In keeping with its name, the California was designed for export to North America. First came the LWB in 1957, then the SWB followed in 1959. When it comes to attractiveness, however, the long-wheelbase model wins the beauty pageant hand down due to its fan-bleeding-tastic proportions.
So what got into Ferrari to campaign chassis number 1451 GT at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans? Luigi Chinetti is the man behind it all, using his status as founder of N.A.R.T. (North American Racing Team) to field three cars at the endurance classic. And guess what? Against all odds, the 250 GT LWB California crossed the line fifth overall and third in its class.
The competitiveness of the car comes from a multitude of factos, chief among which is the Competizione specification. The second of eight aluminum-bodied California Spider models built, 1451 GT bores the Tipo 128F outside-plug engine. The free-breathing 3.0-liter V12 develops 262.5 brake horsepower at a screaming 7,300 rpm thanks to three 40 DCL6 carburetors and high-lift camshafts, fed from a competition-spec gas tank.
Certified by Ferrari Classiche and eligible to enter concours and vintage racing events, it’s easy to understand why RM Sotheby’s estimates 1451 GT to be worth at least $14,000,000, $17 million tops. If you’re passionate about old-school Ferrari cars and have money in the bag, you can bid on the jaw-dropping 250 GT LWB California Spider on December 6 at the New York – ICONS auction.