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Ferrari 250 GT: Buying guide and review (1955-1964)

Ferrari 250 GT: Buying guide and review (1955-1964) Classic and Performance Car
Ferrari 250 Ferrari 250 Ferrari 250 Ferrari 250
The Ferrari 250 was the company’s first commercially successful car, which spawned a wide range of different variants over its 11-year production run. Ferrari likes to name its cars based on the capacity of individual cylinders, and since almost all 250s used the Colombo designed 3-litre V12, this is how they got their name. The tubular frame chassis and suspension setup were about the only other common components across the range.
As was the tendency of Enzo Ferrari, the 250 made its debut on the racing circuit before being offered in street legal GT form three years later. Some of the most successful and revered models were developed during this era, including the Testa Rossa and GTO. However it’s the street-legal versions that we’ll be focussing on here. 
Any 250 GT is a rare and collectable classic today, revered for their looks as well as handling and performance these Ferraris are the essence of what made the brand great.
Which one to buy?
So versatile was the 250 platform that a myriad of different models were based on it, from the 250GT Lusso and 250GT California Spyder to the hard edged 250GT SWB. Even within specific model ranges there were variations in specifications so accurate data on individual cars can be difficult to obtain.
A total production run of approximately 2250 GT cars were built over the nine year production run, and while numbers produced are low there are enough variations to appeal to a variety of tastes. It is best to take a look at each model built in a bit of detail to get a better idea of which car is best suited to your needs.
250 Europa GT: Unluke the standard Europa, the GT was the first car to use the Colombo V12 and was available between 1955 and 1956 with 34 cars built in coupe form by Pininfarina.
250 GT Berlinetta: Built between 1956 and 1959, this was commonly referred to as the ‘Tour de France’ after successfully competing in an event of the same name. It had the longer wheelbase chassis and power was upped to 240bhp. 78 cars were built.
250 GT Boano: This got its name after increased demand for a 250-based prototype prompted Pininfarina to outsource construction to Mario Boano, formerly of Ghia. 68 cars built between 1956 and 1957. When Boano moved to Fiat he left production of the remaining cars to his son-in-law Ezio Ellena. The final 50 cars became known as the 250 GT Ellena and were produced until 1958. They can be distinguished by their raised rooflines and lack of vent windows.
250 GT Pininfarina Coupe: Following on from the success of the initial Boano/Ellena models and 359 were produced between 1957 and 1961. The focus was on comfort, and Pininfarina chose clean and smooth lines for this version. Improved shock absorbers and disc brakes in 1960 were some of the running changes made.
250 GT Cabriolet: Pininfarina’s 250 GT Cabriolet Series I has become one of the most iconic 250 GT variants ever made, with approximately 36 to 40 cars made between 1957-1959 they differ from the Berlinetta cars stylistically and used the LWB chassis. The Series II cabriolets that were made from 1959 onwards had more in common with the berlinettas. Both are highly desirable cars.
250 GT Spider ‘California’: Designed by Scaglietti, this featured extensive aluminium panels and was equipped with the 240bhp 250GT Berlinetta engine. 50 LWB cars were built from 1957 until 1960 when they were replaced by the SWB versions of which 56 were made. The SWB had disc brakes and power outputs now rated at 276bhp.
250 GTE 2+2: Ferrari’s first large volume four-seater production car and the most numerous of the 250GT models with 955 made between 1959 and 1963. It retained the flowing lines of the two-seater cars and was available with a variety of spec levels.
250 GT SWB Berlinetta: Available in a variety of road and race trims between 1960 and 1963. It had disc brakes and varying power outputs between 230 and 276bhp allowing it to garner some good results in various motorsport events. 168 cars were produced. 75 cars had aluminium bodies while the balance had standard steel body shells.
250 GT Lusso: Italian for Luxury, the Lusso was built by Scaglietti from 1962 until the end of all 250 GT production in 1964. 351 were made and these cars focussed on uprated interior trim and long distance cruising. 
There is a lot of overlap in trim and engine specifications across these models and prices vary based on rarity and history. Getting the exact one you want can be limited by availability, but all 250 GTs share a common DNA and you are unlikely to be disappointed by any of these beautiful classics.
Performance and specs

1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB
Engine 2953cc 12-valve SOHC V12 
Power 276bhp @ 7000rpm 
Torque 192lb ft @ 6000rpm
Top speed 145mph 
0-60mph 7.0 seconds 
Fuel consumption N/A mpg 
Gearbox Four-speed manual
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2400mm
Length 4318mm
Width 1600mm
Height 1270mm
Weight 957kg
Common problems
Despite the multi-million pound values of some 250 GTs, not all sell for record-breaking prices. There are still a few ‘barn finds’ out there that crop up from time to time, and if you are considering restoring one of these cars it is worth checking up the values of restored versions of similar models to see whether you will overcapitalise or not.

• Any sort of restoration should only be entrusted to Ferrari specialists, as the value in these cars is strongly based on originality and matching numbers for the chassis, engine and transmission. With the variety of cars built there are some out there that have been converted from less desirable variants. These can offer great value, if you know exactly what you are buying.

