Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet
During the mid-to-late 1950s, Ferrari was in a state of transition; increased racing costs meant that Ferrari needed to sell more road going models to help pay for its extensive racing activities. In the past, although road going Ferrari models were certainly offered, they were essentially hand-built. Variations to suit the wishes of individual customers were common, keeping costs high, volumes low, and rendering them quite unprofitable.
Meanwhile, the 250 GT Cabriolet, introduced at the Geneva International Auto Salon in 1957, was conceived as Ferrari’s semi-luxury touring car, and was thus given better interior appointments and more soundproofing than the California Spyder. Its chassis and drivetrain may have been strikingly similar to Ferrari’s racing cars, but the high standard of fit and finish, as well as the car’s complete instrumentation, luxurious leather interior, and many other passenger amenities set it apart. The Cabriolet was based upon the 250 GT Coupe, which was also presented as a luxury-touring machine, with its body produced by Pinin Farina.
Unveiled to the public at the 1959 Paris Salon, the new 250 GT Series II Cabriolet appeared one year after the handsome 250 GT Coupe, and replaced the low-production Series I Cabriolet. In fact, the Series II Cabriolet remains notable as the first commercially-successful, production-based convertible model ever offered by Ferrari. While the Cabriolet appeared to be somewhat longer than the Coupe, thanks to a stylish “kick-up” just behind the doors and the elegant rear fenders, the Cabriolet and Coupe actually shared nearly identical overall dimensions.
Mechanically, both the 250 GT Cabriolet and the Coupe were considerably improved over the California Spyder; with the addition of the updated 3.0-liter, Colombo-derived V12 engine, designated Tipo 128 F. This engine, which produced 240 brake horsepower, was fitted with outside-plug cylinder heads and twin distributors, while an overdrive transmission was made available. Meanwhile, the cars offered race-bred stopping power with a set of four-wheel disc brakes, while telescopic shock absorbers and handsome 16-inch Borrani wire wheels were also included as standard equipment. The result was a stylish and very quick Ferrari, with acceleration to 60 miles per hour achieved in fewer than seven seconds, en route to a top speed of 140 miles per hour.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2009 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona and in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
240bhp, 2,953 cc single overhead camshaft V12 engine, three Weber dual-choke carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi- elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 102.3"
Source: RM Auctions