1958→1960 Ferrari 250 California LWB Spyder
Above Images ©Shooterz.biz 2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
Due to ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off’, the California Spyder has became one of the most popular Ferraris. During the movie, Ferris fell in love with one and America did as well. Unfortunately, the audience was fooled, and many people discovered, especially after Ferrari sued for damages, that the production company had used a replica sourced from Modena Design and Research. It's a shame really, since the real version had all the hallmarks of a competition car underneath its curvaceous skin.
The California Spyder was motivated by U.S. distributors Jon von Neumann and Luigi Chinetti who convinced Ferrari to create a performance convertible named after their best market. The California Spyder emerged with supercar performance and became highly desirable due to its limited availability. Each car was special too, and some examples came with competition-spec engines or the very rare factory hard top.
Sharing its drive train with the legendary 250 GT that won the Tour de France, the California Spyder was a car to get excited about. It had the same 140 mph performance and the same competition chassis as the Ferraris lapping the race tracks. Therefore, it only made sense to equip some examples with competition engines and aluminum bodywork to race at Le Mans and Sebring. These Spyder Competiziones did well in the GT class and tied all California Spyders to a sporting pedigree.
California Spyder bodies were hand crafted by Carozerria Scaglietti who built most of Ferrari's competition bodies at the time. Their design was largely based of Pinin Farina's 250 GT Cabriolet Series I but used a new upright rear headlight treatment. Some cars featured more functional uncovered, rather than fared-in, headlights. The overall design, especially with covered headlights, was often described as more rakish than the much more subdued and luxurious 250 GT Cabriolet.
Inside, each Spyder car had a no-frills interior and a small heater was the only luxury. Behind the seats, a fabric top was installed which was tidy, and well proportioned when upright, but was made with no inner liner.
Distinguished by chassis length, it is important to mention that the Spyder was made in two distinct series. The first series was built on the 250 GT Tour de France frame including a wet-sump version of its V12 engine. In 1959, Ferrari debuted the shorter California Spyder on their stiffer short wheel base (SWB) chassis. These cars were superior as they had disc brakes, a more powerful engine, and a less bulk.
A total of 125 cars were competed from 1958 to 1963, and they became the most prized Ferraris on the road. The series was followed up by a very limited run of 365 Spyders made in 1967.
Due to their desirable shape California Spyders have often been replicated. Modena Design and Research made the replicas for Ferris Bueller's Day Off using a Mustang 5.0 engine and an MGB frame. After the movie, Ferrari pursued the company responsible. Many 250GT frames have been fitted with replica bodies are the closest ersatz approximation to the real design.
Our feature example is one of the world's best California Spyders and is distinguished by its Superamerica-style front fender vents, hood scoop, cold air intake and factory hardtop. In In 1999, owner Jonas Liden of Sweden commissioned a full restoration at Carrozzeria Autosport, Bacchelli & Villa in Bastiglia, Italy . After it gain accolades at the top events such as the 58th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance it was again redone with proper fender intakes and an additional $115,000 USD was spent “to bring the car to the Platinum Award-level standards” according to RM. In this guise it was sold by RM Auctions for €2.520.000 at their 2011 Villa d'Este sale.
Story by Richard Owen
Chassis & Sales
1959 Ferrari 250 GT California 1431GT - sold for $4,455,000
Another restoration began in 1997 and when completed, was painted in black paint with a matching leather interior. After the restoration it was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it won a first in class in the Ferrari category. Other awards include a first in class at the Ferrari National Meet in Toronto.
Gallery: 2007 Monterey Preview
1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder 0923GT - sold for €2,365,000
0923 GT has very recently undergone a full mechanical overhaul at Ferrari specialists GTO Engineering. All mechanical components were checked and overhauled and the engine has undergone a full rebuild, making the car ready to be enjoyed at events. Chassis 0923 GT can be described as being in close to perfect condition, both aesthetically and mechanically.
