The introduction of the 250 GT in 1954 is seen by many as the company’s first serious attempt at making a rational production car and it started a line of some of the most successful GT cars ever built. Of all the 250 derivatives, the “Tour de France” long-wheelbase berlinetta is one of the most evocative ever made. It remains a milestone in Ferrari history as the first definitive road-racing berlinetta and the car that contributed most significantly in the mid to late 1950s in giving Ferrari its reputation as the customer car to beat.

This specimen has been restored to what is generally considered to be the most desirable “Tour de France” specification of all. The basis for the project was a 1959 250 GT, chassis number 1657GT. This was fitted with the rare and correct inside-plug V12 engine as used in the “Tour de France.” The work was undertaken by Italian specialists, Autosport, located in Bastiglia.

The engine was rebuilt to TdF specification, the chassis was comprehensively restored and fitted with new brakes uprated to GTO specification, with aluminum calipers and new fuel system built and fitted by Paul Jaye Engineering, well-known historic car specialists based in the U.K. The whole was clothed in a reconstruction of the 14-louvre “Tour de France” body. Internally the car was retrimmed by master coach trimmers, the Luppi brothers of Modena, the family concern responsible for trimming a majority of GT Ferraris in their heyday.

Upon the completion of the project, 1657GT, now visually and mechanically to “Tour de France” specification, has been used for a number of historic events including the Louis Vuitton Italia Classica and the Danish Classic Car Rally. It is finished in maroon with tan leather interior.

SCM Analysis

Detailing

Vehicle:1959 Ferrari 250 GT TdF Fakey-Do
Years Produced:1958-1962 (donor 250PF coupe)
Number Produced:350 (donor 250PF coupe)
Original List Price:$12,500 (donor 250PF coupe)
SCM Valuation:$550,000-$750,000, geniuine TdF; $35,000-$60,000,
Tune Up Cost:$1,200-$1,600
Distributor Caps:$200 two required
Chassis Number Location:On chassis near R.F. top wishbone anchorage
Engine Number Location:Right side of block above starter flange
Club Info:Ferrari Owners Club, 8642 Cleta Street; Downey, CA 90241. 562/861-6992
Website:http://FerrariOwnersClub.org
Alternatives:(to a real Tdf) Maserati A6 Zagato, Mercedes 300SL (competition model)

The vehicle described here sold for $198,768 (including commission) at the Coys International Auction held at Silverstone, England, July 31, 1999.

This series of 250 GT Ferraris were notable for several reasons. They were the first to be fitted with the famous type 128 engine and they were to dominate the Tour de France event for an unprecedented nine years. A genuine TdF car commands figures north of $500,000. That fact, coupled with their similarity under the skin to more affordable 250s, has caused a number of rebodied cars to sprout up, such as this one sold at the Coys auction.

It is more common to find a 250 or 330 rebodied into a 250 GTO or a 250 TR than a TdF. Therefore, price statistics are a bit thin but comparisons can still be made to other rebodies. The first issue to address is the accuracy of the replication. There seem to be a few pluses and minuses with regard to 1657GT. It has the desirable 14-louver body configuration fitted with a tuned, inside-plug engine. It carries disc brakes and 15-inch wheels, probably because the 1959 donor car is newer than the Boano/Ellena 250s that were the basis of the original TdF. Certainly a few genuine TdFs have been upgraded with these wheels and brakes, but this is a strike against the car’s authenticity.

Overall, this car is not as painstaking a replica as, say, a Favre 250 GTO. Very high-quality alloy 250SWB rebodies fitted with strong engines have been offered in the $125-135,000 range. I would think that this particular car, with its various strengths and weaknesses, would have sold in the low $100,000 range. Perhaps it was superior to the specifications and description or it was purchased by someone who just wanted to buy a finished car for about the price of building one, but without the wait.-Michael Duffey

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