• Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta/Cabriolet/California Spider/SWB

The Ferrari 250 GT, berlinettas are a series of three two-seater sports car with closed bodywork built by the Italian company Ferrari in the years 1956 to 1961, to be approved in the new category of the FIA ​​Gran Turismo car, which project from the design of the Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France and the Ferrari 250 GT SWB, which would result after the famous GTO.

The international motorsport had never progressed much or as little as in the year 1955, the cars were technologically Grand Prix cars with two seats and closed body.

After the disastrous accident of Pierre Levegh in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1955, there was a general clamor to return to the classic form of auto racing, sports cars using dual purpose. Classes and specific regulations were established by the FIA for cars of Gran Turismo with a 3 liter engine from the 1956 season.

Ferrari had built cars berlinetta kind since 1950 and they had been involved in racing, both officially and by private teams who are selling cars referred to as career-customers, where they lined up against roadsters open era. These berlinettas, known as 166 MM, 192 Inter, 250 S, 250 MM, 375 MM among others, participated in long distance races such as the Mille Miglia, Le Mans, Reims, Spa and Carrera Panamericana, checking the effectiveness of closed bodies, which had done well and had established excellent records of races and overall credibility in them.

So when new regulations for GT vehicles were established, Ferrari was not completely oblivious to the type of body approved by the FIA and had bases and studies for the creation of a new car to compete successfully in these classes

The last 250 MM was built in 1954 and began work on what would become the 250 GT Berlinetta. A strong, strong tubular chassis with a wheelbase of 2,600 mm. The suspension of elliptic leaf springs were replaced by coil springs, wishbones and dampers, with a V12 Colombo Type 112 and although his appearance was very similar to Ferrari 250 Europa without air vents located in the back bottom of the fenders front and rear window surround was sideways, had born Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta, one of the most emblematic of the house Ferrari.

Between April and July 1955, Pinin Farina built three 250 GT, which apparently were similar to the 250 MM. In October, another car was unveiled at the Paris Salon and was the first design with side vents or louvers. Pinin Farina made two prototypes, one of which was sold to the Marquis de Portago of Spain.

The following year, Scaglietti was presented with his own prototype but based on the design of Pinin Farina in 1956 Geneva Motor Show, this would be the first of fourteen cars built Series I (with 14 vents or lights in poles c body). The first production car was built in November 1956 and production was commissioned by Scaglietti in Modena.

In total, there were five series of 250 GT Berlinettas a total of 72 cars built, not counting the first prototypes. In mid-1957, were manufactured the berlinettas Series II, which now had three vents and headlights covered, of which fifteen were built in the following year, twenty-nine cars of Series III were built were built, which retains the headlights covered, but only had one optical and in 1959, built the eight cars with the same three vents on each side but again with bare headlamp Series IV.

The fifth series is considered which corresponds to the short distance between berlinettas with SWB or axes.

Coincidentally, as based on the designed Pininfarina had been built several bodies 250 GTs in 1955, very similar to the variations of the 375 MM (Mille Miglia) which in turn was derived from the 250 and they were body designs closed with the cover back where the spare wheels were staying, but had engine cover with a gentle slope that ended in front of the radiator opening elliptical.

The first design was presented at the Paris Salon in 1955 and had dazzling ways, but had shaped ornament chrome fins on the rear fenders, all that was characteristic of the study of farina, who eventually convince brand enthusiasts. Sign In Turin a few weeks later came another version with plexiglass windows windows plug and fast fuel located in the center of the rear.

The following year, in her March, the stand of Ferrari’s Geneva Motor Show, show one of the best designs Berlinetta 250 GT, however, was a derivative of the presentations in Paris and Turin, standing out for cleaning forms in relation to the above. These designs of Pininfarina in 1955-1956 were the forerunners of the Ferrari berlinetta who ran for and sold to customers for the 1956 season.

Based on the designs of Pininfarina, Enzo Ferrari coachbuilder Scaglietti elected to build the body of the GT berlinetta, in Modena, was now the official builder of Ferrari berlinetta bodies for monitoring and although the original design was faithful Farina, Scaglietti how did soften a bit, leaving less angular.

The built berlinettas manufactured by Scaglietti started in January 1957, all of aluminum, were a new set of cars with similar to 1956, but the air intake on the hood has become the norm, the large window of the part later, even doubled down on the rear quarter of the car (similar to the 250 MM), fuer replaced by a smaller and 14 small vertical vents were added in subsequent lateral sides of the body (back posts). Again Scaglietti remained faithful to the design of Farina, but softened somewhat general way. In any case, these berlinettas 1957 were considered more attractive than the first version.

