1956 Ferrari 250 GT Sells for $7.2 Million at Auction
When bidding starts at £2,000,000 and then immediately jumps to £3,000,000 – there’s a good chance you’re witnessing a heritage Ferrari cross an auction block. And while this one didn’t fetch the eye-watering figures that other classic Prancing Horses have enjoyed, $7,249,000 is still a pile of money. Sold on Monday at RM Auctions’ London event, this is a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ‘Tour de France’. And it’s certainly something quite special.
The 250 GT marched out of Ferrari’s gates in early 1956, the eighth of only nine ’56 250 GT Berlinetta Competiziones, and boasted a Ferrari signature – the small displacement V12. This 3.0-liter single overhead cam unit generated a touch more than 225-horsepower at 7,000 rpm, breathing through a trio of Weber carburetors, and fed that power through a four-speed manual gearbox to the rear wheels.
Underneath its flowing body, the Ferrari tiptoed across tarmac and gravel thanks to a nimble independent coil spring suspension up front, and a live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs in the rear. Disc brakes would have to wait though – these 250 GTs featured drums at all four corners. Top speed? Around 165 mph.
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And, at least for 1956, that was staggering performance, but it goes to hint at the classic Ferrari’s sporting intentions – to win the iconic Tour de France Automobile.
Indeed, it nearly did. This chassis, number 0563 GT, would go on to finish eighth overall in the 1956 Tour de France and fifth overall at the 1957 event, behind a threesome of other 250 GT Competiziones.
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Outside of the TdF though, this 250 GT recorded even better results. The Ferrari notched wins at the 1957 Rally des Forets, USA Cup at Montlhéry, Rallye de l’Allier, Razal Race, and a class win at the Grand Prix of Paris. Notable second place finishes include the 1956 Coupes du Salon in Montlhéry – its second race ever – and the 1957 Rallye du Printemps.
Its owner and driver, Frenchman Jacques Peron, returned 0563 GT to the Ferrari factory in Modena, Italy in late 1958, where it would remain for over a year before being sold to an American buyer, Bruce Kessler, in 1959 and exported to the United States.
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That’s where 0563 GT embarked on a second life as a collectors item, changing hands multiple times through the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, before eventually making its way into vintage motor racing and concours events with its most recent owner in 2009. Who knows - now that it has changed garages once again, maybe it’ll show up at your local Ferrari meet.
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