LWB California Spider Offered at Gooding Monterey
“Officially, it is known as the Ferrari 250 Granturismo Spyder California; but, to those who have driven, ridden in or seen one speed by, it can only produce an all-encompassing feeling of respect for what must be recognized as the epitome of a classic open sports car – solid power with reliability and versatility, a convertible top, excellent road holding and handling, and a style that speaks for itself.” – George M. Carrick, The Spyder California: A Ferrari of Particular Distinction.
The California Spider presented here, a spectacular LWB model, is among the finest examples of this rare and exotic breed. Completed in November 1958, this car, no. 1055 GT, is the 11th California Spider built and the second constructed on the improved tipo 508D chassis. As noted on the factory build sheets, it was originally equipped with the new tipo 128D V-12 engine, which featured six-port cylinder heads, 9:1 compression, three Weber downdraft carburetors, and a single rear mounted Marelli distributor. The gearbox installed was the latest 508D type with Porsche-type synchromesh and the final drive featured a 7 x 32 ratio, ideal for rapid acceleration.
The Ferrari’s coachwork, constructed of steel and aluminum by Scaglietti in Modena, is one of 38 examples that feature the highly sought-after covered headlamp treatment. Consistent with its late-1958 production date, this car shares many features with the contemporary Tour de France Berlinetta, including its side vents, taillights, bumpers, and headlamp covers. Taken together, these features give this particular car a simplicity and elegance that is distinct from the later series of California Spiders.
According to the research of marque historian Marcel Massini, 1055 GT was delivered to Luigi Chinetti Motors in New York and then shipped to Dave Fawcett Imported Motors, a foreign car dealership in Lubbock, Texas. In 1959, the California Spider was sold to its first private owner, Mr. M. Steven Deck, a local attorney. Mr. Deck enjoyed the Ferrari for a couple of years and, by 1962, it was in the hands of John Cheek, a resident of Florida.
That July, the Ferrari made its competition debut at the Osceola Grand Prix, a regional SCCA event held in Geneva, Florida. For its maiden race, the California Spider was entrusted to Ross Durant, a successful amateur driver who had previously campaigned sports cars, primarily Alfa Romeos and Ferraris, at Daytona, Sebring, and Nassau. Wearing race no. 19, Durant and 1055 GT placed 2nd Overall to a Lister Chevy and 1st in B-Production. Later that month, the California Spider was raced at the SCCA Divisional at Sebring, where it was again driven by Durant and finished 1st in Class and 3rd Overall behind two Chevrolet-powered specials.
By the mid-1960s, the California Spider had relocated to Nashville; and later in the decade, it was owned by Mario Ferrari, the proprietor of an Italian restaurant; and then Tom Huston, the founder of Tom’s Roasted Peanuts. In 1972, Robert McKee, a dealer in Auburn, Alabama, discovered the California Spider in Georgia, and bought it in partnership with Gerald Roush, the founder of Ferrari Market Letter. In 1974, they sold the car to Ewing Hunter of Tucker, Georgia, who commissioned Ferrari specialist FAF Motors to restore 1055 GT to show condition. Once completed, the California Spider was displayed at the 1981 Ferrari Club of America Annual Meeting in North Carolina.
Four years later, Stanley Nowak, a noted automotive historian and author of a definitive book on the California Spider, brokered 1055 GT to Frank Gallogly who, in turn, sold the car to famed collector Anthony Wang of New York. Following a brief period in the famous Hans Thulin Ferrari collection during the early 1990s, the Ferrari was sold to James George, a Collector living in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Seeking to return the California Spider to its former splendor, Mr. George commissioned Ferrari specialist Michael Sheehan to perform a complete restoration and, upon its completion, 1055 GT made the rounds of the concours circuit, including appearances at the Cavallino Classic, FCA International Concours, Concorso Italiano, and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Held in significant private collections ever since, the California Spider has been maintained by leading marque specialists including Patrick Ottis who, in 2015, rebuilt the car’s engine. In 2016, the Ferrari Classiche Department certified 1055 GT, issuing a Red Book and verifying its compliance with the original construction specification and details. Importantly, this car still retains its original chassis, engine (internal no. 046 D), gearbox (internal no. 43D), rear end (internal no. 1D), brakes, suspension, and bodywork – few 1950s Ferraris can make such a claim. The current owner, an American collector with a stable of the finest road and racing Ferraris, recently commissioned his preferred restorer, the acclaimed marque experts Motion Products Inc. (MPI) in Neenah, Wisconsin, to perform an extensive cosmetic restoration on 1055 GT.
A firm equally renowned for their high-quality race preparation and award-winning concours restorations, MPI approached this project with their characteristically high standards of excellence. The results speak for themselves. Prior to embarking on any serious work, extensive research was undertaken to ensure an accurate presentation in every respect. During this process, the history of 1055 GT was thoroughly researched and similar, early production California Spiders were studied to establish reliable references.
From the highly detailed coachwork to the exquisite engine bay, the overall presentation is beyond reproach and speaks to the extraordinary care that this Ferrari has received. If any doubt remains regarding the quality and breadth of this restoration, a comprehensive file of recent restoration invoices is available for review.
Since this work was completed in early 2018, 1055 GT has proven itself at the highest levels of judged competition, winning a Platinum Award at the Cavallino Classic, Third in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and the Luigi Chinetti Memorial Award – as well as a second Platinum Award – at the FCA National Meet.
Bolstering its outstanding concours-quality presentation, 1055 GT is offered with an original handbook set, a proper inside-plug tool kit, the Ferrari Classiche Red Book, a history report compiled by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, as well as an impressive file of documentation that traces the unique history of this special 250 GT.
In the eyes of many Ferrari experts, this magnificent car is one of the most appealing California Spiders in existence. Gooding & Company is proud to present 1055 GT, a superb 250 Ferrari that possesses all the fabulous qualities that have made the California Spider a legend among classic car enthusiasts.
Information from Gooding & Company. Images by Mathieu Heurtault.
Gooding & Co. Auction Location: Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, Corner of Stevenson Dr. and Portola Rd.
Viewing: Wednesday, August 14 through Saturday, August 17.
Auction: Friday, August 16 - 5:00 pm • Saturday, August 17 - 11:00 am
On-Site Contact Information:
Telephone: 310.899.1960 • Fax: 310.526.6594 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org