The California Spyder was motivated by U.S. distributors Jon von Neumann and Luigi Chinetti who convinced Ferrari to create a performance convertible named after their best market. The California Spyder emerged with supercar performance and became highly desirable due to its limited availability.
 
 
 
Each California Spyder car was special too, and some examples came with competition-spec engines or the very rare factory hard top.
 
 
Sharing its drive train with the legendary 250 GT that won the Tour de France, the California Spyder was a car to get excited about. It had the same 140 mph performance and the same competition chassis as the Ferraris lapping the race tracks. Therefore, it only made sense to equip some examples with competition engines and aluminum bodywork to race at Le Mans and Sebring.
 
 
These Spyder Competiziones did well in the GT class and tied all California Spyders to a sporting pedigree. Today these cars are the most prized Ferraris on the road.
 
 
Choice of Body Style and Drive Train
Our customer cars will carry a hand-crafted all-alloy body constructed in our Italian workshops and mechanicals to the exact factory specifications as the original cars. Our clients can select from the individual unique body styles and mechanical drive trains of this series.

Design Developments
California Spyder bodies were hand-crafted by Carozerria Scaglietti who built most of Ferrari's competition bodies at the time. Their design was largely based of Pinin Farina's 250 GT Cabriolet Series_I but used a new upright rear headlight.
 

Some cars featured more functional uncovered, rather than fared-in, headlights. The overall design, especially with covered headlights, was often described as more rakish than the much more subdued and luxurious 250 GT Cabriolet.
 
 
Inside, each Spyder car had a no-frills interior and a small heater was the only luxury. Behind the seats, a fabric top was installed which was tidy, and well proportioned when upright, but was made with no inner liner.
 
 
Distinguished by chassis length, it is important to mention that the Spyder was made in two distinct series. The first series was built on the 250 GT Tour de France frame including a wet-sump version of its V12 engine.
 
 
In 1959, Ferrari debuted the shorter California Spyder on their stiffer short wheel base (SWB) chassis. These cars were superior as they had disc brakes, a more powerful engine, and a less bulk.
 
 
A Drop-top Version of the Tour de France
After its introduction in the 250 GT Europa of 1955, the Gioacchino Colombo designed three litre V12 engine went on to power a host of road and racing cars for almost a decade. It was particularly successful under the bonnet of the long wheelbase (LWB) GT racers, which after the 1956 victory were nicknamed 'Tour de France' or 'TdF'. In down tuned form it powered Ferrari’s first 'production car', the 250 GT Boano Coupe. When the stunning 250 GT Pinin Farina Cabriolet was launched, the 250 GT line-up appeared to be complete. Lucky for Ferrari enthusiasts, two of Ferrari's most important distributors, Luigi Chinetti in New York and John van Neumann in California, convinced Enzo Ferrari it wasn't. What they wanted was a drop-top version of the 'TdF'.
 
 
Chinetti and Neumann felt that there was a market for a racer for the road, which the luxurious Pinin Farina Cabriolet did not fill.
 
 
The New California Spyder Designed by Pinin Farina
It would have been easiest to have Pinin Farina design and body the new cars, but they were too busy with the Cabriolet production. Instead Scaglietti was chosen to execute this new California Spyder, which was designed by Pinin Farina. Scaglietti was mainly responsible for the bodies of Ferrari's racers and the California Spyder project was one of the rare Scaglietti bodied road going Ferraris. Except for the competition specials, the bodies were constructed from steel, which was easier to use and cheaper than the aluminium used in the 'TdF' bodies. All Californias used the same design, except for the headlights, which could be ordered open or covered.

As requested by Chinetti and Neumann a full competition chassis was used for the California, similar to those for the 'TdFs'. When the Short Wheelbase (SWB) chassis of the 250 GT was introduced in 1959/60, it was also adopted for the California Spyder, with minimal change in exterior design.
 

Even more important was the choice of engines available for the California. Apart from the regular road spec V12, Ferrari offered the 'hot' competition engines as well, which were good for well over 250 bhp. Over the years the engines evolved and the Californias were always equipped with the latest specification of the Colombo V12.
 
 
While the California Spyder is considered a production car, it's safe to say that no two were alike as all of them were finished to meet the customers' demands. They were available from the factory with a very hot competition engine and a hard top.
 
 
Record Breaking Value
Ferrari's gamble paid off, not only was it a sales hit, but the alloy- bodied competition specials were also quite successful. Already very desirably, the value of these fabulous machines has risen quickly in recent years and in August of 2007 two LWB examples sold for nearly $5 million. It got even better at RM Auctions' 2008 Maranello sale where a finely restored example changed hands for a record breaking amount of $10 million. Although more a result of a bidding war than a reflection of the current California Spyder market, it will no doubt affect future sales.
 
 
As with all fine works of art, originality, documentation, and provenance ensures future value for our clients.
 
 
This is a rare opportunity for passionate enthusiasts to take delivery of a unique car that was produced in very limited numbers, has a timeless design, and unique historic significance.

Each car will be hand-crafted in our Italian workshops by local artisans to the original factory specifications and ready to thrill its new owner. These automobiles are being constructed using the customer’s Ferrari donor automobile, or a Ferrari donor car from our inventory.

Rarity Index: LWB 42 cars, Alloy 9 cars, SWB 51 cars, Alloy 3 cars

Current Value of an Original 250 GT SWB California Spyder: $8 million
Keith Martin's Sports Car Market auction price guide
 

 
It is now possible, for a fraction of the cost of an original car, to enjoy driving a legendary sports racing car on the world’s historic race circuits, surrounded by other cars no less mythical. Fine Sports Cars automobiles can be used in competition at selected vintage events, or registered for road use.
 
 
If your car is intended for use in vintage racing events, FIA Certification can be arranged on special request. Fine Sports Cars provides enthusiasts and collectors with faithful and accurate renditions of the world's rarest legendary cars.

Please contact us for to discuss the current price of the above car that will meet your requirements.
 

Fine Sports Cars' documentation includes:
• An original chassis plate and door plate from the donor car
• A personalized numbered chassis plate
• A numbered door plate detailing the place of origin and the manufacturer
• A signed certificate of authenticity which documents the place of manufacture, the originality of the donor car, and the history of the car model
• A complete list of specifications and parts

Return to Top of Scroll