Lot 349

Monterey 2023

1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT Coupe by Pinin Farina

Offered from A Private Collection


$1,400,000 - $1,800,000 USD | Not Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
0405 GT
US Title
  • Offered from a Private Collection
  • One of 35 examples built, and one of 27 featuring Pinin Farina’s beautiful series coachwork
  • Two-time Platinum Award-winner, and winner of the Best 12-Cylinder Car, at the Cavallino Classic
  • Comprehensive mechanical restoration by Mark Allin’s Rare Drive
  • Displayed in period at the 1955 Paris Salon; former ownership by several very distinguished collectors
  • Exhibited at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
  • Fitted with properly specified Type 112 engine newly built by Ferrari Classiche
  • An exquisite example of the rare model that spearheaded 250 GT production

The longest journey begins with but a single step, as the saying goes, and for the journey that was Ferrari’s highly successful 250 GT platform, that step was the 250 Europa model introduced at the 1953 Paris Salon. Built on a 2,800-millimeter-wheelbase chassis shared with the concurrent 375 America, the Europa was powered by an unusual 3-liter version of the tall-block Lampredi racing engine and clothed by Pinin Farina with elegant high-waisted coachwork distinguished by a large egg-crate grille.

A year later Maranello realized that the differences between the two models were not sufficiently distinctive, and the Europa was supplanted by a successor, the Europa GT. Positioned for more performance-oriented driving, the Europa GT was built on a shortened athletic 2,600-millimeter-wheelbase chassis. This time, the car was fitted with the newly uprated and more powerful 3-liter iteration of the classic Colombo short-block V-12, which had powered models dating to Ferrari’s genesis in 1947. Significantly, the new model’s chassis dimensions and engine would continue into the forthcoming 250 GT range, making the Europa GT the manufacturer’s closest foray yet to a regular production model.

Just 35 examples of the Europa GT were built through 1956 (27 of which wore Pinin Farina’s beautiful series coachwork), when it was replaced by the first true 250 GT iteration: the coupe variant bodied by Boano. Unquestionably rare and aesthetically elegant, the Europa GT was the most convincing step yet taken by Maranello towards a regular production model, making it as historically significant in marque lore as it is beautiful to behold.

0405 GT

Boasting period exhibition use as well as ownership by some of the niche’s most respected collectors, this exquisite Prancing Horse is a highly desirable example of Maranello’s second-generation Europa. According to the research of marque expert Marcel Massini, chassis number 0405 GT is the 25th example built, and it completed assembly at the Pinin Farina workshop in August 1955, finished in Grigio paint over an interior of Arancio (orange) Connolly leather.

Registered with temporary Italian tags, the Ferrari was loaned to Paul Vallée’s Parisian dealership Autoval and displayed on their stand at the 1955 Paris Salon. Subsequently returned to the factory, the Europa GT was sold new by Ferrari Automobili of Modena to the Società Assistenza Incremento Partecipazioni Agonistiche, an agency that enabled foreign owners to register their cars with Modena plates at a lower tax liability.

In 1956 the Ferrari was exported to the United States and sold to David Leopold of New York City. Four years later, following damage to the cylinder heads that resulted from freezing weather, the Europa GT was fitted with an outside-plug 250 GT engine from a Pinin Farina Coupe, chassis number 1585 GT.

In 1966 the Ferrari passed through the purview of Luigi Chinetti Motors and was sold to Charles Betz and Fred Peters of Orange, California, the two early trailblazers in the collectable Ferrari niche who have since come to be regarded as the state’s earliest proponents of vintage Ferrari speculation and restoration. The 250 then passed through a chain of six additional American caretakers over the following 20-some years before being acquired in the early 1990s by Ed Waterman’s esteemed Motorcar Gallery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

By 1995 the Ferrari was owned by Paul Forbes of Southern California, a well-known collector who specialized in rare, high-quality vintage Italian sports cars. By this time the Europa GT was trimmed with a tobacco interior, and four years later the car was sold to Stephen Block of Moraga, California.

At some point over the next few years the rare Ferrari was purchased by Sam Mann, the highly respected heavyweight collector whose cars have long been a staple of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Mr. Mann retained the noted restorer Rudi Konizcek to conduct a full cosmetic refurbishment in the current striking color scheme of midnight blue paint over a sumptuous tan leather interior.

Offered in August 2008, chassis number 0405 GT was reacquired by Charles Betz 40 years after his original ownership. The distinguished collector went on to exhibit the Ferrari at the Dana Point Concours d’Elegance a month later, and he invited Mr. Massini to inspect the car in August 2009. In January 2012 Mr. Betz offered the Europa GT at auction and it was purchased by John Barrett of Georgia, who presented the car at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March 2013.

Two months later Mr. Barrett sold the Ferrari to the consignor, a respected collector based in Florida, and he exhibited the car at the Cavallino Classic in January 2014. Following this appearance, the current owner opted to invest in a bout of high-quality restoration work, entrusting the Europa GT to Mark Allin’s Rare Drive in New Hampshire for a comprehensive mechanical refurbishment. On the heels of this exacting process the car was dispatched to Ferrari Classiche, who removed the Pinin Farina Coupe V-12 that had powered it for over 50 years and replaced it with a brand-new, purpose-built Type 112 engine manufactured at Maranello to the original specifications.

Chassis number 0405 GT then returned to the Cavallino Classic twice, winning a Platinum Award in 2021, and earning a Platinum Award and the Finest Twelve Cylinder Award in 2023, strong measures of the car’s sheer quality and correct presentation. The consignor has initiated the process of certification with the application and inspection photos submitted to Ferrari Classiche.

Still arresting in the handsome livery of midnight blue over tan, this striking Europa GT offers further exhibition opportunities or may be enjoyed in touring events. As one of just 27 examples bodied with Pinin Farina’s celebrated series coachwork, and occupying a significant perch within Ferrari’s genetic lineage, this exquisite coupe would make a breathtaking addition to any sporting collection.