1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta. Coachwork by Scaglietti – Design by Pininfarina. Photo: Bonhams.
Chassis no. 4481. Engine no. 4481. 2,953cc SOHC V12 Engine. 3 Weber Dual-Throat Carburetors. 250bhp at 7,500rpm. 4-Speed Manual Transmission. Front Independent Suspension – Live Rear Axle. 4-Wheel Disc Brakes. Estimate on request
*Matching numbers example, retaining original body and chassis
*Believed to have had just four owners from new, and one single owner for 41 years
*Low mileage example presented in its factory delivered livery
*A top example of one of the most beautiful Ferrari models ever built
*Offered with tool roll, owner’s manual, copies of build sheets and Marcel Massini’s report
THE FERRARI 250 GT LUSSO
« The Ferrari 250 Gran Turismo Lusso was one of the finest Ferrari sport saloon body designs ever created by Carozzeria Pininfarina. Into that car went all the experience gathered by the atelier when creating Fifties grand tourers in terms of style. It was further enhanced by the new features introduced on the SWB and GTO, giving birth to a car of extraordinary elegance and equilibrium » –Leonardo Acerbi in his book FERRARI, ALL THE CARS.
Certainly one of the most beautiful machines ever to carry the Maranello marque’s prancing horse emblem, the 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta debuted at the Paris Salon in October 1962. Styled by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti, the Lusso (Luxury) combined racetrack looks with new high standards of passenger comfort. Beautifully proportioned, the new 250 GT blended a low-slung nose, reminiscent of that of the 400 Superamerica, with sculpted Kamm tail by means of some of the most exquisite lines yet seen on an automobile. Slim pillars and wide expanses of glass not only enhanced the car’s outward appearance, but made for excellent visibility and a pleasantly light and airy interior.
By the early 1960s, road car production had ceased to be a sideline for Ferrari and was seen as vitally important to the company’s future stability. Thus the 250, Ferrari’s first volume-produced model, can be seen as critically important, though production of the first of the line — the 250 Europa and Europa GT, built from 1953 to 1956 — amounted to fewer than sixty. Before the advent of the Europa, Ferrari had built road-going coupés and convertibles in smaller numbers, usually to special order using a sports-racing chassis as the basis. Ghia, Vignale and Touring were responsible for clothing many of these early road cars, but there was no attempt at standardization for series production and no two cars were alike.
The 250 Europa’s introduction heralded a significant change in Ferrari’s preferred coachbuilder, whereas previously Vignale had been the most popular carrozzeria among Maranello’s customers, from now on Pinin Farina (later ‘Pininfarina’) would be Ferrari’s number one choice.
The Lusso’s immediate antecedent had been the 250 GT Berlinetta SWB. The SWB (Short Wheel Base) designation arose from a chassis that, at 2,400mm, was 200mm shorter than the standard 250GT’s. Specifications could be varied to suit individual customers’ requirements for either road or track, models supplied for competition use having lightweight aluminum-alloy bodies, the road version enjoying a fully trimmed interior and softer springing. However, Ferrari’s policy of building a single, dual-purpose race/road model did not survive long into the 1960s, the diverging requirements of the two markets necessitating greater specialization in the form of the competition-only 250 GTO and Gran Turismo 250 GT Lusso.
Built on a short-wheelbase chassis similar to that of the 250 GT SWB and 250 GTO, the Lusso was powered by Colombo’s light and compact 3-liter V12. Breathing through three twin-choke Weber carburetors, the all-aluminum, two-cam unit produced 250bhp at 7,500rpm, giving the Lusso a top speed of 150mph (240km/h) and a useful 0-100mph (0-160km/h) acceleration time of 19.5 seconds.
