Ferrari 250 California fit for Ferris may sell for millions

Planning on playing hooky for a day of adventure in, say, Chicago? You're going to need the right set of wheels. Something like the Ferrari you see here ought to do the trick.

Coming up for auction at Amelia Island, this 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider is one of just 56 made – only 37 of which have those highly sought-after covered headlights. The short-wheelbase model followed the previous long-wheelbase version and featured a number of upgrades, including timeless coachwork by Scaglietti, a more nimble chassis, and four-wheel disc brakes.

This particular example – bearing the VIN 2871 GT in classic red over black – starred alongside Sophia Loren in the film Ieri, Oggi, Domani. It was sold new in 1961 to Italian industrial designer Giangranco Frattini, who owned it for 17 years before selling it to one Terzo Dalia in 1978, who in turn sold it to its current owner in 1985. This represents the first time it's being offered for public sale.

Gooding & Company anticipates it will fetch a good $16 million (give or take) when it crosses the auction block on March 11. That would, according to the records at Sports Car Market, put it right in the range of what California Spiders have been selling for in recent years – the record currently standing at $18.6 million paid for the Baillon barnfind example in Paris a year ago. If you have the means, to paraphrase our childhood hero, we highly recommend picking one up.

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Gooding & Company Unveils Iconic 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider To Highlight Amelia Island Auction
The Quintessential Ferrari 250 GT with Limited Ownership from New and Cinematic History

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (February 12, 2016) – Gooding & Company, the auction house acclaimed for selling the world's most significant and valuable collector cars, is privileged to announce the addition of a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider (estimate $15,000,000-$17,000,000) to be sold at the Amelia Island Auction on March 11, 2016. This highly coveted Ferrari is the 22nd SWB California Spider built and one of only 37 covered-headlight examples produced. Remarkably, it has been in the loving care of the current owner for over 30 years.

"We are thrilled to present this California Spider to our clients," states 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 highly 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 much more sophisticated chassis, along with standard four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes, a refined suspension setup and new outside-plug engines. The renowned Italian coachbuilder, Scaglietti, redesigned the California Spider's coachwork around the updated chassis, resulting in a much more aggressive and sporting appearance. Despite being a more refined and well-rounded sports car, the SWB California Spiders were true thoroughbreds, with several examples raced at events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Targa Florio. Between 1960 and 1963, Ferrari built just 56 examples of the SWB variant, with only 37 being highly sought after covered-headlight versions.

The Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider presented here, chassis 2871 GT, is among the most desirable SWB California Spiders. The Ferrari was purchased new in Milan, Italy by the famed 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 lovingly 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 classic color combination of red with a black interior. This exemplary California Spider, with a celebrated provenance and featuring only three owners from new, offers the astute collector the opportunity to own a piece of Ferrari history.

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