1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider (photo: Mathieu Heurtault)
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider (photo: Mathieu Heurtault)

Ferrari California Spider at 2016 Gooding Amelia Island

Gooding and Company apparently saved the best for last when announcing the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider as a headline offering for the 2016 Amelia Island auction, to be held Friday, March 11 at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Florida.

“We are thrilled to present this California Spider to our clients,” commented David Gooding, President and Founder of Gooding & Company. “With only three owners from new and a rich and fascinating history, this covered-headlight SWB California Spider has never before been offered for public sale and is being presented for the first time outside of Italy.”

Ferrari introduced the 250 GT California Spider in 1957 on their long-wheelbase (LWB) chassis for the booming North American market. Ferrari’s leading US dealers, Luigi Chinetti and John von Neumann, requested from the factory a dual-purpose sports car that was capable on the racetrack, but comfortable for use as a daily driver. In 1960, with the introduction of Ferrari’s new short-wheelbase (SWB) 250 GT Berlinetta chassis, Ferrari thoroughly redesigned the California Spider. The new 250 GT SWB California Spider benefitted from a more sophisticated chassis, along with standard four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes, a refined suspension setup and new outside-plug engines. The Italian coachbuilder, Scaglietti, redesigned the California Spider’s coachwork around the updated chassis, resulting in a more aggressive appearance. Despite being a more refined and well-rounded sports car, the SWB California Spiders were raced at events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Targa Florio. Between 1960 and 1963, Ferrari built 56 examples of the SWB variant, with only 37 being covered-headlight versions.

The Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider offered at the 2016 Gooding Amelia Island sale, chassis 2871 GT, is the 22nd short-wheelbase California Spider built and one of 37 covered-headlight examples produced. Chassis 2871 GT was purchased new in Milan, Italy by the Italian industrial designer, Gianfranco Frattini in September, 1961. While in Mr. Frattini’s care, chassis 2871 GT was featured in the Italian film Ieri, Oggi, Domani (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow), which starred Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. Mr. Frattini owned the car for 17 years before selling it to Terzo Dalia in June, 1978. Mr. Dalia participated in two Ferrari events in the early-1980s before selling 2871 GT to the current owner in December, 1985. This important Ferrari has been with its current owner for the last 30 years, is well-documented by Ferrari historian, Marcel Massini, and is presented the color combination of red with a black interior (Estimate: $15,000,000 – $17,000,000).

The California Spider joins the Jerry Seinfeld Porsche Collection as one of the headline offerings at the 2016 Gooding and Company Amelia Island auction.

2016 Gooding and Company Amelia Island – Auction Information

Date: Friday, March 11, 11:00am
Location: Racquet Park, Omni Amelia Island Plantation, 6800 First Coast Hwy, Amelia Island, FL 32034
One mile south of Amelia Island Parkway
Public preview: March 10-11
Bidder registration: $200 includes a catalogue, admission for two to the viewing and auction with two reserved seats, subject to availability.
Auctions catalogues: $75, includes admission for two to the viewing and the auctions
General admission: $30, includes admission for one to the viewing and the auctions
Live auction broadcast: GoodingCo.com
Phone: 310.899.1960

[Source: Gooding & Company; photo: Mathieu Heurtault]