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Robb Design Portfolio: Last of the Gentlemen Racers

Robert Ross

1959 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta

The long-lived and wide-ranging 250 series, which included Ferraris as disparate as the racing GTO and the luxurious Lusso, the signature model was the 250 GT SWB (short wheelbase) Berlinetta. The car’s iconic status was affirmed in August when the 50th anniversary of its competitive debut was celebrated at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The racer veiled as a GT dominated the tracks of Europe and America from its first racing appearance, in 1960, until the advent of its successor, the purpose-built and almighty GTO, in 1962.

This show car from the 1959 Paris Salon is the first of the 165 examples Ferrari built, to road or racing specifications. Engineered by Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini and bodied in steel or aluminum by coachbuilder Scaglietti, the Berlinetta proved its mettle in 1961 by winning the Formula One World Constructors’ Championship GT class and laying ground for successors powered by the same Colombo-designed 3-liter V-12.

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