Consistent serial production 250s begin with the Europa GT. Prior to this, one could find differences between sequential Ferraris of the same model

Introduced to the public at the 1953 Paris Auto Salon alongside the 375 America, the 250 GT Europa was Ferrari's first true Gran Turismo and the first road-going Ferrari to be identified by the now-legendary 250 series nomenclature.

Pinin Farina's design features a high-waisted silhouette with a long, low hood, crisp lines and a large oval grille. The elegant yet sporty 2+2 coupe is now regarded as a classic and solidified Ferrari's longstanding relationship with the design firm.

The Europa was the only Ferrari 250 to carry the Aurelio Lampredi-designed V12, which was originally designated for racing use and produced over 200 horsepower. As such, the Europa was capable of a 135 mph top speed and 0-60 times under eight seconds. The V12 engine was coupled with an all-synchromesh transmission and, in conjunction with the car's superb handling characteristics, made for an outstanding Gran Turismo package.

The exceptional left-hand-drive example offered here, chassis 0361GT, was the third 250 GT Europa produced. It was sold upon completion to Mrs. Paola Ferrari for Ms. Mirka Landini of Bologna, Italy. It was owned in the 1960s by J. McCoy of Missouri before returning to Europe and finding its way in 1990 to Albert Obrist, an avid collector from Gstaad, Switzerland. Obrist owned the 250 GT Europa Series II until the mid-1990s, when it was acquired by the Ecclestone Collection.

The 1954 Series II has received a show-quality restoration. The two-tone dark blue and silver paint is in very good condition and virtually free of defects. The blue upholstery has been professionally restored and well maintained. The light gray cloth headliner and blue-painted dash are also quite remarkable, as is the proper as-new instrumentation. All chrome trim and brightwork have been professionally replated to show quality finish.

The undercarriage was correctly refinished in black and is complete, with original hardware or correct new replacements when necessary. No signs of road use are apparent, with the cleanliness in as-new condition. The engine bay is equally outstanding and has been expertly detailed. Three correct twin-choke Weber carburetors sit atop the 220-horsepower Lampredi V12. The original 16-inch Borrani wire wheels are shod in new Pirelli tires, and the spare wheel and jack reside in the boot, which has been professionally restored.

Only 36 Europas were built in both series. Benefiting from such rarity, as well as a superb pedigree and concours-quality restoration, a 250 GT Europa of this caliber would be an exceptional addition to any automotive collection.

(Introductory description courtesy of RM.)

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1954 Ferrari 250 GT Series II
Number Produced:18 Series I, 34 Series II
Original List Price:$9,500 approx.
Tune Up Cost:$2,500
Distributor Caps:$450 (two required)
Chassis Number Location:Left frame member by steering box
Engine Number Location:Right rear above motor mount
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America PO Box 720597, Atlanta, GA 30358
Investment Grade:A

This 1954 Ferrari 250 GT Europa Series II sold for $788,715 at RM’s London sale on October 31, 2007.

There are actually two distinct models of 250 Europa-the original series, introduced in 1953, and a second series known as the 250 Europa GT, which was introduced late in 1954. The subject car is the latter Europa GT. The original 250 Europa and its sibling, the 375 America, were nearly identical cars with different engines.

Both cars featured a Lampredi “long-block” V12 but with different displacements. The 375 America’s 300-plus horsepower engine displaced 4,522 cc, while the 250 Europa’s 200-hp engine displaced a more modest 2,963 cc. The smaller engine was a concession to Europe’s taxation on larger displacements. These cars had a 108-inch wheelbase, transverse front leaf springs, and Houdaille shock absorbers.

The big difference between the Europa and the Europa GT was the engine. The complex and heavy Lampredi engine of the Europa was discarded in favor of a smaller Colombo-designed unit. The shorter engine was 20 hp more powerful and allowed an 8-inch reduction in the car’s wheelbase. The shorter wheelbase, along with a revised rear frame design, coil front springs, and tubular hydraulic shock absorbers, contributed to improved handling in the Europa GT. The lovely Pinin Farina body was not significantly changed, though the Series II proportions are more aesthetically pleasing.

The importance of the 250 Gran Tursimo series to Ferrari’s history can not be overstated, and the history of production 250s begins with the Europa GT. Prior to the Europa GT, it was not unusual to find differences between sequential Ferraris of the same model.

Different body builders, different trim, and an evolution of mechanical components meant that even though two cars shared a common model number, they often were not common to each other. The Europa GT changed that. Recognizing that standardization was the key to profitability, Ferrari embarked on a plan to make a standardized production model, and the Europa GT was that model. Although there are custom Europa GTs, most of them are very similar.

While Europa GT #0361’s documentation is not complete, there’s enough history to be reasonably comfortable with its provenance. Certainly its history with Albert Obrist is a good indication of its quality. Mr. Obrist, a Swiss manufacturer of aluminum and plastic containers (think tooth paste tubes) liked to collect the best of the best. His collection included a 250 GTO, a TR 59, a half dozen sports prototypes, and a handful of other highly collectible Ferraris.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obrist borrowed heavily against the cars in the superheated Ferrari market of the late 1980s, only to find himself deep under water when the market crashed in the 1990s. Rumor has it that Formula One czar Bernie Ecclestone nudged the bank to call the loans and ended up with the cars at a significant discount. A prominent U.S. collector snapped up the important competition cars but apparently passed on the Europa, which is a telling story of a Europa’s relative collectibility when compared with the true heavy-hitter Ferraris.

This particular 250 GT Europa Series II, and especially its catalog description, do raise some questions. The catalog states that #0361 is fitted with a Lampredi engine, but as the third Europa GT (a Series II car), it should have a Colombo engine. The car does, however, have the leaf spring and Houdaille shock absorber front suspension of a first series Europa. The catalog also states that there were only 36 of both series Europas produced, which is also probably incorrect.

Ferrari often called the early cars 250 GTs without assigning a model name. One historian will call an ambiguous example one model and a different historian may call it a different model all together. The exact number of both series Europas produced is disputed, but it lies somewhere between 34 and 66.

There is little question that the Europa GT is an important car in Ferrari’s history. Owning one will get you invited to most anywhere you want to go. Unfortunately, they lack the lust factor the big boys have. While they are quite handsome and will draw a crowd, there will always be something faster or more glamorous that will take home the trophy. A Europa is a nice addition to a collection, but it’s not a centerpiece car; if you can only have one Ferrari, it’s not going to be a Europa. The $790k paid for #0361 is probably record territory for a Europa GT (0403GT was bid to $945,000 at Gstaad in 1999, but not sold-SCM# 8730), but these days that’s not unexpected. There just aren’t many great 250 series cars available, and if you want one you’d better be prepared to pay up. It’s interesting to note that if this 250 GT had been bought at the 2005 exchange rate, it would have cost $100,000 less.

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