Ferraris under the hammer

Two of the most beautiful Ferraris will be auctioned at RM Auctions in Hershey at the weekend.

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta by Scaglietti
Chassis 2985 is the 110th of 167 total examples built. It is one of approximately 90 Lusso variants. Factory build sheets note that the type 168 V-12 engine was completed on 25 October 1961.

Finished in Grigio Conchiglia and upholstered with Nero leather, this berlinetta was exported in the late 1960s to the United States. Four years later, the SWB was purchased by Charles Betz and Fred Peters, the Southern California Ferrari experts. The SWB was driven by Peters in several vintage racing events in Southern California as it enjoyed a refurbishment in the hands of the two owners, who have overseen the restoration of many important Ferraris over the decades.

In September 2008, this 250 GT was authenticated by Ferrari Classiche with the issuance of a Red Book, confirming the car retains all of its major original mechanical components. As noted, it lists in detail, the chassis, engine, drivetrain, and coachwork are all unaltered, complete, and original to the car.

Chassis number 2985 GT’s event career then continued when the car was invited by the factory for display on Ferrari Classiche’s stand at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. In September 2013, Betz entered the 250 GT on the Colorado Grand once more, in one of his final experiences with the car.

After almost 40 years of care, Betz and Peters offered the SWB for sale. As part of their sale to the consignor, the experts agreed to oversee the restoration of the car, including a change to the current color scheme over a black leather interior.

1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider by Scaglietti
One of Ferrari’s earliest four-cylinder engines. Chassis number 0546 LM is one of only two examples upgraded from 118 LM specification and the third of four total 121 LMs constructed. This example’s first outing was at the 1955 Mille Miglia. 0546 LM was piloted by the respected Italian privateer Paolo Marzotto as a Scuderia Ferrari Works entry. However, the car did not finish the race, as a result of a blown tire at 174 mph during the first stage.

0546 LM was one of the trio of 121 LMs that raced at the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, piloted by Maurice Trintignant and Harry Shell. The car was forced to retire in the 10th hour with engine problems.

At the end of its tenure with Scuderia Ferrari, chassis number 0546 LM passed to William Doheny, the CEO of Superior Oil, who sponsored Ernie McAfee as his driver for a handful of other cars, as well as the 121 LM. Throughout 1955 and early 1956, the 121 LM put both itself and its driver atop the podium on numerous occasions throughout California.

Unfortunately, disaster struck at Pebble Beach in April of 1956. On lap 33 of the Del Monte Trophy race, Ernie McAfee missed a downshift at turn six, causing him to lose control of his car into the corner, which ended with the 121 LM hitting a pine tree on the driver’s side, killing him on impact. Racing at Pebble Beach was banned thereafter.

Following the accident, the 121 LM stayed in the hands of Mr. Doheny, who faithfully restored the car over the course of the next two years. The car presently lacks a traditional chassis stamping, believed to be due to the work performed in repairing it for Mr. Doheny. It did and does, however, retain its matching-numbers engine with its Le Mans scrutineering stamp.

With its next owner, Bill Ziering of Los Angeles, the car would appear at the event a number of times over the following 20 years, as well as at a number of other racing events and even a handful of concours, including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1975 and 1976. Ziering kept the car until 1997, when it was acquired by its current owner, and it has remained on display in his collection. The car has been seldom seen since, with just one outing at the Ferrari North America Historic Challenge at Lime Rock Park in June of 1999, where it was driven by Todd Morici.