• Well-documented maintenance files should be on hand to verify the provenance of any 250 GT you consider. Ferrari Classiche certification is recommended, but not always necessary.

• Parts and trim items are not always readily available, so becoming a Ferrari club member and getting in touch with the Ferrari classic division is recommended.

• Body shells varied greatly across the variants, a mix of steel and aluminium construction and being hand built means that repairs need to be carried out by specialists. Rust can occur in wheel arches and foot wells if cars are left in humid environments.
Model history
1955: 250 Europa GT production starts
1956: 250 Europa GT production ends with 34 cars built. 250 GT Boano and 250 GT LWB ‘Tour de France’ production starts
1957: 250GT Boano production ends with 68 cars built
250GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series I, Pininfarina Coupe, Ellena and LWB Spyder California begins production
1958: 250GT Ellena production ends with 50 cars made
1959: 250GT LWB –‘Tour de France’ production ends with 78 cars made. 250GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series I ends production with 40 cars made. 250GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series II and 250GTE 2+2 production starts
1960: Disc brakes introduced on most 250 variants. 250GT LWB Spyder California production ends with 50 manufactured. 250GT SWB and 250GT SWB Spyder California production starts
1961: 250GT Pininfarina Coupe production ends with 359 cars made
1962: 250GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series II ends production with 41 made. 250GT Lusso production starts
1963: 250GTE 2+2 production ends with 955 cars produced. 250GT SWB production ends with 168 built. 250GT SWB Spyder California production ends with 56 cars made
1964: All 250 GT production ceases with the final Lusso variants ending with 351 cars built
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• www.ferrariownersclub.co.uk
• independentferrariservicing.co.uk
• www.ferrariclubracing.co.uk
Summary and prices
Prices vary as much as the variety of 250 GT’s that were made.  SWB California Spiders and SWB 250GTs regularly top auction charts, and as of 2015 four of the top ten highest prices paid were for 250 GTs. Suffice it to say these cars have a very strong following, and the recent record highs of £10m prove the point. 250 GTs needing some work still sell for high prices, with the cheapest 250 GT in need of restoration will be found for around £300,000 and up. ‘Standard’ 1959 coupes start at around £500,000 up to £4m. Well maintained Lussos are found somewhere in the middle at around £1.6m.

Words: John Tallodi // Images: Octane
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Last updated: 9th Dec 2015
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Ferrari 250
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  • Lot 141

    1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione by Scaglietti

    $14,000,000 - $17,000,000 est. (£0 - £0 est.) $14,000,000 - $17,000,000 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 06 Dec 2017
    Sotheby's 10th Floor Galleries, New York
    Auction Date: 06 Dec 2017
    $14,000,000 - $17,000,000 est. (£0 - £0 est.) $14,000,000 - $17,000,000 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 06 Dec 2017
    RM Sotheby's
    +1 519 352 4575 View contact number
  • 1964 Ferrari 250GT/L/SOLD


    1964 Ferrari 250GT/L/SOLD When the 250GT "Lusso" was introduced at the Paris Salon in 1962 it was a overwhelming hit with enthusiasts and the motoring press alike, all agreeing that it may just be the best Ferrari ever built! Fifty five years later it remains one of Ferrari's and designer Scagletti's finest creations. We are thrilled to be able to offer this absolutely flawless car from long term private ownership where it was maintained to highest standards by world class Ferrari experts. Every detail is in truly exceptional condition including all cosmetics and all mechanical components. There is no sorting out to do with this car... just drive it, or show it and take home trophies. The car is matching numbers, of course, is presented in its original factory delivered colors of silver with a red interior, the tool roll is complete and a Massini Report is in hand. We respectfully invite your inquiries. Please call or email for complete details/SOLD

    • Year: 1964
    For sale
  • Ferrari 250 GT Boano


    The 250 GT Boano has been delivered in Italy in 1956 to its first owner Piero Volpi living in Milano/Italy. It seems that he kept the car until 1965 when it was bought by an Austrian new owner from Vienna. The car still carries its Austrian so called "Einzelgenehmigung" which is the old Austrian logbook still valid today. By this the history of our Boano is perfectly documented having had only four owners in Austria and up from 1999 just one owner in Germany who has kept the Boano in his climate controlled garage as an important piece of his famous Ferrari collection. The Boano on offer represents with SN # 0505 GT the first 250 GT ever made at the works of Mario Boano. The "Number One" Boano carries some very interesting details compared to later cars. The roof line is lowered by another 2 cm, it is equipped with alloy inner fenders and has an earlier type of gearbox having been used for the Europa GT and early Tour de Frances. The last Austrian owner commisioned a nut and bolt restoration in the late nineties to the famous and well known shop of Egidio Brandoli near to Modena. The interior work has been carried out at the most famous company Fratelli Lupi which was the original F

    • Year: 1956
    For sale
  • Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Coupe


    The 250 GT Pininfarina Coupe Series II has been completely restored in the nineties. It might be very difficult to find a near to perfect Pininfarina Coupe in similar condition.There are very few owners around which commisioned a complete restoration on a Pininfarina Coupe. Over the years these very elegant cars never have been appreciated so much that it seemed to be a financial risk to go through a complete restoration. But in this case the owner decided to spend a restoration regardless of costs because he wanted to add this 250 GT Pininfarina Coupe to his famous and wonderful collection. The car is in near to new condition never really been driven after the restoration. It is a great chance to buy a car which will be quite difficult to find in its marvellous condition. It is the later type car of its kind which is being equipped already with the disc brake system. Price: on request Note: For correct viewing please enable JavaScript.