The headlights of these berlinetta 1956 and 1957 were mounted on the front fender and chrome trim embutían in one inch.

By 1958, there were slight variations compared to last year’s models, and they included the replacement of three large air vents, the 14 vertical vents in the rear quarter panel, the top of the rear fenders had again one sharp edge, chrome trim on the taillights and had elongation of the nose and placement of the headlights under a clear plastic fairing included.

The chassis for these first 250 GT, which are also known as LWB, or long wheelbase, is a conventional welded steel frame using large diameter pipes. The front suspension is of type A with different length arms and coil springs, and the rear axle is a rigid axle with semi-elliptic springs with brake and torque control of two parallel arms of the end of each side. Houdaille dampers are still in the four corners, aluminum drum brakes with cast iron shirts.

Regarding the mechanical, the V12 engine is the "small block" designed by Colombo, which had a bore and stroke of 73.0 x 58.8 mm for a total displacement of 2,953cc. (250cc. Equal to 12 cylinder 3000cc.) And a power of 260hp. at 7000 rpm. Unlike the 250 MM, twin cylinder heads and better development can be appreciated when one realizes the CV obtained from the 1958 to 1959 version compared to the first Colombo designs cars for Ferrari in 1946. A box of four synchronized gears, connecting the V-12 through a plate dry clutch, completed the mechanical section.

With a wheelbase of 2,600 mm. and overall length of 4,394 mm., weight remained at 2,520 kilograms using aluminum in various body panels.

By 1959, three different designs appeared Berlinetta, all designs Farina and built by Scaglietti. The first was a variation of the 1958 design, but with the headlights now covered with chrome wheels, so it was more like a road car than a race car.

The second design is a complete departure from the style from 1956 to 1958, with rounded edges everywhere that contrasted with the more pronounced and acute forms of the contour in the previous cars. The engine cover was projected down between the front fenders, concealed in the bottom of its front end grill. The headlights were placed in front of the defenses in chrome bezels and were the most important part of the body.

The rear overhang was short and the passenger compartment was notable for its large glass area. The "traditional" panel of three vents was now replaced by an adjacent to the main windows of the pilot and passenger rear window, and now, the main window was divided in two with a movable flap for ventilation of the cockpit, also eliminating the outputs ventilation of the sides of the front fenders.

All these designs are always based on the chassis wheelbase 2,600 mm. and cars manufactured in 1958 there was no significant change in the chassis or the engine.

The latter shapes and design as foreshadowed what was to come later in the same year, with 2,400 mm shortening. the wheelbase. This car is considered as an intermediate design between the generation of berlinettas from 1956 to 1959 and design culminating the series, the 250 GT SWB to be built from 1959 and became one of the most appreciated models Scuderia Ferrari.

These cars are considered as intermediates, were built in a very limited amount, no more than six cars. But while the chassis and the engine looks like all the previous GT berlinetta, there were journals in which a section of one of these cars is illustrated, showing the assembly of a motor Testa Rossa V-12, with six carburetors webers double and plugs located in the outside of the heads (Colombo engine used in the previous 250 GT, the were inside). The court also featured disc brakes on the car, but in general, experts believe that these differences were not estandas team but possibly a preparation for a competition car.

For some reason, the intermediate model these berlinettas, never was nor has been so popular among fans of Ferrari, as are the earlier and later models. Some tend to think that this is due to the mixture of a chassis with long wheelbase distance with a short body appearance.

The third of the 250 GT Berlinetta designed in 1959, made his debut at the Paris Auto Show in October. Like previous versions, was designed by Farina and built by Scaglietti. The wheelbase has been reduced to 2,400 mm. and, first mount, four disc brakes wheel was standard equipment, but the overall chassis setup and suspension components were more or less as used in the cars older 250 series.

The body design was one of the best and it was obvious that it was a natural evolution of the shape of the intermediate body 250.

With the shortest distance between axles, the rear window to the main window of the pilot was removed, the car now promoting itself as a dual purpose vehicle for use on tracks or roads.

Many bodies of the latter design berlinettas 250 GT short distance from base is constructed of aluminum for the serious competitor, which lowered in about 45 kilos weight of the vehicle, but most of them were built in steel for a more urban use with only aluminum doors, hood and trunk.

