Rising above the (already winner’s) heap of the Peninsula Classic’s Best of the Best contenders is the 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione, a glorious example of what happens when extreme beauty meets diligent, ongoing stewardship. The ne plus ultra Ferrari contended against seven exceptional vehicles that have already taken the top prize at the world’s concourses: a 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet, 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France, 1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale, and three versions of the 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K. This elegant winner was crowned at the Peninsula’s Quail Lodge & Golf Club for the first time, kicking off Monterey Car Week with a prancing horse bang.
Of the nine 250 GT Berlinetta Competiziones built, this early example was only five days old when it competed in the 1956 Mille Miglia, initiating a string of competitions including the Coppa InterEuropa, the Garessio-Colle San Bernardo Hillclimb, and the Internationales Flugplatzrennen, Wien-Aspern. Rubbing is racing, or it’s been said, and damage from competition led the silver fox to require repair work twice by 1959, the latter of which was a significant re-styling at the famed Carrozzeria Scaglietti.
Recasting misfortune as an opportunity for renewal, the second owner commissioned the coachbuilder to modernize the car with a lower nose, smaller grille, covered headlamps and a rear spoiler. The Ferrari accumulated a race history that included numerous hillclimbs and the Tour de France in 1959. Refreshingly, this pristine Ferrari appeared to receive the ultimate accolade because of, not in spite of, the slings and arrows of misfortune it received over the decades.
Those days of battle have been replaced by a pampered existence following its extensive restoration in 2000, in which it was repainted to its original silver-grey and reupholstered in blue leather, as well as further work at Bachelli & Villa following an ownership transfer in 2016. The 2021 Villa d’Este Best in Show winner is now enjoying an unbeatable moment in the sun, which owner Brian Ross says “… is a great achievement and a true honor. It is a magnificent recognition of the multiple years spent trying to get my hands on this 250 GT and the hard work that went into the years-long restoration process. All of the other nominees have fantastic vehicles so I am incredibly humbled to be selected by the acclaimed judges for this award. Winning Best of the Best is a true dream.”
Check out more photos of the Ferrari below: