Presented by RM Sotheby’s – Developed as Ferrari phased out production of the popular 250 MM, the famous marque from Maranello would construct six prototype examples of the long-wheelbase 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione in 1955. This limited-run model would, in effect, serve as a forerunner to the revered 250 GT Berlinetta ‘Tour de France’ that went on to dominate the Tour de France Automobile from the mid-1950s through to the early 1960s. Constructed with bodywork by Pinin Farina, the Berlinetta Competizione would make use of the 250 Europa GT platform as Ferrari pushed forward the evolution of the 250 GT series into what would become their most legendary models. The 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione was constructed on a Tipo 508 chassis, with a wheelbase of 2,600 millimeters, and fitted with the Colombo-designed Tipo 112 engine, a small-block V-12 powerplant. As a successor to the 250 MM, the 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione would adapt and evolve much of the Ferrari engineering employed in the earlier car. While these early cars would still use the old Mille Miglia-type transverse leaf front suspension, the Berlinetta bodies introduced rounded shapes as period research improved aerodynamics in car design.
This car—chassis number 0385 GT—progresses the sleek shape of the earlier 250 MM and contemporary 375 MM with a Berlinetta style featuring rounded corners around its body. Notably, 0385 GT can be distinguished by several unique features, including its lack of a boot lid, accentuating its clean and flowing lines when viewed from behind. The front suspension is independent with coil springs, and the dashboard gauges are Borletti Tipo 102 (375MM). It was also built with the more competition-oriented sliding side windows, rather than the more traditional wind-up setup. By contrast, the 250 GT models to follow would more clearly foreshadow the body shape of the 1957 Tour de France Automobile entrant, with angular design lines, air outlets behind the front wheel arches, and louvres behind the side windows.
The commission of the early 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione cars also signaled the progression of a blossoming partnership between Ferrari and Pinin Farina, with this example documented by the Pinin Farina body number 13447. Upon its completion, and wearing its original Argento livery, the car was displayed at the 1955 Turin Motor Show. It was shown alongside a 1954 250 Europa GT Coupé, also bodied by Pinin Farina, making the latter appear almost pedestrian in contrast. The first owner of chassis number 0385 GT is documented to have been Mr. Luigi Bertett, then President of the Automobile Club of Milan. The Ferrari had two more owners in Italy before being shipped in January 1964 to a new owner in Athens, Greece. Unfortunately, the car was subsequently involved in a road accident in 1965. In 1975, after sitting in storage for several years, enterprising American Stephen Barney, who was living in Rome, Italy at the time and would later found the North Carolina Ferrari dealership Foreign Cars Italia, managed to rescue the car out of Greece. Barney brought the car back to its native Italy and soon sent 0385 GT to the official Ferrari workshop in Modena, Italy for a complete restoration, documented in the accompanying paperwork.
Not long after the restoration was completed, Barney matriculated back to the U.S. and kept 0385 GT in his car “barn” in North Carolina. In 1983 the car was sold to noted collector Brian Brunkhorst in Wisconsin, who kept it for several years before selling it to collector Hartmut Ibing in Germany. Under both of these ownerships, 0385 GT shared garage space with Ferrari 250 GTOs, among other treasures. The car subsequently moved to Japan in the late 1980s, before coming to the UK in the early 1990s. It was at this time that the exterior color changed from its original silver to red. In 1995 UK-based marque specialists, Talacrest, carried out a complete engine rebuild on the car’s numbers-matching motor, also documented in the history file presented with the car.
By the late 1990s the car was sold to a long-term noted French collector before passing to Mr. Guikas over a decade ago. Hidden away in a preserved state, this is 0385 GT’s first public appearance in several decades. Following an inspection earlier in 2021, 0385 GT is now presented with a Ferrari Classiche Red book. As one of the best surviving of all the early 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione prototypes, 0385 GT presents its next caretaker with a unique opportunity to revitalize one of Ferrari’s most beautiful early 250 GT Berlinettas into either a future Concours d’Elegance or race winner.
RM Sotheby’s will present this vehicle as part of a single-owner collection comprised of 75 of the finest racing and road cars in the world, offered entirely without reserve. The Guikas Collection, to be sold at Paul Ricard Circuit in France in November 2021, presents pedigrees spanning from the endurance racing of the 24 Hours of the Le Mans to the world stage of Formula One and nearly everything in between. The collection of race cars will provide modern racing enthusiasts an introduction into virtually all vintage racing series worldwide, including GT and road cars that are equally impressive which offer a wide selection of Pre- and Post-War sports cars.