s/n 0881 GT, Engine no. 0881 GT (internal no. 150C)
Rosso Corsa with Black Stripe and Brown Interior
Known for their exceptional racing performance, formidable engineering, and beautiful design, by the mid 1950s the Ferrari 250 GT placed Ferrari into the highest echelon of Gran Turismo racing. These remarkable cars would ultimately become the epitome of performance excellence in both historic and collector contexts, eventually cementing the 250 GT Ferrari as the ultimate performance icon more than half a century later. The predecessor to the 250 GT SWB and the quintessential 250 GTO, the 250 GT Berlinetta “Tour de France” Ferrari remains among the most desirable and collectable models available today, in part because these cars delivered repeated victories in many of the most grueling period races, continuing to do so in contemporary vintage events around the world. Rare competition examples with decorated provenance, detailed documentation, and exciting historic contexts continue to be the most sought after not only for their excellent performance qualities and stunning Scaglietti coachwork, but also for their mechanical artistry and iconic historic presence during an unprecedented period of motorsports racing.
The Tour de France race, one of the most important, demanding, and historic sports car events, ran for five to six grueling days, covering vast often undeveloped stretches of French country roads with a range of driving conditions that challenged even the most skilled participants. The event included multiple sprint races on established circuits, road racing, and hill-climbs, all of which challenged the stamina of even the most capable drivers and the resilience of their cars. Having evolved annually, by 1956 the FIA Gran Turismo international racing classification required a more clearly defined relationship between competition and production cars. This largely marketing effort was specifically intended to improve visibility for road cars, thus elevating racing to larger audiences while exposing motorsports brands to more people. Ferrari, already building road cars as a means to expand their clientele, responded by crafting dual-purpose cars using lightweight alloy Scaglietti coachwork, competition tuned engines, dual master cylinder braking, offset-shift aluminum case gearboxes, dual fuel pumps, large capacity fuel tanks, and larger brakes. The combination of these elements came together in a powerful car with dramatic looks ready for both heady competition and road use. Although the intent was to build a formidable car with compliance for road use, the final car was truly a fantastic competition car, built with a nod toward road use with a mere sprinkling of comfort amenities. It is this alluring alliance of raw performance and road going drivability that continues to make these cars so highly sought after. The 250 GT Tour de France is widely regarded as a premier entrant for nearly every significant vintage event including the California Mille, Colorado Grand, and the pinnacle of period motorsports touring-based events, the Mille Storico (Mille Miglia) in Italy.
Though historians vary on the exact number, it is generally believed that Ferrari built approximately 90 250 Tour de France models between 1956 and 1959. During this period, and quite remarkably so, Ferrari won this event all four years in a row, with three of those victories at the hands of legendary racer Oliver Gendebien, who also drove a Ferrari 250 TdF to first place in the GT class and third overall at the final Mille Miglia, now run as the Mille Storico. Though these exceptional Ferraris were making a significant impression at the Tour de France race, they had yet to receive the “Tour de France” designation until well after their multiple wins at this celebrated French venue. During this period, Ferrari was further cementing their competition prowess as victories stacked up with wins at racetracks all over the world. The 250 GT Tour de France repeatedly proved that Ferrari was not only rapidly building a reputation as a European racing phenomenon, they were becoming a force in sportscar development throughout the world. As victories on both sides of the Atlantic further cemented Ferrari as a premier builder, Sebring, the Tour of Sicily, Reims 12 Hours, Swedish Grand Prix, and a notable class win and 3rd overall finish at Le Mans in 1959 made it clear; Ferrari was becoming the performance car, ready to take on any contenders at any of the world’s top racing venues.
Of the roughly 90 Tour de Frances constructed, five generally regarded body variants make up the total series. The most distinctive features separating the five variants are indicated by the number of cabin ventilation louvers located behind the side windows; 14 louvers on the first cars, three raised-panel louvers on second iteration cars, and a single louver on the last of the series. The three and single louver cars are the most evolved visually, having influenced the design of the GTO and the 275 GTB. All variants were available with covered or open headlights. Primarily fitted for aerodynamic efficiency, the covered headlight late series cars are recognized as the most desirable of the Scaglietti Berlinetta 250 GT Tour de France Ferraris.
