1961 Ferrari 250GT Cabriolet Series II

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Probably the most comprehensive range of any Ferrari type was the 250 series, with every derivation imaginable, from racing cars such as the LM, GTO and Testa Rossa to the civilized 2+2 Coupe. All of these models, though diverse in application, shared a basically similar engine, the magnificent 3-liter single-overhead-cam V12 designed by Gioachino Colombo. Cars fitted with versions of this engine probably won more races for Ferrari than any other type.

The 250GT Cabriolet was launched in 1959 and was intended to provide an open-topped production Ferrari that was clearly more road car than racecar. Up until that time the 250 California Spyder represented the only choice customers had for such a car, but that car was directly descended from the Tour de France competition berlinetta and was not genteel enough.

A year earlier the 250GT Pininfarina Coupe had been shown and it was this design that was adopted for the new cabriolet. Ferrari deliberately chose to call the car Cabriolet rather than the traditional term for open cars, Spyder, in order to highlight the fact that this was a much more refined and luxurious road car than previous offerings.

The first series was very quickly superseded after less than forty examples had been built, and it was the second series that fulfilled Ferrari’s wishes. Outwardly similar to the Coupe but without the roof, mechanical specification was also similar, sharing the same 240 bhp engine tune, a four-speed gearbox with overdrive, Houdaille lever action shock absorbers and Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels. Cockpit space was, like the Coupe’s, ample and for touring purposes it proved far more comfortable and well-equipped than the California Spyder.

Today any open topped Ferrari is a desirable commodity, especially one of the V12-engined cars, and the car pictured here is no exception. Fully restored in 1994 and finished in black with tan hide interior, it is described as excellent in all respects.