Grand Touring Man
& The 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta
“Tour de France” 0903 GT
Having to sieve through hundreds of cars which are consigned for sale to the leading auction houses during the upcoming Monterey Car Week for the past month or so and then having to figure out which cars to highlight in Grand Touring may sound like a tedious and unappreciated exercise—which it is!— but nevertheless I am not about to complain. Because judging by the array of mouth-watering selection of blue-chip examples which will be going up on the auction stage one-by-one, August 2019 looks to be a bumper of a year filled with so many of the rarest and historically significant automobiles looking for new owners for quite some time.
While thumbing through the sales catalogue of Gooding and Company, the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and who will have their own event on the 16th and 17th August at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, their selection of Ferraris alone simply looked incredible. But while I could have picked any from the list to write one about, whether it is the late Niki Lauda’s 1975 Championship-winning Ferrari 312T Grand Prix car, the exquisite 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider in non-metallic grey or even the modern 458 Italia-based 2014 Ferrari Sergio, one of only six in the world, what caught my attention though was the 1958 250 GT Berlinetta “Tour de France” chassis number 0903 GT. Its outstanding features and provenance alone would easily be worthy to be in Grand Touring anyway. But in truth they are surpassed by the simple fact that I have seen the very car with my own eyes earlier this year—and it so happened to be one of my favourites.
0903 GT was one the very few Ferraris to be given an exclusive space on the lawns of The Breakers Hotel for the Concorso d’Eleganza at the 28th Palm Beach Cavallino Classic back in January. Although its participation was for display as a benefit for the guests only rather than vying for one the awards in the Concorso, the immaculate racer did not need to compete against the others in its class. Because back in 2013 this fourth out of only 36 single-louvre “Tour de France” ever made already claimed the event’s Platinum Award along with several others, including the Blue Ribbon at the Amelia Island Concours and the “Premio d’Onore” at Villa d’Este that same year.
The 2019 Palm Beach Cavallino Classic may have turned out to be a wet one this time. But I had come from too long a way for that to be a deterrent. Obviously attendees such as I were not allowed to touch the car and due to the inclement weather, its doors and the bonnet were to remain closed at all times. But like most women that you get to meet in clubs, that does not mean that you could not figure out a way to have a closer look or, to dispense with any form of innuendo on my part, to imagine for yourself what it is like inside.
While the elegant wafer-thin alloy body remained true to that crafted by Scaglietti when this Ferrari was made over sixty years ago, my recollection was also in the details of the interior as I peeked through its side window. When the full ground up restoration was completed in 2012 by our friends at Motion Products, the interior was meticulously finished with plush Light Grey leather upholstery for the racing seats. I remembered also the little signature details such as the correct wrinkled surface of the fascia, the passenger side gauges including a clock and the twin period Heuer stopwatches mounted in the center. These are the subtleties that define the 0903 GT as the quintessential Ferrari grand tourer with racing pretensions that one would expect.
At the estimate from $5.5 million and upward by Gooding, it will be quite interesting to see if the Tour de France Berlinetta will actually find a new home. Perhaps then the new owner would let me know what it is really like inside.
All Photos By (Unless Otherwise Stated) : www.sleepy-nokkie.com
For More Information: www.goodingco.com