Whenever your correspondent has the thrill of attending a car auction, one thing breaks her heart. Of all the otherwordly supercars in attendance, not a one is doing a damn thing but roll off of a trailer to sit on a podium and be polished with a diaper.
All that power and ingenuity ... and only 200 mile on the odometer. It's a crying shame.
But not the Ferrari 250 GT LWB Cali Spider. Not at Pebble Beach. Not if we’re talking Lot #033.
Because when Ferrari decided to body nine California Spiders in chrome alloy, they did so with the intention of sending each one of the road-ready cars to the track. This ‘59 roadster was one of them. And while three others went on to achieve moderate success in racing's history books, this rare steed blew 'em out of the water, becoming widely known as the definitive LWB California Competizione.
Originally imported by race enthusiast Luigi Chinetti, the Spider was immediately sold to Illinois’s George Reed, a fearsome and avid driver with two Le Mans, 10 Sebrings and a slew more circuits under his belt. He swooped up the Spider and transferred it directly to Nassau for Bahamas Speed Week.
Wearing number 17, the whip took an impressive 10th in class and 15th overall for the 5-lap Governor’s Trophy. The next day, Reed took sixth in the all-Ferrari competition, 23rd overall and 5th in class for the big 49-lap Nassau Trophy race. Compared to the seasoned Maseratis and Aston Martins Reed was up against, these marks were a spectacular success.
Reed went on to prep the Spider for endurance at the 9th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring and sought out Alan Connell, a rancher, businessman and one hell of a racer, to take the wheel. They crossed the finish line in fifth, a remarkable distance ahead of two other Californias in competition. And the roster of wins would only continue: third overall in the Tourist Trophy, 12th in the Nassau Trophy and fourth at Road America with drivers Jim Hall and Hap Sharp in the chair.
In ‘64, the Spider retired to Wisconsin. Twenty years later, she was unsheathed and revamped by Ferrari maven Rick Bunkfeldt, who finished the model with a gleaming new interior in deep blue and tan.
Now a show horse, the make was displayed at the 25th Ferrari Club of America meet in ‘89 and the esteemed Meadowbrook Concours d’Elegance, but has since remained relatively incognito.
And even after four decades of racing and restoration, most of the California's original anatomy remains intact, some selective cosmetic restorations aided by a 1603 GT notwithstanding. Completed in January 2011, the California Spider was displayed at the annual Palm Beach Cavallino Classic, where it earned an FCA Platinum Award and the prestigious Competizione Cup for the most outstanding competition Ferrari.
It comes to the block replete with all the necessary documentation, the Ferrari Classiche Red Book and a history report compiled by Marcel Massini. And while she’ll most definitely be coming on a trailer, at least the California Spider realized her destiny.
And now she can be part of yours — assuming you've got an expected $18-20 million you're willing to part with.