Market Finds: Would You Drive This Coachbuilt Ferrari From The Jet Age?

Would You Drive This Coachbuilt Ferrari From The Jet Age?

By Michael Banovsky
December 9, 2015

Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

With the season-ending RM Sotheby’s Driven by Disruption sale upon us, you’re going to have to wait until next year if nothing catches your fancy at the company’s New York sale. More likely, the problem is that—with a few million dollars to spend, mind you—it’s going to be difficult to pick which lot to bring home from the sale. 

May I now draw your attention to this (sort of) subtle early Ferrari with one-off coachwork by Vignale? 

For the sporting, gentleman driver, it was difficult to top the Ferrari 250 Europa. Its relatively small 3,963-cc V12 engine put out roughly 200 horsepower, making it the car for early jet-setters, or perhaps those who preferred to tour for 1,000 miles at a time. This example was the second Carrozzeria Vignale-bodied 250 Europa GT built, and actually the sixth-to-last Vignale-bodied ever Ferrari made.

When Alfredo, Guglielmo, and Giuseppe Vignale partnered with stylist Giovanni Michelotti, amazing things happened. Love it or hate it, once you look past the sedate paint, allow your eyes to take in the details: the jet-like roofline, the jet-like louvres, and deep body vents that are atypical for a car of this period. 

Inside, it’s as if a jetliner cockpit was distilled to its essence; airplane-style mesh map pockets and clear visors sit above a well-instrumented dashboard and no-nonsense driving position. Just strap the luggage in, twist the key, and go…

This car was finished and shipped to Luigi Chinetti Motors in New York, where it was first shown at the 1954 World Motor Sports Show in New York—in red. Apparently, it was Chinetti’s idea to repaint the car, where it was a star in the show, selling afterwards for $17,500.

After passing through several owners of the years, the car was discovered in 2003, albeit in storage, where it had been since the mid-’70s. Noted Swiss restorer Heinrich Kämpfer bought the car in 2009, the beginning of an exacting restoration. What’s exacting? How about having to shave the Wilton wool carpets to the correct depth, sourcing ICI nitro-cellulose lacquer paint to help return the car to its original Bruno Siena paint finish, and a new engine block was cast for the car by Ferrari Classiche.

Close to 4,000 hours (that’s something like 500 8-hour days) were spent bringing the car to better-than-new condition, a testament to how dedicated Kämpfer and the team of specialists were in their task.

All of this means that for its next steward, whether if bought for its performance, looks, provenance, or condition, will be getting an essentially brand-new Ferrari 250 Europa, with styling by Vignale. Where would you drive it to first?

– Displayed at the 1954 World Motor Sports Show in New York
– A one-off Vignale design
– 2012 Villa d’Este and 2015 Cavallino Classic award winner

~200 horsepower, 2,963-cc SOHC 60-degree V-12 engine with triple Weber 36 DCZ/3 carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with double wishbones and double leaf springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptical springs and Houdaille shocks, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102 in.

Vehicle information
Chassis no.: 0313 EU
Engine no.: 0331 EU
Body no.: 134
Gearbox no. 34 D

Auction house: RM Sotheby’s
Estimate: $3.8–4.5 million Usd.
Certification: Ferrari Classiche certified
Price realized: TBD; Auction on December 10


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Linda N Brian Schick
Linda N Brian Schick
8 years ago

I would polish and detail it and spend a few hours each day just sitting and admiring it.

Johnny Boy
Johnny Boy
8 years ago

Would I drive it?

I’ve driven it!

8 years ago

The first place I’m driving is to a paint shop.

Luko Radulić
Luko Radulić
8 years ago


Dennis White
Dennis White
8 years ago

The style, design, and workmanship is from a time long gone bye. Gorgeous.

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