Amelia Island

10 March 2012

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Lot 146

1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet by Pinin Farina

  • Chassis no. 1755GT
  • Engine no. 1755 GT
  • Body no. 1755 GT

Sold for $770,000

Est. 260 bhp @ 7,000 rpm, Colombo 60-degree V-12 engine with single overhead camshafts and triple Weber carburetion, four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive, independent front suspension with coil springs and telescoping shock absorbers, live rear axle with leaf springs, parallel trailing arms and tubular shocks, steel tubular chassis, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,600 mm (102")

• Fully restored by a Ferrari specialist

• Rare and unique covered headlight configuration finished in its original Avorio (Ivory) color

• All major mechanical components are matching numbers

• Road-driven, not trailered, by the owner from Ft. Myers, Florida to the auction site

The 1959-1962 Pinin Farina Series II Cabriolets were direct stable-mates of the other Colombo-engined marque models of the period: the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, the long and short wheelbase California Spyders and the 250 GT PF Coupe. However, the Series II Cabriolets and the Coupe were conceived by Pinin Farina as Ferrari’s semi-luxury GT cars and thus provided with better interior appointments and more sound-proofing than the competition-oriented California Spyder series. Mechanically there is little difference between an early California Spyder and the first Pinin Farina Cabriolets, but the latter went to great pains to design the coachwork in a truly distinctive manner in order to distinguish the Cabriolet from the Spyders. The mechanical specifications of all four cars were almost identical, except of course for engine output, which would increase from the Cabriolet’s 260 hp to almost 300 hp for a full-competition SWB Berlinetta or California Spyder due to improvements of carburetion, camshaft duration and compression ratio.

Ferrari’s normal 2,600-mm oval tube chassis was fitted with independent front suspension by unequal A-arms, coil springs and telescopic shocks while the rear featured a live axle located by semi-elliptic springs and twin parallel trailing arms also with telescopic dampers. An anti-sway bar was found at the front, and all four models ran on the superbly attractive alloy-rimmed Borrani road wheels usually fitted with Dunlop, Englebert or Pirelli tires. The four-speed all-synchro transmission had an electrically operated 28.2% overdrive motivated by a large single dry-plate clutch. Later examples, like the Series II Cabriolet we are pleased to offer here, were much mechanically improved over the Spyders, having outside plug engines, disc brakes (by 1960), twin distributors and the aforementioned overdrive transmission and telescopic shock absorbers. Powered by the 128 F Series V-12 three-liter engine, this was a seriously quick and very stylish, albeit in an understated manner, Grand Touring Ferrari.

Only about 200 examples of the PF Series II Cabriolet were built, most of them in standard configuration with open headlamps, but interestingly, in view of this car’s covered lamps, Antoine Prunet’s book, The Ferrari Legend: The Road Cars, has this to say about the variants:

“Variations are known to exist on the Cabriolets concerning their finishing details and it is often uncertain whether such are original or later modifications. However we can cite a few examples = A Cabriolet delivered to the King of Morocco with a Hardtop in brushed aluminum (1925 GT), a Cabriolet with 410 SA-type Side Vents which won an award at the 1960 Concours D’Elegance of Rome (1817 GT) and the Cabriolet with Covered Headlamps presented that same year at the Concours d’Elegance of Rimini.”


This particular 250 GT Series II Cabriolet was the ninth of the total 200 cars built, finished new in Avorio (Ivory) over Marrone leather hides. The chassis was sent to Pinin Farina on January 19 before the completed car was presented in April 1960 and sold new through dealer Renato Nocentini’s Garage La Rotonda in Florence, Italy to Sergio Sorbi of the same city. By the early 1980s, the car resided in the United States, in need of restoration and with a modified trunk lid. The car was advertised in 1984 as a restoration project that is nearly 100% complete.

Current owners Wayne and Lorene Sparling purchased 1755 GT from Floridian Bill Locke in 1984 as a complete matching-numbers example, but requiring a total restoration. It was relegated to the “back burner” for some two decades while Sparling worked on other Ferraris in his collection. In about 2005, he started a total two-year restoration, after which this Cabriolet was shown at Bill Warner’s 12th annual Amelia Island Concours in 2007. Other period event participations included the North Carolina Highlands Classic Rally and the Florida Winter Park Concours to which, in typical Sparling fashion, the car was driven and not trailered, covering some 2,000 miles in the process.

Wayne Sparling’s Ferrari expertise, which encompasses every mechanical and body component, was acquired in the most demanding classrooms imaginable—the world’s International Racing Circuits. From 1966 to 1985, he and Lorene attended every race contested by Luigi Chinetti Sr.’s N.A.R.T. (North American Racing Team) from Le Mans to Daytona to Sebring, to mention a few.

“My official job was a “Carrozzeria Mechanic,” Sparling recalled. “But in the end I could repair every aspect of these cars. But don’t talk a lot 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.”

Kirk White, who knows a thing or two about Ferraris, recently said, “Wayne Sparling is a true Renaissance Man who can skilfully work on all parts of a vintage Ferrari. When people like him are gone, we will unfortunately never see their likes again. Today everything is sanitized, specialized and computerized—and we are all the poorer for it.”

Series II Cabriolets are truly one of the last undiscovered treasures of the Ferrari convertible world, especially when one looks at current market pricing of the nearly identical LWB California Spyders, which now regularly top the three-million dollar mark.

For enthusiasts considering a “wind in your hair” V-12 Ferrari, this gorgeous 250 GT PF Cabriolet restored by the legendary Wayne Sparling merits very close scrutiny.

Please note that although this car was factory-completed in 1960, the provided Florida title lists it as a 1961 model year vehicle.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

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Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more