This particular car, serial number 0881 GT is one of eighteen highly desirable three louver, covered headlight cars. Built for competition, this car was originally outfitted with magnesium engine components including the cam covers, sump, intake manifolds, and front engine covers. Also fitted with the competition gearbox, this car was built with lighter weight floor panels, and side and front “quick jack” points to facilitate quick tire changes during competition. As remarkable as these rare configurations are in such an important car, as we will soon learn, this particular car is far more than a beautifully designed and well-engineered stallion that commanded race tracks all over the world, it is a passionate fighter, unwilling to give in to the demands of racing or the fate of many lesser cars.
On February 25, 1958 #0881 was invoiced to Francorchamps, Belgium and delivered to Count Antoine d’Assche who, along with Jacques Swaters, participated in the following racing events in 1958:
1958, 08 March Cote d'Herbeumont #181 d'Assche 3rd in class
1958, 27 April Km de Knokke #109 d'Assche 5th in class
1958, 27 April Km de Knokee #113 Swaters 4th in class
1958, 18 May Grand Prix de Spa #37 d'Assche (DNS)
Documented by several Ferrari experts and pictured in several books, #0881 could very well have continued to be a prominent feature of further races, but fate dictated a different future. After some research into the history of this car, in 1996, Ferrari historian David Seiekstad reported that while under d’Assche’s ownership #0881 had been burned in a garage fire in Belgium. The same garage had also been housing another Ferrari Tour de France, #0707 as well as many of its glass and trim parts which had been removed for repaint. As eyewitnesses had reported, the two cars were in danger of burning so efforts were quickly mustered to remove the cars. In the midst of the conflagration, #0707 was heroically pulled from the garage while #0881 and the spare parts for #0707, now more hidden by the growing flames could not be safely reached, thus it remained stoically in place as the fire continued. When the flames were finally quelled, #0881 was removed from the charred garage, inspected, and found to have miraculously retained many of its critical original components. Once again fate stepped in as surely any number of future owners could have divided the car, sent the engine away to serve another Ferrari, or simply been dismantled for parts. But somehow #0881 held together for the most important race of its life as a new line of caretakers smartly stepped in to preserve as much of the car as possible. The next recorded ownership, attributed to the name Van Den Bosch has little documented reference, but is followed by import to England in 1962/63 by Rolls Royce dealer Malcolm Bennett. Bennett, an enthusiast of the Ferrari marque purchased both the formerly rescued #0707 and #0881 which, according to several documents on file, still retained the original engine, differential, and the forward portion of the original chassis, all of which were reported to have been in good condition. Though not much is known about the history of the car thereafter, most likely it was brokered privately for sale. In any case, during this time, the car appears to have remained quite complete as it embarked on the next chapter of its life.
In 1990, UK resident and Ferrari collector Steve Pilkington became aware of the car and its unique history. He immediately purchased it, with the enthusiastic intent of bringing it back to its former glory. Pilkington and his restoration team could clearly see the surviving diamond shimmering beneath the fired carbon, thus embarking on a consummate restoration of the car. To accomplish this task, expert alloy panel crafter Terry Hoyle was commissioned to construct an all alloy body to exacting specifications, matching the famed three-louver, covered headlamp Scaglietti body #0881 wore when new. The all alloy body was fitted to the chassis, which was now composed of the original front portion of the frame and the center and rear frame portions acquired from a Ferrari Boano chassis, possibly attributed to #0579 GT (which was disassembled, available, and in the UK at that time) though to-date not confirmed. With the body and chassis now mated, the car was extensively restored using correct drum brakes, proper Marchal headlights and driving lights, two-ear knockoffs on correctly sized Borrani wire wheels, and other correct period details. Upon completion, the car was offered for sale in 1992/93.
