1959 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolet
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The 1959 New York Auto Show Car Formerly the property of Bob McKelvy and Bob Grossman Coachwork by Pininfarina
Chassis No. 1181GT Internal No. 0272 D Engine No. 1181GT
Only 40 Series 1 PF Cabriolets were ever built The Last Covered-Headlights Series 1 Cabriolet Well-Known, Matching-Numbers example Highly developed type 508D Chassis A series contender at Premier international events Extensively featured in Cavallino Magazine Completely documented by Ferrari historian, Marcel Massini 2,953 CC SOHC V-12 engine Three Weber carburetors 240 BHP at 7,000 RPM 4-Speed manual gearbox 4-Wheel hydraulic drum brakes A-Arm, coil spring and shock absorber independent front suspension by A-Arms, coil springs and shock absorbers Live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and shock absorbers
The Series 1 Cabriolet
Between 1956 and 1959, Pinin Farina created just 40 exclusive open sports cars on the 250 chassis, Now commonly referred to as the Series 1 Cabriolets. Although considered a 'series', each of these spectacular cars noticeably differs from the others in chassis specification, interior appointments, exterior details, colour combination and overall character. Despite their differences, all 40 examples share the same basic platform. purity of line and memorable features that include razor-edged tail-lamps, auxiliary driving lights, unswept rear haunches, a steeply raked windscreen and, more often than not, covered headlamps.
The Series 1 Cabriolets were all assembled by Pinin Farina in their custom shop, not just to maintain a superior build quality, but also to accommodate the wide variety of details specified by the original owners - generally Ferrari's top clients. When compared directly to the Scaglietti-built California Spider, a car that shares similar design themes, it is apparent that Pinin Farina's Cabriolet is the more tailored, bespoke product. However, the combination of exceptional quality, style and exclusivity came at a high price. When new, the Cabriolet was not only the most costly 250 by a wide margin, it was one of the most expensive automobiles one could buy. Factory literature indicates a list price of $14,950 for a new Cabriolet, $3,000 more than the California Spider and $2,500 more than the competition Berlinetta.
In the eyes of many Ferrari connoisseurs, these Cabriolets are, by far, the most beautiful Ferraris ever made, and some say that the later cars, easily spotted by their use of slim, wraparound bumpers and driving lights mounted behind the egg-crate grille benefit from the most resolved and coherent variation of the design. The Series 1 Cabriolet will long be regarded as one of the most fruitful collaborations between Ferrari and Pinin Farina, and by all accounts, the design remains a triumph in simplicity, refinement and detail.
For over a decade, this significant Ferrari has been cherished and enjoyed by its owner who has driving his beloved car at every opportunity. Motivated by a deep passion for the car, he has ensured that the Ferrari has been lavished with careful attention. To guarantee the best driving experience possible, the owner has gone to great lengths to ensure that it performs at its best on the open road. In favour of his enthusiastic use, considerably more capable disc brakes have been fitted; however, al the original components are present, and the car may be returned to its original specifications at any time.
In August 2007, 1181GT made a rare appearance when it was proudly displayed at The Quail along with 15 other Series 1 Cabriolets that had all made their way to Carmel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the model. In addition, 1181Gt has participated on the Colorado Grand no fewer than nine times, ad those who have driven the car can attest to its extraordinary performance. The owner reports that, during many outings, the Ferrari performed beautifully on the open road and is capable of cruising flawlessly at and above 100 mph. This testimony is not surprising in light of the fact that this Series 1 Cabriolet is, for all intents and purposes, a race-bred California Spider with more luxurious and expensive coachwork.
In recent years, these remarkable Pinin Farina Cabriolets have earned two Best In Class awards and the Enzo Ferrari Award at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Best GT Ferrari at Cavallino, and Best In Class and Best Of Show at the famed Villa d'Este Concours. A fine example such as 1181Gt should be warmly accepted at the most exclusive events and it will no doubt be a front-runner for receiving the most prestigious awards.
Not only does this Series 1 Cabriolet have the credentials to be a star of the concours circuit, in true Ferrari form, it is a phenomenal driver's car. Its highly developed chassis, civilised cockpit and accessible performance make this car an ideal choice for long-distance tours and driving events. Furthermore, it is believed that, in its more than 50 years of existence, this remarkable Ferrari has covered approximately 47,000 original miles, imbuing it with the irreplaceable character of an honest, low-mileage car. Accompanying the sale of this car are the original books and tools, as well as an impressive historical file that contains archival images, copies of original Ferrari documents and a comprehensive report by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini.
Rarely does a Series 1 Cabriolet become available and, when one does, it presents a unique opportunity for the most passionate of collectors. This is a Ferrari of remarkable integrity. It possesses an unquestioned authenticity, a known history form new and an unbroken chain of appreciative owners. 1181GT is certainly one of the finest examples of the celebrated Series 1 Cabriolet and an automobile that will always hold a place of distinction among the cognoscenti.
One of the last Series 1 Cabriolets produced, chassis 1181GT entered the Pinin Farina works in November 1958. While the earliest examples utilised a relatively fragile chassis, approximately a dozen of the last Series 1 Cabriolets produced, including this car, were constructed on the more modern 508D chassis. This updated chassis was shared with the earliest California Spiders. In addition to minor details changes, the most noteworthy feature of the 508D chassis is the vastly improved 128D engine with its twin, rear-mounted Marelli distributors. Although there was no advertised increase in the engine power, most Ferrari enthusiasts recognised an immediate improvement over the older 250 chassis.
In anticipation of an auto show debut, this exquisite Ferrari was originally finished in the dramatic colour combination of Racing Red with a splendid, all-white Connolly leather interior. As completed, this was the last of the Series 1 Pinin Farina Cabriolets to bear the famous covered headlights.
