Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Cabriolet
• Photo © by Artamia. Concours d’Elegance Cars Show & Christi Auction. Pebble Beach,
CA. Monterey Bay Peninsula. USA. Pebble Beach Resort, Golf Course and Co.
• Ferrari’s first road cars were little more than thinly disguised racing cars, built to custom order for the world’s richest enthusiasts. The cars left the Maranello based factory to be bodied by one of the many Italian coach builders with often very beautiful open and fixed head bodies. While these road going Ferraris were among the finest machines available, for Enzo Ferrari they were little more than a means to finance his racing. The increasing popularity of the production based ‘Gran Turismo’ racing saw Ferrari take a renewed interest in road cars. At the 1956 Geneva Motor Show the first purpose built Ferrari road car was introduced, dubbed the 250 GT and bodied by Pinin Farina. The production cars were built by Mario Boano, who closely followed Pinin Farina’s original design. Around 70 virtually identical examples were produced, making the 250 GT Boano the first Ferrari built in a series.
• Interesting that Boano himself also showed a Ferrari 250 GT based machine on that same 1956 Geneva Motor Show. No doubt inspired by the American designs of the day, Boano had crafted a very extravagant Cabriolet body for the 2600 mm chassis. The most noticeable styling influence from across the Atlantic were the fins that ran along the side of the car. It was also distinct in the prominent use of chrome. It was shown twice more and then sold to an American collector, who owns it to this day. Even though it was the only 250 GT fitted with an open body by Boano, it sparked an interest in a ‘Cabriolet’ production car. Pinin Farina was commissioned with the design and construction of the car. Official known as the ‘Spyder 2-Posti’ the first prototype was ready in time for the 1957 Geneva Motor Show. A further three prototypes were constructed before the design was finalized. This was used for the subsequent 36 ‘250 GT Cabriolets’, although it must be said that no two cars were completely identical.
• In good Ferrari tradition the chassis of the 250 GT production cars was closely related to that of the competition cars. Similar to all of the company’s sports car chassis of the day, it was constructed around two large tubular rails with plenty of cross members for rigidity. Suspension was by double wishbones with coil springs at the front and a live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs at the back. Like most Italian manufacturers Ferrari continued to use the tried and trusted finned drum brakes long after the British had showed their advantages on road and track. Several of the 250 GT Cabriolets later received disc brakes, including the first prototype, which was sold to factory driver Peter Collins. Retrieved from a Jaguar D-Type the same set was later used by the factory for testing purposes …