Presented by RM Sotheby’s – Throughout the 1950s, Ferrari was unquestionably one of motorsport’s major players. The likes of Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, and Mike Hawthorn consistently won Formula One Drivers’ Championships behind the wheel of legendary Prancing Horse race machines such as the 500 F2, D50 and 246 F1. Yet while success on the track brought with it widespread acclaim and recognition, Enzo Ferrari realized that this focus on racing needed to be sustained financially; consequently, the company began to place increasing emphasis on the sales of its road cars and the important income they represented.
The famous 250 model platform by Ferrari served as the basis of many notable roadgoing models from 1952 onwards, each characterized by the 3.0-liter V-12 engine designed by Gioacchino Colombo. Enlisting the acclaimed design and coachbuilding house Pinin Farina to finesse the shape of the platform into cabriolet form, the 250 GT Cabriolet Series I was launched to capitalize on the popularity of open-top motoring—all in the interest of bringing in funds to support the endeavors of Scuderia Ferrari. Pinin Farina’s resulting cabriolet design oozed sophistication, built around smooth and unobstructed lines and defined by closed headlights with taillights smartly packaged into the rear fins.
Only 40 of the 250 GT Cabriolet Series I were produced, with this example, chassis number 0849 GT, recorded to have been the 23rd to leave the production line. Construction of its rear axle was completed in January 1958; its chassis was sent to the Carrozzeria Pinin Farina plant in Turin in the same month, while the engine and gearbox were completed in April 1958. The cabriolet left the Ferrari factory in May 1958, originally finished in Bianco over a Turchese Connolly leather interior according to the Ferrari archive. It was subsequently sold to its first owner in Lodi, near Milan, for a declared purchase price of 5.7 million Italian lire.
In September 1960, the car found its second owner, residing in Milan, while its third and fourth owners were in France. In 1964, the car’s drum brakes were replaced with disc upgrades. It is recorded in the accompanying Massini Report that in 1971, the original engine suffered failure. As a result, it was replaced by the powertrain from a 250 GT ‘Tour de France’, chassis number 0973 GT (itself receiving an engine from a 250 GT Coupe), with the work carried out by Garage Berson of Paris. Around 1975, the car found a new owner in Yvelines, France, at which point it was repainted in red and retrimmed with a black interior.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the car passed between owners in England, France again, and Belgium; it was seen for sale in the USA in November 1995. In April 1996, the car was sold to its next owner in Scottsdale, Arizona, still finished in red with black leather, featuring bumperettes and no side vents.
The Ferrari was added to the Guikas Collection in September 2007, at which point it was equipped with an engine stamped 0949 GT. However, 0849 GT was once again stablemates in the Guikas collection with Ferrari 250 GT ‘Tour de France’ chassis 0973 GT, which still had the original engine from 0849 GT installed. In 2017, the car underwent restoration work with Carrosserie Lecoq, near Paris; happily, it was reunited with its matching-numbers engine (number 0849 GT) at this time. The workshop also repainted the car, finished in the black color it is seen in today, and retrimmed its interior in the original Turchese—a striking combination.
During this repaint, several interesting discoveries were made. The first, evidenced by a number of photos on file, was how pure and untouched the original bodywork on the car remained. The second discovery was that despite careful searching, no trace of the original white paint was found. Finally, it was confirmed that this particular example once had elegant, more subtle vents installed on each fender line, which are also visible in very early period photos of the car and are known to have been installed on at least one other Series 1 Cabriolet example. Following the exact body lines as discovered, these vents were re-installed in 2021. At the conclusion of this refurbishment, Ferrari Classiche conducted a thorough inspection as part of their application process. A copy of the report is on file which confirms the car’s status as full matching numbers.
Considered by many as the most elegant open GT Ferrari of the 1950s, the 250 GT Cabriolet Series 1 by Pinin Farina is often the connoisseur’s choice for open air touring whether along the coast or through hillside switchbacks. 0849 GT presents a wonderful opportunity to acquire one of the few numbers matching examples of this storied model. Finished in particularly appealing colors, surely make this among the most desirable open Ferraris available today—and a worthy addition to any serious collection focused on the celebrated marque’s golden age.
RM Sotheby’s will present this vehicle as part of a single-owner collection comprised of 75 of the finest racing and road cars in the world, offered entirely without reserve. The Guikas Collection, to be sold at Paul Ricard Circuit in France in November 2021, presents pedigrees spanning from the endurance racing of the 24 Hours of the Le Mans to the world stage of Formula One and nearly everything in between. The collection of race cars will provide modern racing enthusiasts an introduction into virtually all vintage racing series worldwide, including GT and road cars that are equally impressive which offer a wide selection of Pre- and Post War sports cars.