Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet
The remarkable success of the Ferrari 250 GT family of models prompted the new Pininfarina Cabriolet. At the time Ferrari had a worldwide dealership network and was represented in seventeen countries by forty-one dealers including twelve in Italy alone. By 1958 the 250 GT coupés, designed for touring, were being produced alongside the dual-purpose road/race 250 GT Berlinettas. A cabriolet was a natural way to extend the range and expand the market potential.
The first 250 Cabriolet bodied by Pinin Farina was known as the ‘Ariowitch’ cabriolet after the name of its first owner and was produced in 1953. This car was based on one of the short run of Lampredi-engined 250 Europas. When the Colombo-engined 250 Europa GTs came out, not one was a cabriolet so the one-off didn’t inspire immediate production. It was not until the Boana/Ellena cars built between 1956 and 1958 did any of Ferrari’s coachbuilders think about producing a soft-top car.
Felice Mario Boano made the first 250 GT Cabriolet for the 1956 Geneva Show. A year later a Pinin Farina-designed cabriolet appeared at Geneva, again based on the 250 GT platform. This famous car became the property of Ferrari racing driver, Peter Collins and was the first of four Pinin Farina Cabriolet prototypes. The driver later fitted Dunlop disc brakes to this car, making it the first Ferrari to be equipped with them.
The Ferrari 250 GT coupé was launched in 1958 and was an important car for Ferrari and Pinin Farina. Both companies decided to standardize production in an effort to increase output. Ferrari set up its first assembly line and Pininfarina moved to a new factory. Sergio Pininfarina recalled, “We were convinced the only way to survive was to make more cars for our clients.”
The Ferrari 250 GT coupé was well received. The first planned series of two hundred cars sold out well in advance. Road and Track called it “The ultimate in driving” and Sports Car Graphic voted it Sports Car of the Year. To complement this car an open variant was planned. In 1959 at the Paris Salon the Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II was launched. By this time, the competition based Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder was in production and with looks similar to the Series I Cabriolet, Ferrari wanted significant changes so that the Series II could be easily differentiated from the California. The Series II was also made more practical for grand touring with a more accommodating and luxurious interior and a larger boot. The car had the latest Colombo V12 engine with outside plugs, coil valve springs and 12-port cylinder heads. It was equipped with disc brakes and had a four-speed gearbox with overdrive. Production started in late 1959, and lasted until 1962. The Series II Cabriolet was the most expensive car in the 250 GT range. The car was such a success that a new generation soft-top was not introduced until 1964. In total, just 201 Series II Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolets were produced.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
240 bhp, 2,953 cc single overhead camshaft 60-degree V12 engine, four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive, A-arms, coil springs and telescopic shocks independent, front suspension, live axle, semi elliptic springs and telescopic shocks rear suspension, four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 102.4".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel