This is a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB ‘Tour de France’ Berlinetta. It comes from a very pretty and very famous bloodline of racing Ferraris stretching back to 1954. And somebody has just paid £2,240,000 for the privilege of owning it.
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Ferrari sells for £2.2m
But, before you scorch off to an obscure Internet forum, it’s not Chris Evans. No, our man on the frontline of last night’s RM Auctions London sale tells us Mr Evans - who has a habit of buying ludicrously expensive and ludicrously awesome classic Ferraris - wasn’t the mysterious winning phone bidder. He was merely sat by the telephone stand when the hammer dropped.
Anyway, this Ferrari joins a long list of classic 250s that have sold for more than a threepenny, and is one of just 39 competition Berlinettas produced by the company with all-alloy bodywork.
According to records, this particular example spent the majority of its life in America, starting when a Mr Hastings Harcourt used a common method of exchange with Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti Motors to acquire the illustrious coupe.
But, Enzo’s carburettors may have spontaneously combusted had he discovered the servicing tweaks applied to this Ferrari during its American soiree. We’re told that very early in its life, the original Ferrari engine and gearbox were replaced with Ford units. Yes, Ford.
It wasn’t until 1974 when Charles W Betz and Fred Peters from California bought the Ferrari, likely screamed bloody murder and quickly restored it to its classic ‘TdF’ gearbox and 250-series engine; a 3.0-litre V12 producing 250bhp with triple Weber carbs and an alloy block and head.
And this conversion wasn’t some back-street chop-shop, it’s been fully certified by the Ferrari Classiche programme that confirms the car retains its engine and main components the way it was built by the factory and is therefore a “true-matching numbers example”.
It later found a life partaking in historic racing, and was successfully campaigned a number of times at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races in Laguna Seca during the 1980s, before being sold on to a Swiss car collector. He apparently used the Ferrari “sparingly”.
Soon after, the Ferrari was restored in Italy by some of the “finest recognised Ferrari specialists” in Modena; the engine was given a going over by Diena, while Bacchelli and Villa handled the coachwork. The interior went to Selleria Luppi, and the finished product was not reported as being “spankingly good”. Because although it probably was, nobody but us said it.
The Swiss collector then sold it on to its most recent owner, an English buyer who spent well over £10,000 restoring it (again) by UK specialists GTO Engineering. Suffice to say, the condition right now is ruddy amazing.
We’ll have more from the top sellers at this year’s London auction, so check back on TopGear.com for the list, including another Ferrari and a very rare racing Alfa Romeo…