1963 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 Series III by Pininfarina
Sold for $473,000 Including Commission
RM Auction, Monterey, CA. 2014
Chassis no. 4303 GT
Engine no. 4303
240 bhp, 2,953 cc SOHC V-12 engine with triple Weber carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive, front double-wishbone suspension and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs, and front and rear disc brakes. Wheelbase: 102 in.
•A desirable Series III example of Ferrari’s first production 2+2
•Documented by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini
•Recent full service by Fast Cars Ltd.
While all eyes at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans were on the Ferraris of Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team, Ecurie Francorchamps, and those campaigned by the factory, keen tifosi certainly took notice of the course marshal’s car—a Ferrari the likes of which had never before been seen.
With much more subtle styling than the 250 TR59/60 of Paul Frère and Olivier Gendebien, which finished 1st overall, and the 250 GT SWB of Ed Hugus and Augie Pabst, which finished 1st in the GT class that year, it was clear that this new Ferrari piloted by the course marshal was not intended for racing. As it had slightly larger dimensions than Ferrari’s offerings and was fitted with a rear seat, it was clear that the company was aiming for new clients: individuals that would appreciate an automobile with luxurious and commodious accommodations for four but still had all of the performance Ferraris were known for.
The GTE’s official launch would be a few months later, at the Paris Motor Show that same year. It was a big moment for Ferrari, as this would be the first production 2+2 to ever leave Maranello, aside from a few earlier special-order cars. With a 2+2 coupe in their repertoire, Ferrari could now compete with similar models from Aston Martin and Maserati.
The GTE retained both the same chassis as the 250 GT LWB TdF and the tried-and-true 3.0-liter Colombo V-12 engine, and it had incredible performance, as it could reach a top speed of over 140 mph. The engine itself was moved forward in the chassis by eight inches, the front and rear track were increased, and the rear section of the roof was raised in order to provide additional interior space and a rear seat, and all of this occurred on the TdF’s original 2,600-millimeter wheelbase. These efforts were not lost on Ferrari’s customers, and the 250 GTE quickly became the company’s best-selling model. A total of 953 examples were sold between 1960 and 1963.
According to information provided by noted Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, this 1963 250 GTE, chassis 4303 GT, was completed by the factory in April 1963 and was originally finished in Grigio Scuro Italver (20152 S) over a Rosso Scuro (VM 893) Connolly leather interior. The car was ordered by Garage Francorchamps, of Brussels, Belgium, and subsequently shipped to their facilities upon its completion.
Less than two weeks later, the car was sold by Francorchamps to its first owner, Peter J. G. Bentley, the CEO of Canadian Forest Products Ltd. and later the CEO Emeritus of Canfor Corporation, who was a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The car was shipped to Bentley’s residence in Canada, arriving later that year. It is not known how long Bentley retained the car, but it was eventually sold to Rodney Touche, another Canadian, and it is believed to have resided on Canada’s west coast. In September 1985, the car was sold to Robert E. Nowak, of Calgary, Alberta, who in turn sold it to an Alberta-based collector of European sports cars, Andy Chan, in 1988.
Under Chan’s ownership, the car was fully restored and refinished in its current black and tan color combination. In May 2014, the current owner sent the car from Andy Chan’s care to a Pebble Beach award-winning restoration shop, Fast Cars Ltd. in Redondo Beach, California, for a full service and to ensure every aspect of the car functioned perfectly for road use. From there, it was destined for the Monterey Peninsula. The car is accompanied by receipts from the service and a full report on its current condition. The odometer currently shows just under 36,500 miles, which are believed to be original.
As prices for 250 series Ferraris have seen large increases in recent months, the 250 GTE has become more desirable to many enthusiasts, as it retains the classic 3.0-liter Colombo V-12, enough luggage space for a weekend, and room for three passengers.
This 250 GTE combines stately looks with all the passion requisite of an Enzo-era Ferrari, making it an ideal touring car, and one that is ready for any task its next owner asks of it
Robert Myrick Photography