Important Series I Cabriolet at Gooding Monterey
Between 1957 and 1959, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina produced a series of 40 special Cabriolets – each exquisitely designed and constructed – on Ferrari’s legendary 250 GT chassis. The Series I Cabriolets, as they are referred to today, were constructed in Pinin Farina’s custom shop in Torino. This was done not only to maintain superior build quality, but also to accommodate the many special requests made by Ferrari’s most important clients.
Although many detail differences can be found from car to car, nearly all of the Series I Cabriolets share the same elegant proportions and memorable design cues such as the beautiful razor-edge taillights, pronounced rear haunches, and a dramatically raked windscreen – sans quarter windows, which Battista “Pinin” Farina believed interrupted the flow of his designs. Interiors were trimmed in high-quality Connolly leather hides, highlighted by a unique console-mounted control panel and wrinkle-finish dashboard carrying the full complement of Veglia gauges and pastel-colored warning lights.
The Series I Cabriolet has long been regarded as one of the most successful collaborations between Ferrari and Pinin Farina and, by all accounts, an undisputed masterpiece of the coachbuilder’s art.
The Series I Cabriolet presented here, chassis 0789 GT, is the 13th example built. It entered the Pinin Farina custom workshop on October 18, 1957, was assigned job number 19459, and was completed that fall, finished in Grigio Metallizzato (Metallic Gray) with black leather upholstery. As every Series I Cabriolet was essentially hand built to order, no two were exactly alike. This car has the remarkable distinction of being fitted with the most desirable coachwork features, including covered headlights, front bumperettes, and dramatic chromed side air vents in the front fenders. According to the research of Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, just four of the 40 Series I Cabriolets were originally delivered with this highly sought-after combination of features, those being chassis 0705 GT, 0737 GT, 0777 GT, and 0789 GT.
After the certificate of origin for 0789 GT was issued in January 1958, the new Ferrari was delivered to its first owner, Prince Alessandro “Dado” Ruspoli. Born in Rome in 1924, Ruspoli was just the type of customer that Ferrari had envisioned for the Series I Cabriolet. Ruspoli was the inspiration for the main character in Fellini’s classic film La Dolce Vita, played by Marcello Mastroianni.
The Cabriolet did not remain in his hands for long. In 1959, 0789 GT was sold to a friend, Theofanis Katramapoulos, and throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, it passed among a succession of owners in northern Italy, most likely to minimize exposure to Italy’s notorious tax regulations.In July 1974, Guglielmo Collizzolli, a resident of Padova, purchased the Ferrari from a gentleman in Milan and had it sent to Carrozzeria Fantuzzi for restoration. Refinished in burgundy, and fitted with Dunlop disc brakes, the Ferrari was then driven in a variety of historic events including the Coppa d’Oro Storica delle Dolomiti in 1978 and the Ferrari Days celebration held in Modena during 1983. The Series I Cabriolet remained in Sig. Collizzolli’s ownership until 1988, when it was sold to another Italian enthusiast, Fabrizio Brigato.
Later that year, 0789 GT left Italian ownership for the first time and, by 1990, it had been sold to noted collector Ron Hein of Los Angeles. During Mr. Hein’s ownership, the Series I Cabriolet was restored to the highest standards, with the objective of creating a spectacular, 100-point show car. Before the reassembly stage, all of the ancillary mechanical components were restored by experts, and a copy of the car’s build sheet was secured, confirming that 0789 GT retains its original engine (internal no. 0124C), gearbox (38 C), and differential (56 GTC).
Completed in the summer of 1994, the Series I Cabriolet made its post-restoration debut at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, where it earned First in Class honors. Over the next three years, 0789 GT was campaigned on the concours circuit to great effect, capturing six consecutive First in Class awards and four Best of Show trophies at premier events, including Concorso Italiano and the Ferrari Club of America Vintage Concours.
Since 1998, this exquisite Series I Cabriolet has remained a fixture in an extraordinary East Coast collection composed of only the finest coachbuilt and one-of-a-kind Ferraris. Although it has always been maintained in show-ready condition under its current owner, the Ferrari has been exhibited on rare occasions, most recently in 2007, when it was invited to take part in a special display of Series I Cabriolets at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering in Carmel, California.
In keeping with its impeccable presentation, this award-winning Pinin Farina Cabriolet is offered with a comprehensive file of supporting documentation. This includes a report produced by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, copies of the invaluable factory build sheets, extensive Automobile Club d’Italia registration records, correspondence, and period photographs. Also included are voluminous restoration records that attest to the meticulous nature and comprehensive scope of the work performed.
With just 40 examples built, the 250 GT Pinin Farina Series I Cabriolet is among the most rare and exclusive road-going Ferraris of the 1950s. These extraordinary automobiles rarely trade hands, either at auction or privately, as most are fixtures in major collections or heirlooms in long-term family ownership.
An ideally specified, matching-numbers car restored to the highest standards, this particular Series I Cabriolet possesses every aesthetic, technical, and historic quality one looks for in a classic Ferrari. Its history is clear and well documented, and its provenance superb. Today, it remains as beautiful and appealing as ever. Having known this outstanding Ferrari for many years and admired its wonderful qualities, Gooding & Company recommends serious consideration of this magnificent Series I Cabriolet – truly a car for the connoisseur.
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