A pristine example of one of Ferrari's most iconic models, the 250 GT California Spyder, could fetch as much as £10m when it goes to auction later this month.
Chassis no. 2277 GT is the 11th of 56 short-wheelbase models that were built between 1960 and 1963, and one of the earliest models to feature open headlights.
Despite being well suited to competition use – more so than the standard wheelbase 250 GT California that preceded it – the 280bhp 250 GT SWB California Spyders were rarely seen on the track. Instead they resided in the garages of the rich and famous, who recognised their potential as future collectibles.
Through original factory build sheets, Ferrari historian Marcel Massini has ascertained that this chassis was sent to Scaglietti for mounting of coachwork on October 24, 1960. Just over two months later, on January 2 1961, assembly of the engine was finished under the supervision of famed foreman Amos Franchini, and five days later the gearbox was similarly assembled.
This California was officially completed on January 11, finished in the unusual rust-colored factory paint shade of Nocciola, and featuring a tobacco leatherette interior.
The car was sent straight to Belgium, where it was displayed at the 41st Brussels Motor Show, before being sold to its first owner, Dino Fabbri, a well-known publisher and repeat Ferrari customer based in Milan.
Later that year, the California Spyder found itself in the care of a used car dealer in Mineola, New York. Before changing hands to its next owner, the car received a respray in red, a new black interior and the removal of its chrome bumpers, for a sleeker look.
It then passed through a further eight owners, receiving a hardtop and tan interior, before being bought by the current owner in January 2006. It has since received a comprehensive mechanical refurbishment of its 2,953cc SOHC V-12 engine and running gear.
The highly-sought after model will be auctioned by Bonhams at its Scottsdale auction in Arizona, USA on January 19. Complete with a toolkit and restoration receipts, period photographs, copies of the factory build sheets, and a history report by marque authority Marcel Massini, it is expected to fetch around £10m.