The standard engine in the new berlinetta, was still Colombo, but had Testa Rossa heads, coil springs in the valve and the location of the spark plugs out of the head, as used today.

The power advertised with the new engine was 280hp at 7000 rpm and, with lighter weight, it was obvious that it would be the car to beat in GT racing.

The first victory of the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta, was obtained by the Marquis Alfonso de Portago in the career of Nassau in the Bahamas in December 1955. Early 1956 Belgian Olivier Gendebien and Jacques Wascher, driving a 250 GT Berlinetta were fourth overall and first in class in the Tour of Sicily in late April after earning fifth overall and first in the GT class in the Mille Miglia.

The Tour de France had become a challenge for Ferrari, Ferrari won the first Tour in 1951, took second in both 1952 and 1953, but failed to finish in 1954. The event 1955 was canceled after the disaster at Le Mans, but since 1956, the Ferrari 250 GT berlinetta dominated the event and that resulted in the first versions of these cars, they are known as Berlinettas "Tour de France". This was not an official designation Ferrari without However, as the factory just continued calling 250 GT.

At the Tour de France, which was the fifth and it was a racing event that ran the perimeter of the country, held in September 1956, with 3,600 kilometers long, where six races in the main circuit (Comminges, I included Mans, Rouen, Reims, St Etienne, and Montlhery); climbs hill (Mont Vertoux and Peyresoude) and sprint (in Aix-les-BVains). Again, the Spanish team De Portago, with Nelson as co-pilot with the auto dial number 73, won five of the six races of the event and took first place in the Tour, with Stirling Moss in a Mercedes 300 SL and 300 SL in seconds Gendebien in another factory 250 GT and thirdly.

This result, coupled with two consecutive wins to come in subsequent years, gave the Ferrari berlinetta built in the years 1956 to 1958, his appointment unofficial Ferrari 250 Tour de France.

Throughout the 1956, the 250 GT berlinetta, continued to accumulate victories in the hands of private teams and some of the participants had an incredible season. Edoardo Lualdi Gabardi won five first places and three seconds Giuliano Giovanardi had accumulated for your self first five places, two third and an eighth, and Camillo Luglio, which had in its 250 GT with a body design more ligeta Zagato, won five first and two second places that year.

For the 1957 season of the World Endurance Championship, which ran cars and prototypes gran turismo, Ferrari had already removed any doubt about the superiority of the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta, and in April, Gendebien/Wascher win Tour of Sicily with the 250 GT and Lena on Luglio 5th and 6th. On May 12, Gendebien/Wascher finish third overall and first in his class at the Mille Miglia with an average speed of 150 miles per time, little less than 153 kilometers per registered team Taruffi Piero Ferrari Spyder prototype with 4 liter Speed ​​won the race time. That same year, in the 12 Hours of Reims, the berlinetta Ferrari took the top five spots, with Gendebien/Frere at the head, which recorded an average of 167 kilometers per hour and the fastest lap at an average speed of 185 kilometers per hour.

And to conclude this year, in the month of August at the German Grand Prix to be raced at the Nurburgring, the 250 GT Wolfgang Seidel won the preliminary race cars intended for gran turismo, running against six Mercedes Benz 300 SL and a week after a similar event at the Swedish GP, Ferrari Curt Lincoln was victorious.

The Ferrari 250 GT had already established their dominance in GT races in 1956 and 1957, and 1958 began as a repeat of previous years. A 250 GT berlinetta won the 1957 Inter-Europa Cup again Frere Gendebien and earn a second straight year 12 hours of Reims (even with the car in 1957, and in September, which makes its debut in the new model 1958, but now with Lucien Bianchi copilot again won the Tour de France, making Ferrari also the second and third positions.

The appearance first appearance racing model referred to as "interim" was at Le Mans in 1959, where Pilette/Arents and Fayed/Munaron obtained the fourth and sixth overall positions behind two Aston Martin and a Ferrari DBR1/300 250 GT last year. In September, the team Gendebien/Bianchi won for the third time the Tour de France in another 250 GT "interim", which was the 4th consecutive victory to keep that test for Ferrari. You can not specify whether participants in races of Le Mans and the Tour de France cars had engines Testa Rossa, but specialized chroniclers say this, due to the excellent performance of the cars in those races.

For 1960, it already had the new SWB berlinetta, and the 12 Hours of Seabring 1960, in a race where Ferrari officially competed because the organizers intended to compel participants to use a different fuel at Shell wearing the brand, plus the FIA ​​had not yet approved the SWB as gran turismo, Hugus/Pabst, Sturgin/D’Orey and Arents/Kilberly, were fourth, sixth and seventh overall.

