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Ferrari 250 California LWB Spyder

When Ferrari replaced their 250 Cabriolet Series I with a more luxurious Series II version, Luigi Chinetti convinced Ferrari to continue on with a more sporting version called the California Spyder.

Despite the new name, almost everything from the Series I Cabriolet was used, with only minor details such as larger rear taillights and an optionally-available hard top. Under the Pinin Farina body, little changed. The car retained the long-wheel-base 250 GT chassis with the Tipo 128D engine.

Our feature example is one of the world’s best LWB 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.

Note: The 250 California model was constructed in two distinct series: the ‘LWB’ (long wheelbase) shown here between 1958 and 1960, although a prototype was built in late 1957, and the ‘SWB’ (short wheelbase) from 1960 to 1962. The latter example wasn’t actually completed until early 1963, with sub-divisions relative to body and mechanical details. A removable hard-top was available for both series.


See full 1958 Ferrari 250 California LWB Spyder Gallery here

1958→1960 Ferrari 250 California LWB Spyder 1958→1960 Ferrari 250 California LWB Spyder 1958→1960 Ferrari 250 California LWB Spyder


A short clip of Top Gear Series 18 Episode 7 on the realization of James May’s dream on meeting his hero, the Ferrari 250GT California.


Specs & Performance

submitted by Richard Owen
type Limited Production Car
production years 1958 – 1960
built at Mondena, Italy
coachbuilder Scaglietti & C.
production 50
predecessor 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series I
successor 1960 Ferrari 250 California SWB Spyder
engine Type 128D 60º V 12
position Front Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
block material Aluminum Alloy
valvetrain SOHC, 2 Valves per Cyl
fuel feed 3 36DCL3 Weber Carburetors
displacement 2953 cc / 180.2 in³
bore 73 mm / 2.87 in
stroke 58.8 mm / 2.31 in
compression 8.9:1
power 170.0 kw / 228 bhp @ 7000 rpm
specific output 77.21 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 165.34 bhp per tonne
body / frame Steel Body over Tubular Steel Chassis
driven wheels RWD
wheel type Borrani Wire
front tires 6.0×16
rear tires 6.0×16
front brakes Dunlop Discs
rear brakes Dunlop Discs
steering Worm & Sector
f suspension Unequal Wishbones w/Coil Springs, Anti-Roll Bar
r suspension Rigid Axle w/Semi Elliptic Leaf Springs, Radius Arms
curb weight 1379 kg / 3040 lbs
wheelbase 2400 mm / 94.5 in
front track 1378 mm / 54.3 in
rear track 1374 mm / 54.1 in
length 4200 mm / 165.4 in
width 1720 mm / 67.7 in
height 1370 mm / 53.9 in
transmission Tipo 508C/603 4-Speed Manual
gear ratios 2.54:1, 1.70:1, 1.26:1, 1.00:1
final drive 4.86:1
top speed ~233.4 kph / 145 mph
0 – 60 mph ~6.5 seconds

Auction Sales History

1958→1960 Ferrari 250 California LWB Spyder

1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider 1307GT – sold for $8,500,000 The 23rd of 50 LWB California Spiders built. Formerly owned by Prince Alvise Hercolani, Wolfgang Seidel, and Ed Niles Highly desirable and rare factory-installed features, including Superamerica-style front fender vents, an inset air intake on the hood, and velocity stacks. Possibly the most uniquely designed California Spider built. Matching numbers throughout; Ferrari Classiche certified. Auction Source: RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2015

1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider 1425GT – sold for $7,700,000 One of Only 50 LWB California Spiders Built. Late-Production Example with Cold-Air Box and Velocity Stacks. Magnificent Unrestored Condition with Preserved Original Interior. Presented with Extensive Records, Tool Roll, and Sales Literature. Offered for Sale for the First Time Since 1969. Auction Source: The Scottsdale Auctions 2015 by Gooding & Company

1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider 1055GT – sold for $8,800,000 The 11th of 50 LWB California Spiders built. Matching-numbers example, with covered headlamps. Former owners include Gerald Roush and Anthony Wang. Documented by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini. Auction Source: 2014 Arizona by RM Auctions

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 the 1970s. Matching-Numbers, Ferrari Classiche Certified Example Auction Source: The 2013 Scottsdale Auctions by Gooding & Company


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 Historian Marcel Massini. Auction Source: 2012 Pebble Beach Auctions 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. Auction Source: 2012 Artcurial Motorcars à Rétromobile


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. Auction Source: 2012 Scottsdale Auction by Gooding & Company


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. Auction Source: 2011 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company


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 . Auction Source: RM 2011 Villa d’Este 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 vents of the SWB California Spyder.

In 1964, the car was exported north to Switzerland and registered there before ultimately making its way stateside and being owned by Midway International of San Diego in 1973, having since been refinished in red. Ara Minoogian of California purchased the car in 1974. Two years later, the car resided in Texas with Bob Lloyd but went back to California in 1977 in the ownership of Bob Taylor of Burlingame.

1253 GT remained in sunny, dry California for many years thereafter, first with Jeff Lewis of Diamond Bar, who owned the car from 1979 to 1990, and then with Ed Domanskis of Newport Beach. The car left California when it was again offered for sale and was purchased by Gordon Tatum of Gaithersburg, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

In 1991, the car returned to Europe and has remained there ever since, first with Volker Graul of Germany, then with Jürgen Jaudzims and, in 1994, with Dr. Wolf Zweifler of Munich, via dealer Werner Zanders.

In 1995, a complete restoration of the car was undertaken, finishing the car in verde pino with a cream leather interior. In 1998, Lord Harris of England purchased the car at auction and owned it well into the 2000s. British radio presenter and producer Chris Evans acquired the car in 2007 and has maintained it ever since in his impressive Ferrari collection, which also includes the ex-James Coburn SWB California Spyder, which set a world record at RM’s 2008 Ferrari: Leggenda e Passione auction event.

In his ownership, Mr. Evans has reunited this car with its original engine, which had been fitted to chassis 0787 GT, a 250 GT Tour de France, much earlier in its history. He has enjoyed the car at various events in England, including the 4th Annual Salon Privé at the Hurlingham Club, London as well as the NEC Classic Car Show at Birmingham. The car has been Ferrari Classiche certified and has also been featured in the English magazines Thoroughbred & Classic Cars as well as Auto Italia. An RM specialist had the pleasure of driving this car recently and confirmed its tremendous power as it pulled like a rocket ship through the gears! Auction Source: 2010 RM Auctions Sporting Classics of Monaco


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. Auction Source: 2009 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction

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 Mergner, placing second overall. The car was subsequently sold by Chinetti to the Rodriguez family in Mexico. The brothers Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez were of course very well-known racing drivers, the former enjoying quite a successful career in Formula 1 as well. On 9 October 1961, Pedro, then aged 21, raced in the Gran Premio Indipendenza in Mexico and won the GT class, an event pictured in the 1961 Ferrari Yearbook.

A devoted and highly respected Ferrari enthusiast, th owner commissioned additional restoration work at Bob Smith Coachworks in Texas. The restoration, conducted to concours standards, was rewarded in 2005 with the prestigious Platinum Award at the Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach before being shown at Pebble Beach in 2005. Auction Source: 2009 Leggenda e Passione

1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder 0923GT – sold for €2,365,000 0923

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 condition with rich Rosso Rubino factory-covered light coachwork and an exquisitely supple tan hide interior. Auction Source: 2008 Leggenda e Passione

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. Auction Source: 2007 Monterey Preview