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The first series was very quickly superseded after less than forty examples had been built, and it was the second series that fulfilled Ferrari’s wishes.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.
|Vehicle:||1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II|
$122,640 was the amount Coys of Kensington achieved for this PF Cabriolet at its 15 May 1997 auction in London.
According to Bruce Trenery of Fantasy Junction, “That was exactly the right price for a good car. Most of the cheap Cabs on the market today, the ones in the $70,000-$90,000 range, are builders that need some sort of restoration. And bringing a PF Cabriolet to excellent condition can easily cost $45,000, just for the paint and chrome.
“Throw in another $60,000 if you take the drivetrain to a high-end shop and ask them to make it perfect.”
While very nice PF Cabs seem to lurk just below the 275 GTS that followed it in terms of price, there are those, including SCM subscriber Paul Forbes, who believe that ultimately the PF Cabriolet will be worth more than the 275, as it is more of a vintage Ferrari, being the last open V12 with a front-mounted transmission rather than a transaxle.
PF Cabriolet buyers tend to be those enthusiasts looking for a docile, affordable open Ferrari, rather than the racier, but less tractable and far more expensive, California Spyders.
In terms of replacement value, PF Cabriolets should be considered underpriced at the current time. However, they will increase in price along with the market at large, rather than leading an escalation charge or dawdling behind. The car described here, in excellent condition, was well bought. – ED.