Friday, 30 September 2016

Ferrari 250 SWB - 7 SPA

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Arguably the prettiest of all the competition Ferraris, the 250 GT Short Wheelbase Berlinetta Competizione is a fabulously proportioned and sublimey engineered piece of art. Something as comfortable in a gallery as on a race track.
...and this one, 7 SPA, is more special than most. Stirling Moss won three races in this car in 1960, and Mike Parkes won three more in it the following year. It's now owned by ex-Ferrari F1 technical director Ross Brawn, who reputedly had an SWB with slightly less stellar provenance in his collection before he replaced it with this one. It's simply one of the most desirable examples. (Indeed, the fervour with which enthusiasts hanker after this car is off the charts; chassis #2119GT even has its own official biography, written by Doug Nye.)

What makes it so special compared to other SWBs? Oh, it's the air of jeopardy that it effervescently exudes. Stirling very nearly didn't drive the car at all back in 1960; with the car having been ordered by Rob Walker's race team for Moss to race at Goodwood's RAC Tourist Trophy in August, Stirling then crashed a Lotus 18 in June and broke both legs along with crushing three vertebrae. That he was able to race the Ferrari just a couple of months later is little short of miraculous, and the fact that he won the race proves that the man is some sort of supernatural entity rather than a mere mortal like you or I. He even built up such a lead in the race that he was able to switch on the radio and listen to the commentary to see how his rivals were getting on...

Further adding to the mystique, the car disappeared entirely after the 1961 season and didn't resurface until the inaugural Goodwood Festival of Speed in 1993, to the surprise of many enthusiasts and collectors. It retains its original engine and gearbox, and it's so wonderfully straight and true that it's all over the concours scene these days. Which leads us nicely up to the present day - you see it here on the courtyard lawn at Windsor Castle, basking regally and looking very much at home.

More pics from the 2016 Windsor Concours here.

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