1959 Ferrari 250 GT(SWB) Berlinetta Passo Corto

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB

Presented in Paris in October 1959, the short-wheelbase 250 GT Berlinetta epitomised the ideal road racer.

With just a few minor touches (colder spark plugs, racing tyres and a roll-bar), the car could take to any circuit and battle it out for a class win.

The 1960 version of the 250 GT Berlinetta was designed by Pininfarina and built at the Scaglietti works in Modena. It was first presented to the public at the 1959 Paris Salon, and bore a body style very similar to that of the late series (now termed ’Interim’ to differentiate them) berlinettas produced during that year, apart from the omission of the quarter window in the sail panel behind the door glass.

New model was built on a 2400 mm wheelbase chassis, with factory type reference 539, later 539/61. This model was the first Ferrari production road car to be fitted with disc brakes as standard and, unlike the preceding 250 GT Berlinetta series, was available in either left- or right-hand drive. It was also available in competition specification, with an aluminium body, lightweight interior trim, and the engine in a higher state of tune – or in ‘Lusso’ (luxury) road trim, when it was normally fitted with a steel body with aluminium opening panels. However, there was a great deal of overlap between the two basic specifications, depending upon a client’s specific wishes.

Power was from a further developed  Colombo-designed single overhead camshaft per bank V12 engine, with a capacity of 2953 cc, via a bore and stroke of 73 x 58.8 mm and factory type references 168B, 168, and 168 Comp/61, all with wet sump lubrication. The spark plugs were outside the vee of the block, with a bank of three twin choke Weber 38 DCN or 40 DCL/6 carburettors and Solex C40 PAAI carburettors also homologated, with a twin coil and rear of engine mounted distributor’s ignition system, to produce a claimed 220 to 280 bhp, dependent upon specification.

Overall design was changed very little during the three-year production run from 1960 to 1962. However, there are a number of detail differences that identify the period of production of a specific car. In the early months of production the front and rear wings sides were plain, as was the boot lid. There was an exhaust air slot in the top centre of the rear screen, and the sliding door windows had a pronounced downward curve to the top rear edge, whilst the front valance featured a pair of rectangular slots to cooling ducts for the front brakes.

Main visual differences between the 1960 examples and those after 1961 were in the shape of the door windows, which had a straighter top edge, and the relocation of the fuel filler cap, which was either on the left rear wing or hidden within the boot. Their ‘400SA’ coupé-bodied examples comprised two road versions on chassis 2613GT and 3615GT, plus two lightweight competition examples on chassis 2429GT and 2643GT. The former lightweight model was never used in competition and was sold to a French client, whilst the latter saw race action at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, driven by the likes of Stirling Moss and Giancarlo Baghetti. Bertone produced two designs, the first in 1960 on chassis 1739GT (unusual in that it featured cast alloy wheels) and another in 1961, featuring the ‘Chiti’ shark nose look, on chassis 3269GT.

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Passo Corto Technical Specifications

Year of Manufacture – 1959

type front, longitudinal 60° V12
bore/stroke 73 x 58.8 mm
unitary displacement 246.10 cc
total displacement 2953.21 cc
compression ratio 9.2 : 1
maximum power 206 kW (280 hp) at 7000 rpm
power per litre 95 hp/l
maximum torque
valve actuation single overhead camshaft per bank, two valves per cylinder
fuel feed three Weber 40 DCL/6 carburettors
ignition single spark plug per cylinder, two coils
lubrication wet sump
clutch single-plate
frame tubular steel
front suspension independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers
rear suspension live axle, radius arms, semi-elliptic springs, telescopic shock absorbers
brakes drums
transmission 4-speed + reverse
steering worm and roller
fuel tank capacity 120 litres
front tyres 6.00 x 16 or 175 x 400
rear tyres 6.00 x 16 or 175 x 400
type two-seater berlinetta
wheelbase 2400 mm
front track 1354 mm
rear track 1349 mm
weight 960 kg (dry)
top speed 268 km/h
acceleration 0-100 km/h
0-400 m
0-1000 m

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Passo Corto Valuations

Very rare indeed in 2017 a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione by Scaglietti was advertised to be sold for £8.9 Million.