In 1999, the next owner Joseph W. Moch purchased the car, participating in the following events:
1999 Canadian Ferrari Races, Mosport 1st in class
1999 Ferrari Historic Challenge, Lime Rock (race 1) 1st in class, 13th overall
1999 Ferrari Historic Challenge, Lime Rock (race 2) 1st in class, 11th overall
1999 Monterey Historics
1999 Chrysler Mercedes Benz Concours, 1st in class, Bay Harbor
In April 2000, the car was offered for sale by Mike Sheehan, Costa Mesa, CA and sold to the next owner Jeffrey Mamorsky. Like Moch, Mamorsky participated in a number of vintage motorsports events, sharing driving duties with Nick Soprano.
2001 X Cavallino Classic Track Event, Moroso Park
2001 Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge, Moroso Park 2nd in class, 4th overeall
2001 XI Cavallino Classic Display, Class 3
2001 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance
2001 Monterey Historic Races, Laguna Seca
2004 Mille Miglia Nick Soprano, Driver #365
2004 XIII Cavallino Classic Nick Soprano
2004 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance Nick Soprano
In 2005, the current and consigning owner purchased the car. Over his fifteen years of ownership, the car has participated in multiple vintage motorsports events achieving consistently high placement both in class and in overall finishes.
2005 Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge, Moroso Park 5th overall
2005 XIV Cavallino Classic
2006 Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge, Road America Elkhart Lake 3rd overall
2006 Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge, Elkhart Lake – Race 2 3rd overall
2006 Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge, Lime Rock – Class 3 4th overall
2008 XVII Cavallino Classic
2008 Monterey Historic Races, Laguna Seca #365
2011 XX Cavallino Classic
2012 XXI Cavallino Classic, Palm Beach Raceway, drum brake race 1st in class
2012 XII Cavallino Classic
2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
With its matching numbers engine, recognition as a 1957 Competition car by expert Jess G. Pourret, FIA certification, historic racing heritage, and an ongoing record of contemporary motorsport participation, #0881 continues to offer some the very best driving attributes and stunning coachwork to delight any vintage enthusiast. Previous work includes a comprehensive engine rebuild by Ferrari specialist Terry Muir as part of the continued care exhibited throughout the documented ownership. This Ferrari Tour de France not only exemplifies one of the very finest in historically important Ferraris, it embodies the passion and dedication of so many enthusiasts who contributed to preserving such a fine and rare example of design and engineering.
Today this remarkable Ferrari presents as a beautiful and refined 250 GT Tour de France, embracing authentic and documented competition details with a very rich and settled appearance. The remarkable historic stewardship and journey of this deserving car is embodied not just in the restoration but in the appropriate racing use it has seen, validating the quality and build behind the many skilled artisans and owners who have lovingly continued the legacy of its racing heritage. The vivid red and black paint has excellent gloss and smooth coverage accenting the dramatic long hood, short deck design that would come to define literally all Gran Turismos. Though the paint has settled over time and various areas now show signs of use, the overall look at feel of the exterior is cohesive and harmonious. The wide hood and full-length hood scoop are further enhanced as the black stripe, as worn when campaigned by Francorchamps in Belgium, blankets out toward the powerful grill, repeating this dynamic pattern at the rear of the car. The desirable covered headlights and inboard foglamps, both correct Marchal units, add a finishing competition touch to the look of the car. Further competition touches include the aluminum outside filler cap, distinctive three-panel louvers, and lift-off hood with time-hued leather bonnet latches. A small imperfection in the passenger side rocker panel about the size of a golf ball is evident under close examination, but otherwise hidden in the satin black portion at the lower portion of the wheel arch. The panel fit is excellent for all openings with smooth perimeter execution along the alloy edge folds and correct finishes along the inside panel areas. The body lines are dramatic and beautifully executed with lightly polished aluminum side intake vents, front and rear lightweight polished alloy bumpers, and correctly painted side window trim. The correctly specified competition side and rear windows are plexiglass, and together with the glass windshield, show no major flaws, only minor areas of use, and a minor era of delamination on the bottom right corner of the windscreen. The correct 16” 5 1/2” width Borrani wire wheels are correctly finished, with chrome plated dual ear knockoffs and properly sized Dunlop racing tires.
