Tim Scott ©2017, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Originally finished in Grigio with Rosso interior, this Boano coupe was delivered to Milanese publisher Giorgio Mondadori during the spring of 1957. It was exported from Italy to England in the late 1960s, and by the following decade was exhibited in Jim Baxter’s Lark Lane Motor Museum in Liverpool, finished in red with a tan interior. Jean-Roger Bossut, of France and Belgium, owned the car. In 2007, the Ferrari was seen during the Ferrari 60 Relay event in Reims and Epernay, France. Subsequently, it was Ferrari Classiche-certified, and afterwards, in 2012, cosmetically restored in a pale silver-blue metallic, Argento Auteuil Metalizzato with a gray roof and tan interior. Reportedly, it also received a rebuild of its original engine by noted marque specialist Terry Hoyle in December of 2017. Beautifully presented and lovingly finished, with Ferrari Classiche certification, this gorgeous Ferrari coupe represents one of the most elegant designs on the 250 GT chassis.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1957 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Boano
Years Produced:1956–58
Number Produced:130
Original List Price:$10,500
SCM Valuation:$752,000
Tune Up Cost:$3,000
Distributor Caps:$450
Chassis Number Location:Frame tube next to engine
Engine Number Location:On a boss at the right rear of engine
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America
Alternatives:1955 Bentley R-type Continental, 1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk II sedan, 1957 BMW 503 coupe
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 173, sold for $1,012,898, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Monaco Auction on May 12, 2018.

Low roof, high roof, steel, alloy, Ellena or Boano, vent windows or no vent windows — learn these terms and you’re on the way to being a Ferrari Boano expert. You should probably also know that Ferrari simply called the model a 250 GT. As there were many different 250 GTs, the nickname Boano was given to the car as a nod to the body builder.

The early 1950s were good to Enzo Ferrari. He had evolved from a machining concern to a race-car manufacturer. His cars were winning races on several continents, and orders were coming in from many countries. The company expanded its plant in 1954, and Enzo Ferrari was eager to fill it with a line of Grand Touring cars.

Ferrari’s vision of the future saw a single builder doing a series production of similar bodies. He wanted to take advantage of the economy of scale that uniformity would bring. Up to this point there had been no dominant body designer, but this was about to change.

Enter Battista “Pinin” Farina

As Luca Dal Monte describes in his fascinating new 954-page book, Enzo Ferrari, Power, Politics, and the Making of an Automotive Empire, Enzo Ferrari’s relationship with Battista “Pinin” Farina was quite complex:

“One was bad-tempered and the other grumpy.

“Ferrari was loud and verbose, while Pinin Farina was quiet and reserved.”

Ferrari complained, “I make the man, he makes the clothing, and he expects me to make the man the way he wants him, so he can make the clothing in a simpler way.”

Despite their differences, their collaboration was magic, producing many of the most valuable automobiles on the planet.

Ferrari chose Pinin Farina to pen the design of the car that would become the Boano. Pinin Farina, however, had just built a new plant, and he was not ready to start production — or the order was too small, and he did not build the body.

Production instead was awarded to Carrozzeria Boano.

Boano builds a great body — and leaves

Carrozzeria Boano was a relatively new concern fronted by Felice Mario Boano with the financial support of Giuseppe Pollo and his son-in-law Ezio Ellena’s family.

Boano was a seasoned automotive builder, having learned his craft from Pinin Farina before moving to — and then being ousted from — Ghia. Boano was well up to the task, and his Ferrari bodies are known for quality construction.

Boano was a man on the move, and soon after starting the Ferrari project, Fiat recruited him to join their central styling center. It was a chance of a lifetime, and he was off to Fiat, leaving the business to Giuseppe and Ezio.

They renamed the business Carrozzeria Ellena and continued building the Ferrari and other bodies.

Pinin Farina’s design for the 250 GT was classic simplicity. The lines are clean, smooth and devoid of scoops, louvers, or extravagant decorations. The interior was decidedly Grand Touring, with large, comfortable seats and a luxurious finish.

Five prototypes were built at Pinin Farina’s plant prior to production moving to Boano. The Pinin Farina-built cars have a slight rise in the top fender line behind the doors and a “Pinin Farina” badge on the flank.

The first few Ellena-built cars were identical to the Boano production. Later, they raised the roof slightly — creating what are known as high-roof cars. Ellena also discontinued the vent window on the doors.

The whole series of Boano- and Ellena-built 250 GTs is generally identified as Boanos. Ellena-built cars are often identified as high-roof Boanos. The description is a misnomer, as only Ellena built high-roof examples. Additionally, all examples without vent windows are high-roof cars and all are Ellenas.

Once a pariah

For many years, Boanos rivaled 250 GTEs and 250 Pinin Farina coupes as the least-valuable Ferraris. Many Boanos were harvested in the 1980s and 1990s for rebody projects.

Our subject car, chassis 0639GT, was safely tucked away in a London museum during this critical period. The stay kept it in a condition that was worthy of restoration as values increased.

Chassis 0639GT is a Boano-built, low-roof example. It has a well-documented history with no negative entries. It is noted as being eligible for the Tour Auto and Mille Miglia rallies. Additionally, it has a Ferrari Classiche Red Book, certifying that all of its major components are original.

This Boano would make an excellent event car. It has plenty of power to tackle challenging mountain passes. It’s also a closed car, which isn’t appreciated until you’re caught in the rain or cold in an open car.

It is an attractive car that will be well received at any concours event. As an investment tool, you could do worse.

The underpinnings of a Boano are quite similar to most of the important 250 Ferraris, such as the 250 California or the Tour de France. Driving one is similar to drinking a value Bordeaux — it doesn’t taste like Château Latour, but it’s close enough for a Tuesday evening.

SCM’s Platinum Auction Database has two previous entries for this car. In May 2001, 0639GT was a $118,000 no-sale at Poulain Le Fur/Sotheby’s Monaco sale. In 2012, it was again a no-sale, this time at Bonhams’ Paris sale, where it failed to pass the $460,000 low estimate.

The price paid for 0639GT was a shade surprising, as vintage Ferraris have been a bit soft for the past year or so. The number was a bit high, but no-excuse, well-prepared, Mille Miglia 250 Ferraris don’t come up all that often.

The seller got all the money possible, while the buyer got a sweetheart of a car. Everybody should have gone home happy. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)

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