Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France
The Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta not only has breathtaking looks, it is unquestionably one of the greatest Ferrari racing cars ever built and a car of such class that the various versions that followed have become legendary in their own right. Names like Testa Rossa, GTO and Tour de France evoke strong emotions in enthusiasts the world over. The 250 GT Berlinetta’s forerunner was the 250 MM, named after the famous Mille Miglia race won by Italian hill climb champion Giovanni Bracco in 1952. The last 250 MMs had been built by 1954 and work began on what would become the 250 GT Berlinetta “Tour de France”. A stronger, new tubular chassis was employed with a wheelbase of 2,600 mm. The elliptic leaf spring suspension was replaced with wishbones, coil springs and shocks and the Colombo Tipo 112 short block V-12 engine was fitted. (Subsequently the engine would be developed and designated Tipo 128, 128B, C and D.) Between April and July of 1955 Pinin Farina built three more 250 GTs that were of similar appearance to the 250 MM. In October, another car was shown at the Paris Salon and was the first design with many side louvres. Pinin Farina made a further two prototypes, one of which was owned by the Marquis de Portago from Spain. In December 1955 at Nassau, Bahamas, he scored the first victory for the car, which, by the end of the decade, would be a massive catalogue of race wins.
1956 saw the real start of the 250 GT Berlinetta’s competition career. Olivier Gendebien won the GT class in the Tour of Sicily at the beginning of 1956, but it was the Tour de France of that year which would be the GT Berlinetta’s most important race.
The Tour de France took five or six days and covered over 4,800 gruelling kilometres around France, sometimes venturing into Italy, Belgium or Germany. The race consisted of up to six circuit races, two hill climbs and a sprint.
Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta (Tour de France) is one of the most legendary Ferrari dual-purpose road/race cars and is the last of the series of eight cars produced in this body style. With its outstanding competition history it is certainly of the most desirable closed 12-cylinder Ferraris and it would be eligible for all the important historic races and events around the world, including the Tour Auto, Mille Miglia Storica and Shell Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge, where it would be very competitive in the drum brake class. In fact, closed 12-cylinder Ferraris eligible for the Mille Miglia very rarely come onto the market today. With breathtaking looks, fantastic performance and great handling, early Ferrari 250 GT competition cars remain some of the most coveted models in the marque’s history.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2009 at Ferrari S.p.A., Fiorano Modenese, Modena.
230/280 bhp at 7,000 rpm, 2,953 cc single overhead camshaft V-12 engine with three Weber carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptical springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,600 mm (102.4 in.)
Source: RM Auctions