The first cabriolet 250 GT, designed by Boano, appeared in 1956, at the Geneva Motor Show. In 1957, Pininfarina 'retaliated' by showing a two-seater spider at the Geneva Motor Show, much sportier than Boano's creation. The superb lines of this cabriolet were reminiscent of the 410 Superfast - the profile was almost identical with faired lights, and it had a wide front grille flanked by vertical bumpers. The shape at the back was completely new, ending with a neat, oblique angle. This gorgeous car attracted huge attention at the Show and was bought by the factory driver Peter Collins, who had it repainted British Racing Green and fitted disc brakes and Dunlop tyres.
After Pininfarina had exhibited two further prototypes, one a 'Competizione', Ferrari announced the production of a series of cabriolets. The first production example was missing the vents of the 410 SA and had two Marchal spots in front of the grille. The next 22 examples were identical. During the summer of 1958, when a new 250 GT Pininfarina coupé appeared, along with a more sporty convertible, the California, the front of the cabriolet was modified with enveloping front bumpers replacing the two vertical ones and fog lamps fitted behind the radiator grille. A dozen cabriolets would subsequently be built, with a less elegant body, the last appearing in the summer of 1959. Mechanically, the base was almost identical to the 1956 - 1958 coupé, with a V12 3-litre engine producing 240 bhp. In total some 40 examples were built of these cabriolets, today known as Series 1, to differentiate them from the later versions of the cabriolet derived from the 250 GT Coupé Pininfarina presented in October 1959 in Paris, known as Series II.
Only 40 examples of the 250 GT series 1 cabriolet were built, making it much rarer than the long wheelbase California. The styling of this cabriolet is more delicate, more elegant and more harmonious than that of the LWB California cabriolet, making it one of the most successful Ferrari-Pininfarina collaborations, and possibly the most elegant two-seater cabriolet built after the war.
Artcurial will be offering this example at their Rétromobile Sale in Paris today. The estimated value is between €7,000,000 - €9,000,000. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos © Loïc Kernen