luni, 4 aprilie 2016

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta 'Tour de France' 1957 - World Of Classic Cars -

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta 'Tour de France' 1957

FERRARI’S “TOUR DE FRANCE”

The 250 GT LWB Berlinetta is one of the most significant competition automobiles of Ferrari’s illustrious history, as it established the marque’s GT-class racing dominance in the late 1950s. After Alfonso de Portago won the Tour de France in 1956, Oliver Gendebien triumphed outright for the next three years—1957, 1958, 1959—in turn earning the “Tour de France” moniker.
With the 3.0-liter Colombo V-12 engine fitted to Ferrari’s 2,600-millimeter-wheelbase steel tubular chassis, numerous highly desirable models that succeeded it can directly trace their origins to the TdF, including the SWB Berlinetta and the 250 GTO. Today, it is rightly recognized as Ferrari’s most successful 250 GT, having garnered more outright victories than the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, second only to the revered GTO.
Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta 'Tour de France' 1957

In addition, thanks to superb Pinin Farina–designed coachwork, hand-built by Scaglietti in aluminum, the TdF was as beautiful to look at as it was exciting to drive. No less an authority than Jess G. Pourret, the renowned marque researcher and author, notes in his book, Ferrari 250 GT Competition Cars, the following:
“A complete new body appeared in the spring of 1957 – a great Pinin Farina design with balance, aggressiveness and aerodynamics – with this, the Berlinetta style reached its ultimate purity of function. This car had a sensual way all its own without being flashy or depending on gaudy gimmicks. Trim was kept to the bare minimum but it was enough to accentuate the overall appearance. Every angle one considers is simply beautiful. Quite a few people seem to prefer the later short wheel base berlinetta style. Yes, this car is also a beautiful machine, a well-proportioned racing GT, but it doesn’t reach as far as the covered headlight 1957/1958 Pinin Farina Tour de France Berlinetta.”

CHASSIS NUMBER 0619 GT (0805 GT)
Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta 'Tour de France' 1957

According to the factory build sheets for this TdF, copies of which accompany the car, the various inspections and tests carried out by Franchini and Pinelli were completed on November 30, 1957. Of particular interest are the horsepower figures of the factory’s Prova al Banco (dynamometer) for its tipo 128 C engine of 247.9 horsepower at 6,800 rpm, rising to 253 corrected horsepower at 7,200 rpm.
In December, chassis 0805 GT, renumbered to 0619 GT, was sold to its first owner, Pierre Noblet, an industrialist living in Roubaix, France. Known to Enzo Ferrari as an extremely competent pilot with his exploits in his previous TdF (also 0619 GT), the factory numbered 0805 GT in order to avoid new car taxation for a valued client.
Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta 'Tour de France' 1957

Pierre Noblet, who at times raced under the alias “Pertin,” entered 0619 GT no less than 10 times in circuit races and hillclimbs during a three-year period in 1958, 1959, and 1960 (see race results). Many excellent finishes against Factory entries ensued; 3rd overall at Reims and Monza, as well as two 4th-place finishes at Spa and Monza, are counted among these.
At the end of 1960, Noblet sold his TdF to Paris resident Georges Lafond. The latter passed the car to Don Jetter, an American living in Paris and a friend of renowned racer “Lucky” Casner. In 1961, the car was stolen and damaged in a crash. In 1963, 0619 GT found its way to Ferrari dealer Charles Pozzi, in Levallois-Perret, France, who properly repaired the TdF prior to selling it to Jean Thepenier, a Maserati dealer in Saint-Cloud, France. In 1968, the car was sold to a young man who, later with two friends, took a high-speed joyride before running into a Peugeot factory stone wall, damaging the entire right-hand side of the car, as seen on page 60 of Pourret’s aforementioned book.
Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta 'Tour de France' 1957

In November 1971, the damaged Ferrari had made its way into the ownership of Gary D. Schmidt, an American service man stationed in Bitburg, Germany. Four years later, in November 1975, Schmidt sold the TdF to Florida resident Wayne Sparling, a former Luigi Chinetti Senior NART Technician.

WAYNE SPARLING, FERRARI ENTHUSIAST EXTRAORDINAIRE

Although Sparling acquired 0619 GT some 40 years ago, it was relegated to the “backburner” for nearly 20 years while he worked on other Ferraris in his collection. Sparling’s Ferrari expertise, which encompasses every mechanical and body component, was acquired in the most demanding class rooms imaginable—the world’s international racing circuits. From 1966 to 1985, he attended every race contested by Luigi Chinetti Sr.’s North American Racing Team, from Le Mans to Daytona and Sebring, to mention a few. “My official job was as a Carrozzeria Mechanic,” he recalls, “but in the end we could repair every aspect of these cars. But don’t talk about me,” the ever modest Sparling admonished. “Tell them about Chinetti’s chief mechanic Nereo Iori because I learned so much from him; he was an all-rounder, an ex-Factory man and there wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix on a 250, 275, Daytona, P4, or 512-S.”
Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta 'Tour de France' 1957

Once during the North Carolina Highland Classic Rally, this writer asked Wayne if he ever worried about car problems, since he never came with a trailer. “A properly rebuilt and prepared 12-cylinder Ferrari does not break down, and if it does, I can fix anything on it with this,” he said, patting his well-used tool roll.
Once Sparling had completed this three-louvre, covered-headlamp Tour de France restoration, painted in the original Grigio color, it was subjected to his usual ritual, best described as “drive the heck out of it and go all over.” Finished in the early 2000s, 0619 GT has excelled for longer than a decade in a multitude of road rallies and shows, FCA Nationals, the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic, and the Highlands Tour, just to name a few.