Villa Erba

25 May 2013

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Lot 137

1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet by Pininfarina

  • Chassis no. 2533GT
  • Engine no. 2533GT

Sold for €834.400

240 bhp, 2,953 cc single overhead camshaft V-12 engine, four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive, independent front suspension with unequal length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and parallel trailing arms, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,600 mm (102.4 in.)

  • Elegant Pininfarina design
  • One of only 202 examples built
  • Matching-numbers example; Ferrari Classiche certified

With the introduction of the Scaglietti-bodied California Spider in early 1958, Ferrari found itself with an unusual dilemma, in that it was now producing two very similar open-bodied cars. Though the Pininfarina-designed 250 GT Cabriolet that had debuted a year earlier was far more luxurious in character than the spider (and was based on the concurrent grand touring PF Coupé rather than the Tour de France Racing Berlinetta on which the spider was founded), in outward appearance the cabriolet and the spider bore a number of physical similarities that unintentionally blurred each car’s individual purpose, somewhat muddling the model line for the casual buyer.

Seeking to further differentiate their coachwork from Scaglietti’s car, Pininfarina designed a new body that debuted on the so-called Series II Cabriolet at the 1959 Paris Salon. Essentially a more closely related open-top version of the elegant 250 GT PF Coupé already in production, Pininfarina’s new cabriolet featured a rounded nose with faired-in headlamps and elegant rear wings with elongated tail-lamp lenses. An optional hardtop accentuated the model’s delicate rear haunches and long front deck. Trademark grand-touring luxury characteristics, such as increased cabin room and boot space, were steadily supplemented during the model’s life with mechanical improvements, including disc brakes, overdrive, and spark plugs on the outside of the engine’s V (a development that offered easier maintenance and greater engine longevity).

Remaining in production through mid-1962, approximately 202 Series II Pininfarina Cabriolets were produced, and the model has recently begun to show indications of the market growth of which it is really capable. Following the lead of the astounding appreciation experienced by the California Spyder, the Series II PF Cabriolets offered nearly identical performance to the Scaglietti-bodied model, but they had far better grand touring characteristics, with their fully trimmed cabins and superior weather protection. Second-series PF Cabriolets will almost assuredly continue to enjoy steady growth in cachet and overall collectability within the foreseeable future.

According to the research of marque historian Marcel Massini, chassis number 2533GT was the 127th second-series Pininfarina Cabriolet built; therefore, it benefits from a number of improvements that were equipped on the later cars. The chassis was delivered to Pininfarina’s Torinese plant on 28 February 1961, with coachwork being completed on 28 June. In September, the 250 GT received its drivetrain and rear axle, and by the end of the month, the completed car was distributed to the Rome-based dealer Malagò, finished in Gringio Conchiglia 16249/M over Blu VM3087 leather interior. Two months later, 2533GT was purchased by its first owner of record, Renato Stefani Di, of Canepina, Viterbo, just outside of Rome.

After being sold to fellow Italian resident Marisa D’Orazio in 1965, this Ferrari was exported to the United States, where it eventually came into the care of Clark Hobart Record, of California. During the mid-1980s, 2533GT returned to Europe in the ownership of a Swiss collector who opted to conduct a partial restoration, most notably including of a fresh repaint in red and a refurbishment of the interior with cream leather upholstery. When offered for sale in the German magazine Motor Klassik in March 1987, the Cabriolet was advertised with a colour-matching hardtop and Borrani wire wheels, original equipment features that further bolster the car’s considerable panache.

Purchased then by Maurice Harlaux, of Belgium, the 250 GT was retained for approximately 10 years, occasionally being shown at finer European events by Jean-Pierre Fostier, most notably, in September 1992 at the FF40 Ferrari Francorchamps International Concours d’Elegance in Brussels. In December 1998, 2533GT was acquired by an owner residing in the Netherlands, who in turn sold the car one year later to the consignor, an Italian enthusiast maintaining a substantial collection of important and significant Ferraris. Sparingly used and optimally maintained over the following 13 years, the PF Cabriolet enjoyed the company of several other notable 250 GT models, including a Lusso and a Pininfarina Coupé, with which it made a wonderful open-and-closed pairing of Ferrari’s venerable V-12 grand tourer.

More recently certified with the desirable Ferrari Classiche book, this rare matching-numbers 250 GT still presents strongly, with the well-preserved older restoration displaying enviable quality. The mechanical components offer similarly strong operating conditions, and this Cabriolet will certainly turn many heads at regional concours and Ferrari club meets. With matching-numbers 250 GT examples continuing to show steady appreciation, 2533GT offers a rare opportunity to acquire a factory-certified example that can be further restored or enjoyed in a number of capacities, whilst always drawing acclaim from true tifosi.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more