Ferrari LWB California Spyder, chassis number 0923 GT, is presented in lovely conditio... more
Gallery: 2008 Leggenda e Passione
1959 Ferrari 250GT California (LWB) 1487GT - sold for €2,117,500
The California Spyder (LWB) presented here, chassis no. 1487 GT, an original covered-headlight example, was ordered new on 11 June 1959 by Paul H. Norair, an active Washington, DC-area SCCA member, for Henry E. Mergner, a Chevrolet dealer also based in DC.
In 1960, chassis no. 1487 GT enjoyed an active racing career, driven by Pierre Mion at Cumberland, Bridgehampton and Lime Rock. On 10 July, Mion entered the six-hour race at Marlboro with... more
Gallery: 2009 Leggenda e Passione
1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider 0937GT - sold for $2,750,000
This car with serial number 0937GT is the seventh of the fifty Long wheel Base California Spyders built by Ferrari. It was sold to its first owner, the film actress Brigitte Bardot, in Paris, and it was much admired as it was driven in and around the French Riviera.
Gallery: 2009 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction
1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder 1253GT - sold for €2,072,000
The left-hand drive LWB California Spyder on offer, chassis 1253 GT, is the 21st car built and was delivered new with a high compression engine and velocity stacks – a very sporting specification. Completed by the factory in March 1959 and sold to its first owner Guido Monzino of Milan, it was also delivered new with the desirable covered headlights, and it was the only LWB California Spyder to be equipped from new with the attractive side ven... more
Gallery: 2010 RM Auctions Sporting Classics of Monaco
1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder 1307GT - sold for €2,520,000
Ex-Prince Alvise Hercolani and Wolfgang Seidel. Special features including hardtop and Superamerica side vents. Matching numbers and Ferrari Classiche certified. Extensive recent detailing work and motor and suspension rebuild. Shown at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Known provenance, documented by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini
Gallery: RM 2011 Villa d’Este Auction
1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider 1215GT - sold for $3,355,000
The 18th of 50 LWB California Spiders. Factory Delivered with Cold-Air Box and Velocity Stacks. Known Ownership History from New. Verified Matching-Numbers Example. Restored by the Finest Restoration Firms. Recently Sorted and Serviced by Bob Smith. Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini.
Gallery: 2011 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company
1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider 1505GT - sold for $3,905,000
Desirable, Late-Production LWB California Spider. Factory Equipped with Cold-Air Box, Velocity Stacks and Disc Brakes. Distinguished Chain of Knowledgeable Owners. Verified Matching-Numbers Engine. Eligible for the Leading Tours, Rallies and Concours. Documented by Marque Historian Marcel Massini. Certified by Ferrari Classiche.
Gallery: 2012 Scottsdale Auction by Gooding & Company
1959 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder 1283GT - sold for €4,507,104
Unique and extraordinary provenance. Mythical model, matching numbers, covered headlights. Extremely rare, one of 47 examples, the 22nt built. The Roger Vadim's California. factory hard-top. former Jean-Claude Bajol collection.
Gallery: 2012 Artcurial Motorcars à Rétromobile
1957 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Prototipo 0769GT - sold for $6,600,000
An Important, One-of-a-Kind Ferrari. The Original Pre-Production California Spider Prototype. Groundbreaking Sports Car Design with Singular Features. Illustrated in Ferrari Factory Photographs and Sales Literature. Winner of the 1961 De Diego Trophy in Puerto Rico. Featured in Numerous Books and Magazines. Matching-Numbers, Ferrari Classiche Certified Example. Displayed at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Documented by Ferrari Histo... more
Gallery: 2012 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company
1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider 1073GT - sold for $8,250,000
An Elegant Early-Production LWB California Spider. Sophisticated Bleu Sera Metallizzato Livery. One of Only 23 Covered-Headlight Examples. Nut-and-Bolt Dennison International Restoration. Displayed at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. 2012 FCA Nationals Platinum Award Winner. A Prime Candidate for the Most Important Automotive Events. Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini. Offered with Extensive File of Records Dating Back to... more
Gallery: The 2013 Scottsdale Auctions by Gooding & Company