure to deliver a supremely rewarding grand touring experience. Such beautifully prepared Lussos rarely come to market, and this outstanding car, which has benefited from regular attention, promises its future owner a blue-chip example of one of automotive history’s most celebrated grand tourers.