Testing the 250GT Lusso five years after its introduction,Road & Track magazine acknowledged that the design had already achieved classic status. « Although there were many variations on the basic Ferrari 250 GT since 1956 when this 3-litre series was first offered, the 1963-64 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso has come to be identifiable by that single word, Lusso. The design of the body was at once elegant and exciting and no other road Ferrari before or since has earned the same degree of enduring admiration for its aesthetics. »
Steve McQueen had one, and the master designer himself, Battista Pininfarina, selected this model as his personal car. The 250 GT Lusso remains one of the greatest achievements of automotive design and engineering. With breathtaking looks and exhilarating performance, these cars remain some of the most collectible Ferraris ever produced.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
This matching numbers example of Ferrari’s legendary 250 GT Lusso, chassis no. 4481, was the 52nd car built in the production run. Finished at the Maranello works during the summer of 1963, 4481 was equipped for the Italian home market, where Milano’s flagship Ferrari dealership, Crepaldi S.p.a took delivery soon after completion. 4481 was finished much as it appears today, with the beautiful Pininfarina-styled exterior finished in the noble dark blue fine metallic color of Blu Notte Metallizzato, and the interior upholstered in Crema, with nicely contrasting appointments in black. The passenger seat was equipped with the optional headrest.
4481 found its first owner in July of 1963, when purchased by Milano resident Mr. Giansaverio Bianchi. The Ferrari returned to Maranello in October of 1963 and in May of 1964, where it was serviced at the factory’s Assistenza Clienti customer service center. The Lusso remained with Mr. Bianchi until 1967, when the second owner, a Mr. Armando Pollini of Vigevano, Italy purchased it. 4481 remained with Mr. Pollini until 1969, when it was purchased by its most recent former owner, Mr. Riley Kuehn of Seattle, Washington. Mr. Kuehn, naturally very fond of his wonderful Lusso, kept the car for the next 41 years. Certainly a testiment to how difficult it can be to part with an important 1960s V12 GT Ferrari, Mr. Kuehn’s long tenure of careful ownership underlines the reason why 4481 remains in such well kept and low mileage condition today.
In 2007, Mr. Kuehn entrusted the William Creits Company of Auburn, Washington to repaint 4481 in its original dark blue color, while Electrofinishing of Kent, Washington refurbished the car’s original chrome and brightwork. During this time, mechanical systems in need of refurbishing were attended to by renowned Tacoma, Washington based Ferrari shop Alta. Later, in 2009, Alta rebuilt the Ferrari’s braking and suspension systems.
Mr. Kuehn finally parted with his prized Ferrari after four-plus decades of ownership in 2010. The lucky purchased, who owns the car still today, acquired one of the best-kept Lussos in existence. It was a perfect fit for his extraordinary collection of sports cars spanning from the dawn of motoring through to modern supercars. Soon after taking delivery, 4481 was sent to Rod Drew’s renowned Ferrari restoration shop FAI in Southern California, where the transmission was rebuilt with new synchromesh rings, and a new water pump was installed. Again in 2014, the Lusso received service and maintenance, this time at Wayne Obry’s Motion Products, at which time the ignition and fuel systems were attended to.
Today, this exceptional 250 GT Lusso presents with a great degree of integrity throughout; it is what one would describe as an un-molested, honest car in classic car parlance. Much of the Lusso’s interior appears to be original, as installed when new in 1963, although some areas may have been dyed at some point in the past. A period Blaupunkt radio is installed on the center console, with matching Blaupunkt speakers mounted in the rear window tray. 4481 shows just over 85,700 Kilometers (53,200 miles) on the odometer, a figure that is believed to be the car’s mileage from new. The Ferrari retains its original keys, and the one for the door even fits the trunk too — quite unusual for a classic car of this vintage.
4481 is accompanied by what is believed to be the factory original tool roll, copies of the factory build sheets, an owner’s manual and Marcel Massini’s history report. With just four owners from new, and with its original, matching numbers engine, chassis and body intact, this extraordinary Ferrari is a rare specimen indeed. Dating to arguably the finest period in Ferrari’s remarkable history, the offering of this Lusso represents an opportunity to acquire a superb example of one of the finest and most widely respected GT cars ever produced by any manufacturer.
BONHAMS. THE SCOTTSDALE AUCTION, 15 Jan 2015 11:00 MST