The interior is finished in supple brown upholstery with excellent fit, finish, and proper pleating to the contoured seats. Now softly settled, yet still showing excellent fit and finish, the door panels, seats, and booted gear shift handle offer a fine blend of material and finish. The black diamond stitched parcel shelf area and under-dash sections nicely accent against the tan carpeting - a polite sound deadening amenity to the otherwise competition tone of the interior. The instruments are beautifully finished with excellent color, clarity, and details contrasting against the correct crackle black finish of the purposeful dashboard, highlighted by the quintessential wood rimmed steering wheel. Every aspect of the interior, even under the dashboard has been properly tended to with correct components as part of the restoration. A protective roll bar and a pair of five-point Simpson racing harnesses (dated Jan 2016) have been installed along with a fire suppression system and fire-bottle pull-tab located on the right side of the dashboard. The trunk, while sparse and finished with weight savings in mind gives yet another nod to the performance goals of these superb racing cars.
Unlatching the hood spring clasps and leather bonnet straps, the lightweight alloy hood easily lifts off revealing the stunning V12 engine in all its mechanical glory. With no cumbersome or heavy air cleaner, the Siamese velocity stacks perfectly top triple dual-throat Weber carburetors, heralding the power that lurks beneath. The engine castings, hardware, fittings, and iconic finishes present honestly and correctly as a proper Ferrari should. With time having treated the finishes to warm hues and fuel-toning to various metal parts, every detail from the orange Fram oil filter canister to the black painted Weber carburetor bodies now proudly show their joyfully used finishes as medals of competition. The engine compartment is a highlight of technical sophistication and engineering artistry, validated by matching numbers, authentic castings, recent Terry Hoyle engine rebuild, and harmonious finishes. The underside of the car has been properly cared for but not prepared for show display. The condition overall, while consistent and accurate shows many items of particular interest including correct vintage black canister Koni shock absorbers (which replace the original Houdaille units), proper drum brakes, a correct oil pan with excellent condition to the cooling flutes, and correct type ANSA mufflers.
Opening the lightweight alloy driver’s door, the purposeful interior invites your entry into one of the most inspiring driver’s seats known to racing history. With a joyful spark igniting legions of Italian craftsmen, the engine erupts into a sonorous twelve-cylinder roar, immediately capturing the spirit and vitality of the Golden Age of sports car competition. On the road, the engine delivers excellent throttle response with superb power reflective of the many years of V12 development and engineering combined with modern restoration artistry. Handling, braking, and overall ride are reminders of these cars having been both superlative period competition cars but every bit as capable of carving up mountain roads as highly potent road cars.
s/n 0881GT is offered with recent service records, copies of original Ferrari factory build paperwork, 1997 issued FIA Papers, a copy of the April/May 2008 Cavallino magazine featuring s/n 0881GT on the cover, and a collection of on track photos as well as copies of show and race event results related to this TdF.
This remarkable 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France is a truly unrepeatable example of one of the finest competition cars built during the heyday of racing excellence and the rise of Ferrari as a dominant motorsports company. A highly desirable three-louver, covered headlight example from new, retaining its matching numbers engine, with documented period race history, FIA certification, and many years of ongoing vintage racing participation, this Ferrari 250 GT is a wonderful car ready for enjoyable use, shows, or further vintage racing events.
Highly Desirable Covered Headlight 3-Louver Example Retaining its Original Matching Numbers Engine. Ferrari Shell Historic Challenge Veteran, Shown at Cavallino. Fit to Race or Rally at Premier Events Worldwide