This car's association with Rob Walker is probably more hype than provenance, but for me it's enough to want it in my garage


When the new 250 Gran Tursimo was launched at the 1954 Paris Salon it was described as the first standard series production Ferrari. Pininfarina subsequently developed several different bodywork styles for the car; the Berlinetta Lusso treatment first appeared at the 1962 Paris Salon and was an instant success.
The sleek design was both curvaceous and aggressive, with full-length wings sweeping to a truncated tail designed in acknowledgement of the aerodynamic theories of Dr. Kamm. The short wheelbase of the earlier 250 GTs was retained, but a new chassis configuration for the Lusso placed the engine several centimeters further forward allowing for a more roomy and comfortable interior than its predecessors.
The appeal of the Berlinetta Lusso could not be better summarized then by Tanner and Nye in their book Ferrari, where they wrote, "The two-seat Berlinetta Lusso will remain one of the most graceful of all attainable Ferraris. It was never produced in great numbers, and the modest concession it made for road-going comfort made it a specialized bridge between increasingly luxurious production road cars and the full-house competition 250 GTO."
Of the 350 250 GTL Lussos built, just 22 were delivered in right-hand-drive form, making this a rare example. A well-known car, S/N 5463 was supplied new through U.K. Ferrari agents Maranello Concessionaires late in 1963.
Its next owner was race team manager and driver, the late Rob Walker, who purchased it when it had covered a mere 5,000 miles. Walker promptly had the car repainted in his dark blue livery. By 1968 he had sold it to an English Army officer, but when the man was posted overseas, Walker took the car back and offered it for sale again in
summer 1969.
Once sold in the heady 1980s boom for £440,000 (approx. $682,000),
letters on file confirm that S/N 5463 was subject to a full restoration at that time by Strattons. In more recent years the car has been owned by a number of
luminaries within the classic car world, and came into the present enthusiastic ownership five years ago.
A beautifully presented Ferrari, its owner was able to prove its abilities on a recent test-drive when it performed impeccably. On the road a Lusso must be one of the most practical and straightforward Ferraris to drive, as its gearbox is robust and it has a very positive feel, while the vision afforded to the driver is superb. Importantly, the Lusso also offers entry to a number of the more coveted events from the retrospective Tour de France (Tour Auto) to those of the Ferrari Owner's club.

Still, the Lusso stands as a desirable car, and values have had quite a run lately. Just three years ago this would have been a $140,000 car at best. But then prices started to climb, hitting $200k, $250k, $300k. They've now hit a wall at about $350k, making the $362,219 this car brought all the money.
That said, S/N 5463 is currently being rather unceremoniously advertised on the Web site of Bramley, a used car dealer in the U.K. It notes that it has sold this 250 GTL Lusso three times before, which added to the auction sale and a reported long consignment with Paul Barber, means this car has spent more time in a showroom than in a garage. Multiple or short-term ownership is seldom a good sign and makes one wonder what the former owners know that a new owner is going to find out.
Bramley is now asking about $400k for the car, but don't rush for the phone-I suspect the ex-Rob Walker Lusso will be for sale for a while.
(Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.)

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1964 Ferrari 250 GTL Lusso
Years Produced:1962-64
Number Produced:350
Original List Price:$12,600
SCM Valuation:$250,000-$350,000
Tune Up Cost:$2,000-$2,500, including valve adjustment
Distributor Caps:$450, two required
Chassis Number Location:left frame member by steering box
Engine Number Location:on right rear, under distributor
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America, PO Box 720597, Atlanta, GA 30358
Alternatives:1963-64 Alfa Romeo TZ-1, 1965-69 Bizzarrini Strada, 1966-68 Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2
Investment Grade:B

This 1964 250 GTL Lusso sold for $362,219 at Christie’s London Sale, held April 19, 2005.
An heir to the Johnnie Walker whiskey fortune, the occupation line of Rob Walker’s passport simply said “Gentleman.” He grew up in a 100-room house on a 270-acre estate and took well to the privileges that accompanied wealth. Owning 21 cars by his 21st birthday, his love of automobiles was honest, but it was his love of motor sports that drove his life.
Walker tried his hand at driving, competing in races as prestigious as the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1939, but recognizing others were more talented, he gave up driving to become a patron of the sport. Formula One was Walker’s particular passion, and as a privateer his crew was usually chasing the factory-backed teams from the back of the grid, but partying with the best of them when the races were over.
Like most celebrity ownership, S/N 5463’s association with Walker is probably more hype than it is provenance, but for me it’s enough to want this Lusso in my garage. Rob Walker wasn’t just a name from the annals of racing history to me-he was my friend.
He used to come over to my house every month, mesmerizing me with stories about races in far-off places like Monaco, South America and Portugal. He introduced me to cars called Lotus, Tyrrell, March, and Ferrari, and to men named Colin, Ken, and Enzo. His friends Jackie, Seppi and Stirling became my friends. When he told me Graham drove over his head to win the pole sitter’s prize of 100 bottles of champagne, I wasn’t just reading his column in Road & Track; I was with him toasting the occasion.
That the 1964 250 GTL Lusso in question is a Ferrari Lusso only ups the ante. Ken Gross, the former curator of the Petersen Museum, automobile author extraordinaire, and sometime SCM scribe, described the arrival of a Lusso at a car show, “as if Sophia Loren, in a bright red cocktail dress, had just walked provocatively through a party of English schoolgirls.”
Once behind the wheel of a Lusso the beauty fades, as more practical considerations become important. The speedometer and tach that look so novel mounted in the center of the dash suddenly become annoying when you have to take your eyes off the road to see them. The bucket seats that look like they belong in a race car should have stayed there, as they are not comfortable enough for GT use. The powertrain that looks great on paper has a little less zip than expected, and the transmission and differential ratios don’t seem to work together.

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