My interest was immediately aroused when I saw this in my inbox, a letter on which I had been cc’ed, from a renowned Ferrari expert and historian: 

Attn. Mr. Rod Egan, Worldwide Auctioneers:

I have been reading the January 2021 issue of Sports Car Market magazine and saw the Worldwide ad for the Arizona auction, featuring a “1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France berlinetta” with serial number 0885GT.

Please be informed that the car in question is a complete replica and has zero to do with an authentic 250 GT Tour de France berlinetta bodied by Carrozzeria Scaglietti. No genuine 250 GT TdF berlinetta was ever built with serial number 0885GT. In fact, the car you are offering in your auction, using the chassis number 0885GT, was born as a 250 GT Coupé Ellena sold new in Florence, Italy, in April 1958. It was only in 2003–04 that this car was rebodied in the U.S. into a look-alike of a 14-louver 250 GT TdF berlinetta. And no, this was not done by Scaglietti, not at all. On top of all that, the engine in the car is non-matching and comes out of another 250 GT Coupé Ellena.

May I suggest that potential buyers of this vehicle and the public are informed accordingly.

With my best regards,

Marcel Massini

Point and counterpoint

When none other than the man whose name has become synonymous with Ferrari history reports calls out a car as something other than represented, this is certainly a story that needs to be told by “Legal Files.” But knowing that there are always at least two sides to every tale, we immediately contacted Rod Egan, partner and chief auctioneer at Worldwide, who responded immediately:

Mr. Massini is not wrong about the Ellena chassis. That is exactly why we included the chassis number in the ad — so everyone could see what the car started out as. It does, however, have an original Scaglietti TdF body on it now, as well as a correct TdF engine and components. The car is definitely not a replica as incorrectly stated by Marcel. It is a Ferrari that isn’t the same as what it started life as — not uncommon. The car is still “all Ferrari.”

It only takes about 10 seconds on Google to see what the car is and it is offered as such — no surprises for anyone.

Hope that helps clear things up for you,



However, Mr. Massini was not convinced:

This body was NOT made by Scaglietti. That is complete nonsense and pure fantasy. This body was made by Carrozzeria Mario Allegretti in Modena. Please keep in mind that the Carrozzeria Scaglietti coachworks was incorporated into Ferrari in the late 1960s already! And from that point onwards Scaglietti for sure did not make any restorations, spare bodies or whatever. Zero, nothing, nada. They totally and exclusively worked for Ferrari only.

To which Rod Egan offered the following explanation obtained from the seller of the car:

While all early Ferraris by now have an interesting history, this particular Tour de France has an intriguing story. In June of 1957, Ferrari 250 Berlinetta Competizione chassis number 0707 was purchased by Michel Ringoir, a wealthy amateur driver… who immediately began racing.

We understand that somewhere during this era (perhaps 1958) 0707 suffered a bad shunt, with Ringoir deciding that rather than repair the body, he would commission Scaglietti to create an entire new body, and at the same time upgrade the front end to include the recessed, covered headlamps with Perspex covers. Since Scaglietti was the original body manufacturer, it was an easy yet authentic task.

With the body project nearly complete, Ringoir had a change of heart and decided to make the necessary repairs on the original 0707 body. This original recommissioned body sat unmolested at Ferrari until the ’70s, when noted Ferrari collector and dealer Joe Marchetti bought it and had it on display as artwork in his facility in Chicago. When he passed away, it was acquired by Bob Fernando in Kansas City, who also displayed it. He sold it in the early 2000s to Marc Spizzirri in California with a proper Ellena chassis with no engine as a project. That is the chassis number now on this TdF. A proper inside-plug engine and transmission were acquired from Ash Marshall, who had acquired it from Dick Merritt out of a same-year Boano that had raced in the Mille Miglia.

Spizzirri assembled the car with the idea of racing it but never finished it completely. The car was bought by us and taken to Fast Cars, who performed a concours restoration to exact specifications. It has never been damaged, never raced, and potentially, is a no-mileage, virtually new 1958 Scaglietti-bodied 250 GT Tour de France.

What is this car?

Readers now get to pretend they are the judge in a collector-car lawsuit. How do you decide how this car should be described?

Clearly, it wouldn’t be correct to describe this car as an authentic TdF. That certainly is not how the car left the Ferrari factory. Egan agrees without hesitation.

Massini, however, believes strongly that this car should be described as a replica: “It is a rebodied Ellena with an incorrect and non-matching engine. Nothing more than that. It has zero to do with a TdF and 0885GT (serial number) has never been a TdF.”

Egan thinks that is an exaggeration, and believes equally strongly that the car should be described as a bitsa, and “a very well done bitsa,” at that.

What’s the difference?

First, let’s define our terms. A “replica” is a car that is built specifically to imitate a different car. One classic example is a Ferrari 308 built on a Fiero chassis, but that is certainly in a different league than this car. A “bitsa” is adulterated Italian for “bitsa this, bitsa that,” and denotes a car that was cobbled together from authentic parts that were never attached to each other by the factory.

While neither carries a value anywhere close to the value of an authentic car, a bitsa should generally be worth considerably more than a replica because it has real, albeit inauthentic, parts.

Piece-by-piece analysis

Let’s evaluate this car’s authenticity piece by piece, starting with the chassis. I asked Massini about the differences, and he replied, “Generally, Boano, Ellena and TdF frames are the same, all with 2,600-mm wheelbases. An Ellena is more or less a TdF with an Ellena coupé body and a regular 3-liter engine.” Personally, I would rate this element as a definite “maybe.”

Next, the engine. It is agreed by everyone that the engine came from a different car. Egan’s seller describes it as a “proper” engine and transmission. If we accept that as true, then I would rate this as an “okay.” This car should not be really any different than any other car with a replacement engine and transmission, with a caveat to follow.

Lastly, the body. Here, we have a very stark difference in the facts. Worldwide’s seller insists the body was built by Scaglietti, which would arguably make it a legitimate Ferrari part. But Massini insists it was built by another, unauthorized shop. If that is true, then the body would be something else entirely, especially given the “upgrades” that were made.

We are certainly free to make our own calculations, but it seems to me the replica-vs.-bitsa debate gets decided on how one views the body. If it was built by Scaglietti, then maybe the car is a bitsa, but you have to be comfortable with the fact that the body was built later and not built as part of the TdF production run. If it was built by someone else, as Massini believes, then it’s probably a replica.

Then there is another angle: A car may well be worth more or less than the sum of its parts. The case can be made that the imperfections are additive. When none of the major components are sourced from an original car, there may well be an additional value discount required.

The philosophical view

The market places great value on originality, and rightly so. But an original 14-louver TdF is a $10 million–$15 million asset. Can you really drive it? According to Egan, this car is very well done and drives excellently, exactly the same as — or even better than — an original car. If the driving experience is what you are after, then this one might tick all the right boxes.

So now you know what it feels like to be a judge. After the parties have fully presented their cases, you withdraw to your chambers to reflect on everything and make your decision. You may discover that you have several important questions that you didn’t know to ask during the trial. But now you can’t. So how do you decide? Your comments are invited. ♦

John Draneas is an attorney in Oregon and has been SCM’s “Legal Files” columnist since 2003. He can be reached through His comments are general in nature and are not intended to substitute for consultation with an attorney.

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