Upon completion, this Series 1 Cabriolet was immediately shipped by boat to the US where, over a week in April, it was proudly displayed on Ferrari's New York show stand representing the form's most exclusive open-top offering. A photo of this car on display at the New York Auto Show, alongside a California Spider and a Pontoon-fender Testarossa , was published in the 1959 Ferrari yearbook. After completing its show car duty, the car spent the remainder of 1959 with North American Ferrari distributor Luigi Chinetti.
Before the end of the year, Chinetti sold the Cabriolet to one of his most important clients, Bob McKelvy of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. McKelvy was not only a well-known Ferrari patron, he was also an influential American sportsman and the founder of Scuderia Bear, one of the great independently owned racing teams of the 1950's and 60's. He is perhaps best known for entering the experimental 250 GT, chassis 2643GT, in the 1962 12 Hours of Sebring race and was later seen racing the first GTO, chassis 3223GT. Years later, he campaigned GT40 race cars with great success at numerous international venues.
In 1961, Mr. McKelvy returned the car to Chinetti who then traded the car to legendary racer and loyal customer Bob Grossman in exchange for a Bentley. Later that year, Mr. Grossman sold the Ferrari to Baltimore resident John W. Freund. Mr. Freund owned the Series 1 Cabriolet until his death and, subsequently, his widow sold the car to Norman Wolgin. According to several Ferrari enthusiasts, when Mrs. Freund sold the Cabriolet in 1981, it was still in largely original condition with its startling white leather interior still intact, and the car had covered a mere 34,000 miles from new.
In fall 1987, Bill Kontes, one of the foremost Ferrari specialists, purchased the car and began displaying it at national Ferrari meets. During that time, the car appeared much as it does today, finished in the striking colour combination of black with a red interior. Its appearance was so exciting that 11181GT made the cover of Cavallino in 1992 where it is pictured alongside an earlier Series 1 Cabriolet that now resides in the collection of John Mozart. The car remained in the care of Mr. Kontes until the late 1990's, whereupon the Series 1 was acquired by its previous caretaker.
Original exterior colour: Rosso Corsa MM 10593 Original interior colour: Pelle Blanco VM 3323 Connolly.
Chassis type: 508 D Engine type: 128 D, internal #0272 D
Covered headlights No fender vents LHD Full-width front bumper
Pininfarina Job #15845
November 28, 1958 Carrozzeria Pinin Farina entry date
March 12, 1959 Factory completion date
March 14, 1959 Shipped by boat from Genova, Italy to New York, NY/USA
April 1959 Imported to USA by Luigi Chinetti Motors Inc., New York/NY
April 4-12, 1959 Shown by Chinetti during the third International Automobile Show at The Coliseum in New York, NY/USA. Pictured in the 1959 Ferrari Yearbook.
April 1959 Sold to Marion Chinetti, New York/NY.
1960 Sold by Chinetti to Bob McKelvy, resident in Pittsburgh/PA, USA. McKelvy was a long-time Chinetti customer and also purchased the first 250 GTO built (#3223 GT), he was also the man behind the famous Scuderia Bear racing team.
1961 McKelvy returned the car to Chinetti who then traded it to Robert M. Grossman, a car dealer and loyal Chinetti customer resident in Nyack/NY, USA, in exchange for a Bentley.
1961 Sold by Grossman to John W. Freund, resident at 4417 Underwood Road in Baltimore, MD/USA. As Per US dealer Marc Tauber Fruend owned the car for about 20 years.
1981 Following John Freund’s death his widow sold the car to Norma Wolgin in USA.
Early 1980s Wolgin put the car on consignment at Old Philadelphia Motor Car Company in Fort Washington/PA, but it didn’t sell. It was also offered for sale through John Hajduk of Niles/IL, USA.
August 1985 Advertised for sale by Holl International in New Jersey/USA, asking price US$ 83,000
December 1985 For sale by Marc Tauber
1986 Offered for sale by Ted Reimel II of Rosemont/PA, USA
October 1987 For sale by William Kontes, The Checkered Flag, of Millville and Vineland/NJ, USA, in a Pinin Farina Spider package, no price on individual car.
December 1981/ January 1988 For sale by William Kontes, The Checkered Flag, of Millville and Vineland/NJ, USA, in ‘Cavallino’ magazine, issue #42, page 60 Registered on New Jersey license plates ‘DWK 2’
June 29, 1991 Shown by Kontes during the Eyes on the Classic show in Detroit/MI, USA.
December 1991/January 1992 Cover car and colour featured by Ken Gross in ‘Cavallino’ magazine, issue #66 (where it was incorrectly identified)
July 1995 Advertised for sale by Kontes
April 1998 Owned by Glenna & Linsey Mounger, resident in Bainbridge Island/WA/USA, painted black with red leather
September 8-13 1998 Driven in the X Annual Colorado Grand by Glenn Mounger and co-driver Knox Kershaw, race #123
September 11-15 2000 Driven in the XII Annual Colorado Grand by Glenn Mounger and co-driver Waltrip
August 11 2001 Shown by Mounger during the Classic Car Club of America meeting in Bellevue/WA
September 16-20 2003 Driven in the XV Annual Colorado Grand by Glenn and Linsey Mounger, race #81
August 17, 2007 Shown by Mounger at the 5th Annual The Quail – A Motorsports Gathering at Quail Lodge, Carmel Valley/CA
September 2007 Driven in the XIX Colorado Grand by Mounger
2009 Still owned by Mounger Registered on green Washington license plates ‘CPB 000’