Ferrari 250 GT TdF

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Description: Auction Lot S123, Monterey, CA 2010. S/N 1321GT. 1st in class, 3rd overall at the 1959 24 Heures du Mans. 1st place at the 1959 Nurburgring 1000 KM race. Driven by Jean Blaton and Leon Dernier. Remained under longterm ownership since the 1970s. Last seen publicly in the early 1990s at Road America. The only TdF with the unique oil filler door located on the engine cover. Retains the original keys Single-vent sail panels. Open headlights. 1321GT represents the pinnacle of the 250 GT TdF series

Built from 1953 to 1964, the 250 GT was Ferrari’s first production automobile and its most successful early line, with several variants that each established their own benchmarks of greatness. The collective mechanical refinements of Ferrari’s early post war cars were finally fully merged with Pinifarina’s design genius in the 250 GT series; beginning with the 1953 250 Europa and Europa GT, Pininfarina established the styling cues that would signify a generation of road and competition Ferraris: a long nose to accommodate the famous V-12 engine, an oval eggcrate grille, sweeping rear roof panels and smooth, unbroken contours.

As the 250 GT was growing in stature as the world’s finest Grand Touring car, sports car racing was approaching Grand Prix levels of performance, the dangers of which were made only too clear by the 1955 Le Mans accident. In 1956 the FIA responded by introducing a Grand Turismo class to emphasize the more sporting concept of a dual-purpose car suitable for both road and track. The 250 GT was a perfect fit for the new formula, which limited displacement to 3.0 liters, in which configuration the Colombo-designed Ferrari V-12 had been competing since 1952.

Ferrari had anticipated the FIA’s new rules in 1954 with the 250 Europa GT, which was built on a stronger twin-tube long wheelbase (102.3”) chassis using the first coil spring front suspension on a Ferrari. Competition versions also employed aluminum bodywork, plexiglass windows and other race-oriented refinements. The 250 GT competizione immediately became the dominant force in FIA GT racing, and when a factory entry driven by the Spanish Marquis Alfonso de Portago won the grueling Tour de France, another Ferrari legend was born.

Thereafter the name “Tour de France” signified the series of competition berlinetta 250 GT Ferraris built from 1956 to 1959, when chassis number 1321GT, flying the colors of Belgium’s Garage Francorchamps, dominated its class at the twin cathedrals of endurance racing, Le Mans and the Nürburgring. Driven by Jean Blaton (aka “Beurlys”) and Leon Dernier, the Red and Yellow coupe won 1st place in the GT class and 3rd overall at Le Mans as the No. 11 car. Earlier that same year, it took 1st place at the Nürburgring 1000 KM race. After its competition career, the Ferrari was privately owned by only a few collectors – the most recent owning the car since the 1970s – and was last seen in public in the early 1990s at Road America.

1321GT is distinguished by its single-vent sail panels, open headlights mandated by Italian regulations, and is powered by an “inside-plug” V-12 fitted with triple carburetors (Of special note is the unique oil filler door located on the engine cover to facilitate quicker pit stops - the only one to appear on a Tour de France).

Still resplendent in Red with Francorchamps Yellow stripe and Saddle interior upholstery, 1321GT represents the pinnacle of the 250 GT TdF series of 82 cars and serves as historical testament to the brilliant collaboration between the two Italian automotive giants of the 20th century.

1959 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France #1321GT will headline the second annual Mecum Monterey Auction, August 13-14, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort & Spa.



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