Monster Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta at RM Monterey
This rare and beautifully maintained 250 MM claims an impressive record of period racing use and former ownership by several luminaries in the niche, resulting in one of the most desirable examples to be publicly offered in many years.
Chassis no. 0344 MM is the 15th of 18 berlinettas bodied by Pinin Farina, and the 26th example built overall. Delivered to Pinin Farina in June 1953, it was finished in grigio perla paint and the seats were upholstered in beige vinyl, and the car was returned to the factory for completion in early August. In mid-September the berlinetta was sold to its first owner, Mrs. Paola Ferrari of Bologna, and soon after it was fitted with vertical chrome bumperettes.
In March 1954, Mrs. Ferrari sold the 250 MM to SAIPA S.r.L., a company specifically created to register competition Ferraris for use outside of Italy. Later that month the berlinetta was purchased by Mas-Olle Persson of Ludvika, Sweden, and he repainted the body blue and drove the car from Italy to his home country. From 26 March to 4 April the Ferrari was displayed at the Swedish International Motor Show in Stockholm, as confirmed by a photo printed in a late-April issue of Autosport magazine. Chassis no. 0344 MM was then entered by Mr. Persson in a slew of road and ice races in Sweden, rewarded with many good placings.
Throughout 1954 and 1955, several owners continued its racing life before eventually being acquired by the dealership owned by legendary sports car and F1 driver Joakim Bonnier, the future two-time Targa Florio champion and 2nd-place finisher at the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans. In November 1955, the 250 MM was sold by Bonnier through SAIPA S.r.L., this time purchased by Herbert Mackay-Fraser, an English racing driver residing in Modena, whose payment included the trade-in of his Ferrari 735 Monza Spider. While with several English owners, the Ferrari was treated to an engine rebuild by Arctic Auto in Paris, and the coachwork was freshened with the removal of the rear fender vents. Fox Ltd in London repainted the body, re-trimmed the interior (including soundproofing and carpeting), and replaced the 50-gallon competition fuel tank with a 25-gallon tank that allowed space for the addition of a spare wheel.
In April 1972 the 250 MM was sold to Pierre Bardinon, whose Mas du Clos collection was at the time the most impressive assemblage of important Ferrari sports and racing cars in the world. Mr. Bardinon had the Ferrari refurbished in 1975, at which point the rear bodywork was restored to the original configuration featuring fender scoops, and the bumperettes were removed. The berlinetta remained in Bardinon’s collection for 20 years and was exhibited for two months during the summer of 1987 in Paris at the “Hommage a Ferrari” exhibit sponsored by the Cartier Foundation.
In May 1992 Bardinon sold 0344 MM to noted Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, who in turn sold the car to Peter Gläsel of Detmold, Germany. After several other Swiss and French owners, the 250 MM was sold to Emilio Gnutti of Brescia. The 250 MM was purchased by the consignor’s family from Mr. Gnutti in October 2010, in a package that also included a Ferrari 500 TRC Spyder. Since then, the California-based owner has presented the berlinetta at niche events a handful of times, including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August 2013. By this point the consignor commissioned a high-quality refinish in stunning midnight blue.
Still displaying the immaculate effects of the recent cosmetic freshening, chassis no. 0344 MM is a pristine and highly desirable example that never experienced any significant damage during its early racing career. The rare berlinetta is very well documented, including ACI registrations, numerous period photographs, and an exhaustive history by Marcel Massini.
Info from RM Sotheby’s and images from Karissa Hosek.
The RM Sotheby’s auction takes place on August 24 and 25, 2018 at the:
Monterey Conference Center, 1 Portola Plaza, Monterey, California 93940
Auction Contact Info: +1 310 559 4575 and firstname.lastname@example.org