    • Year: 1960
    For sale
  • Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Serie II


    The Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II has been sold by the factory to the Italian dealership Malago. It carried originally the very elegant colour combination as mouse grey metallic with a dark red interior. It was acquired by an American Ferrari enthusiast already in the seventies when it appeared in Pennsylvania and later in Ohio. It was offered in the seventies obviuosly repainted into black with a new black interior. In the late eighties it was part of Bill Kontes "The checkered Flag collection" in New Jersey who kept it obviously for more than ten years. In this time the odometer has shown an overall mileage of 73 872 km's. It left the US in 1999 bought by a Netherland based Ferrari enthusiast. In its new home the 250 GT Cabriolet was frequently used for rallyeing and participating at Ferrari club events until we purchased it in 2005. The odometer was showing a mileage of near to 80 000 km which we believe might be the original overall mileage of the car. Since then we carried out a major cosmetic restoration changing the outside colour into Argento metalizzato with a dark red interior. The engine compartment had been detailed in our workshop and lots of necessary work was ca

    • Year: 1961
    For sale
  • Ferrari 250 GT Coupé Pininfarina '59

    €650,000(£0) €650,000(£0)

    A number of important developments occurred during 250GT production - the original 128C 3.0-litre engine being superseded by the twin-distributor 128D, which in turn was supplanted in 1960 by the outside-plug 128F engine which did away with its predecessor's siamesed inlets in favour of six separate ports - on the chassis side, four-wheel disc brakes arrived late in 1959 ... providing the 250GT with stopping power to match its speed - a four-speeds-plus-overdrive gearbox following in 1960, the former at last Specifications Bodywork Length: cm (in): 470 (185) Width: cm (in): 170 (67) Height: cm (in): 135 (53) Wheelbase: cm (in): 260 (102.4) Weight: kg (lb): 1277 (2815) Mechanics . Displacement: V12 2953 cc (180 cu in), front-mounted Valve gear: 24 Fuel system: 3 Weber carbs Gearbox: 4-speed, manual Driven wheels: rear-wheel drive Maximum power: 237 hp at 7000 rpm Maximum torque: 245 Nm at 5000 rpm Maximum speed: 241 km/h (150 mph) >>>>> Oldtimerfarm specializes in consignment sales of vintage and collection cars and we are proud to present you this car. Oldtimerfarm is located in Belgium, 9880 Aalter, Steenweg op Deinze 51C, where this car is in our showroom. We are open from Tuesda

    • Year: 1959
    For sale
    €650,000(£0) €650,000(£0)
  • 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Recreation


    1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Recreation s/n 3343, Engine no. 4703 Rosso Corsa with Blue Cloth Seats The Ferrari GTO needs no introduction to automotive enthusiasts. Equally famous for its dominance in the international racing scene as for its astronomical eight figure values, the GTO is perhaps the ultimate classic Ferrari. Today they are among the world’s most historically significant and valuable cars. When new, they were highly successful in international motor racing, winning the world sports car championship in 1962, 1963, and 1964. Today, the majority of GTOs have been long since acquired by sophisticated collectors and are thus out of reach for most people, even Ferrari collectors. Consequently, high quality reconfigurations carrying Ferrari chassis and serial numbers, Ferrari engines, and alloy bodies of the original style and construction type, have garnered the interest of enthusiasts seeking the experience of owning and driving one of the world’s most important automobiles without the out-of-reach price tag or uneasiness associated with enjoying such a valuable car. This particular car is an outstanding example, believed to have been constructed in the early 1980s by Favre, who

    • Year: 1962
    • Mileage: 250 mi
    For sale
  • 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta Re-creation


    The 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta Recreation being offered is one of the finest of the GTO replicas built, and is based on one of Ferrari’s original road cars of the period, the 250 GTE 2+2. Considered by enthusiasts as the best possible basis for a 250 GTO reproduction, GTEs were built along three series from 1959 to 1963, with a chassis that is similar in its layout and dimensions to that of the original 250 GTO. 3781 GT was built in France during 1988-1989 using original 250 GTE chassis 3781 GT, which was sold new in France and once owned by Jacques Entremont, who commissioned its conversion to a faithfully executed 250 GTO recreation. Alain Garnier, who was one of the first builders of 250 GTO replicas, accomplished the bulk of the work. Its stunningly recreated GTO bodywork features hand-beaten aluminum alloy panels, while its chassis dimensions, brakes, steering and suspension components are of the same specification as those of the 250 GTO. Finishing work was completed by Philippe Billot in Cannes, France, including the glass and Plexiglas side and rear windows for the car. A set of iconic Borrani wire-spoke wheels and Dunlop racing tires round out the exterior package. Ch

    • Year: 1963
    For sale