The Targa Florio was run on May 8, one of the new berlinetta with distance between short axes, piloted by Awl/Maglione took ninth place overall, but because the new model was not yet approved by the FIA, the first in the GT class it got a 250 GT Berlinetta of 1959 he had obtained the tenth place overall.

Before the race the 24 Hours of Le Mans June, the new Ferrari has already been approved by the FIA ​​as GT cars and the race car so long as ditancia of short wheelbase enrolled.

The race was a tense and Ferrari Maranello cars finished first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh positions. Tavano/Lousted obtained the 4th place overall and first in the GT class, behind only prototypes Frere/Gardebien Ferrari 250 TR60 and Rodriguez/Pilette TR/59 Ferrari 250, Aston Martin and also DBR1/300 prototype SWB with three occupying the next three places.

Even Stirling Moss not usually was driving for Ferrari, the August 20, 1960 ran a SWB Berlinetta owned by Rob Walker with the steering wheel on the right side and the won the 25th Tropy Tourism Goodwood, and repeated his victory a week after at Brands Hatch, on both occasions competence came from Aston Martin DB4/GTs. In September Carlo Abate won the Inter-Europa Cup, also in a SWB Berlinetta.

The victories of the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta were continuous throughout the year. Mairesse/Berger were first in the Tour de France with Schlesser/Loustel second and Tavano/Martin third. Gendebien and Bianchi won the 1000 Km of Montlhery their SWB in October.

Only the most important victories have been scored here for the 1960 season, but Ferrari berlinetta in the hands of private teams, won many victories throughout Europe.

By 1961, there were already 250 SWB Comp/61, which had an improved engine and mechanics. The first international event of this model was the race of the 12 Hours Seabring March 25, in her sports reporter Denise McCluggage and jazz saxophonist Alan Eager won the overall and first in GT. At Snetterton, England, on the same day, Mike Parkes and Graham Whitehead were first and second in their past SWB berlinetta Aston Martin DB4/GT Salvadori.

Jaguar announced for the month of March of that year and the presentation of the new car fans were expecting big things from this exciting new car. Jaguar XK scheduled the debut of the E-Fordwater Trophy race at Goodwood, England, but the presentation was unsuccessful and again Mike Parkes and Graham Whitehead were 1st and 4th places with their SWB berlinetta swb with Ireland and Moss Aston Martin sandwiched between them.

Then the E Type Jaguar, had an exceptional achievement participation when placing cars Graham Hill and Roy Salvadiri in positions 1st and 3rd in Aulton Park, England on 15 April, a month after his presentation to the public. Innes Ireland was 2nd in GT with Aston Martin and Ferrari had to settle for the 4th and 5th of Sears and Whitehead., Ferrari apparently had real competition now.

Two weeks later, in Spa-Francorchamps, Willy Mairesse spoiled the debut of continental XK-E Ferrari SWB placing first, Mike Parkes was driving for Jaguar now finished second and the third Whitehead scored another 250 GT SWB.

In testing for the 24 Hours of Lemans, traditionally took place two months before the race was in June, the Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta once again demonstrated its potential when the car Parkes/Tavano had rolled consistently to 193 kilometers per hour on average and had proved to be faster than all participating cars, except for esport prototype Ferrari and Maserati Bircage. Unfortunately, it was destroyed berlinetta por Jo Schlesser.

Already in the race, Noblet/Guichet and Grossman/Pilette they termininaron 3rd and 6th place overall for 1st and 2nd in the GT class with SWB berlinetta, the Ferrari 250 behind TRI/61 and Maserati.

The victories for Ferrari and berlinettas of short wheelbase continued during 1961. SWB Rob Walker, was led again by Stirling Moss at Le Mans and during the race had been placed as high as 3rd, before a blade divest fan and cut a water hose and the car overheated. The car was returned to Modena to rebuild the engine and Moss won the British Empire Trophy Race Car GT, in Silverstone on July 8, 1961.

In other races, Willy Mairesse drove his SWB for first place in the Six Hours of Auvergne. Moss won the International Meeting at Brands Hatch in August, and finished first in the RAC Tourist Trophy at Goodwood 26, also in August, with Mike Parkes also in a Ferrari berlinetta. Parkes won at Snetterton, October 3, Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez won the Montlhery 1000km on 22 October and was Stirling Moss win in Nassau in December.