|Vehicle:||1963 Ferrari 250 GTE NHRA Pro Street|
|Original List Price:||$11,000|
|Tune Up Cost:||$500|
|Chassis Number Location:||Left frame member by steering box|
|Engine Number Location:||n/a|
|Club Info:||Ferrari Club of America PO Box 720597, Atlanta, GA 30358|
|Investment Grade:||C (250 GTE); F (this car)|
This car sold for $108,120, including buyer’s premium, at Mecum’s High Performance Auction in Kissimmee, Florida, on January 30, 2010.
I love this car. I hate this car. No, wait, I’m so confused.. More than anything else, this bastardized coupe is destined to evoke strong emotions in anyone with an amygdala in his head. That’s because, like Warhol’s canvases did in the 1960s, it challenges us to consider: What exactly is the point of classic cars?
To purists, they are to be kept in original condition, with their history fully presented and their patina cherished. To restorers, classics represent perfection of the craft-and a tidy profit besides. And to street-rodders, they are a blank canvas onto which art is rendered.
Marrying the second and third disciplines produces this Ferrari. As incongruous as a wrestler in a Savile Row DJ (that’s dinner jacket or tux, to you), the 250 GTE Pro Street’s former three-liter Colombo V12 is long gone, replaced by an engine bay full of V8 Viagra-a big-block Chevy.
On Ferrarichat.com, the son of the builder claims the original chassis of 3919GT resides in ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard’s 250 GTO Spyder, while the son and his father saved the shell from a Wisconsin scrapyard. The result is a 700-horsepower trick on the tifosi.
Pretty nice job, for a mortal sin
Were you determined to tub out an early Ferrari, the maligned four-headlight 330 GT would be the logical pick, but the 250 GTE isn’t all that far behind. As Ferrari’s first series-production four-seater, there were nearly 1,000 of these 2+2s built and they have proven popular for all manner of resto-mods, including fakey- doo GTOs, SWBs, Cal Spyders, and even Testa Rossas. But you’re not exactly dealing with a valueless hulk when doing so. Even though they are regarded as the least desirable of the 250 series V12s, some examples nevertheless sold for close to $200,000 before the Great Recession.
You have to admit this 250 GTE’s builders did well. They kept the steel body entirely stock in appearance (save the ginormous hood scoop), and even chose a can’t-miss combination of black paint and red interior. The masterminds also retained a stock-appearing interior as much as was possible, including the original dash-no easy feat given the roll cage, stout shifter mechanism, racing buckets, hand controls for the paraplegic builder/driver, and tubbed rear wheelwells. Suffice it to say, there’s probably little room left for the fitted luggage this Ferrari perhaps carried when new.
The father and son rescued the shell in 1992, while the NHRA-spec build is a much more recent affair. But it would be fascinating to know the rest of the history of 3919GT, and to see when and how it lurched off the tracks, only to be reborn as a Pro Street dragster and a rocker’s GTO ragtop.
Never going home again
It’s interesting to note that while this car sold for only two-thirds of its reported cost of construction, it still generated enough interest to claim six-figure price status. The Pro Street 250 GTE was also the highest-grossing Ferrari in this particular auction, beating out a 1999 F355 spider at $54,000 and a 1988 Testarossa at $49,500. Much of that might have to do with the lingering glow from its (past) status as an Enzo-era front-engine V12, but regardless, its audacity found traction with someone.
So what’s the new owner to do with it? With the original chassis and engine elsewhere, there’s no going back to stock with this one. But why would you want to?
In all likelihood, it will instead remain as-is, a glimmering bauble that simultaneously offends and delights, depending on who’s looking its way. A rolling antithesis to a shrinking violet, this Pro Street Ferrari will get its new owner noticed literally anywhere he chooses to rumble, from the local cruise-in to a national show.
I’ll stop short of calling it well bought or sold. But I will call it the perfect crime.