Today’s unique vehicle came to be built after Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata fell out with Enzo Ferrari for financing a rival Formula One team ATS which employed ex Ferrari personnel Carlo Chiti, Giotto Bizzarrini and World Champion driver the American Phil Hill.
#2819 started life as a regular Ferrari 250 GT SWB and was entered in the 1961 Tour de France by Ecurie Francochamps for Olivier Gendebien and Lucien Bianchi who finished 2nd. The car was then acquired by Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata who’s Scuderia Serenissima di Venezia entered the 1961 Paris 1000 kms for Maurice Trintignant and Nino Vaccarella who finished 3rd.
Wanting a third vehicle to enter in his Le Mans team which included one 250 GTO, #3445 and a Ferrari TR/61, #0792TR which won at Sebring, but unable to secure a second 250 GTO from Ferrari, Count Volpi di Misurata had his 1961 250 GT SWB upgraded to 250 GTO spec by the very man responsible for conceiving the original 250 GT SWB and 250 GTO series Giotto Bizzarrini.
Allegedly in just 14 days Giotto Bizzarrini & Piero Drogo modified Count di Misurata’s 250 GT SWB by moving the dry sumped engine back 5 inches behind the front axle so that it could be mounted lower in the chassis. Piero Drogo came up with a staggeringly beautiful body with a cut off ‘Kamm’ tail which led to the name Breadvan. The finished car was 143 lbs lighter than the 250 GTO and 7 mph faster on the 4 mile Mulsanne straight at Le Mans.
The body of the 250 GT SWB Breadvan is so low that a plastic bubble was devised for the hood to cover the six Webber carburettors. The 276 horse power 2953 cc / 180 cui V12 engine weighed nearly half that of the contemporary XK straight six used by Jaguar in it’s D & E Type racers.
#2819 driven by Carlo Maria Abate and Colin Davis was leading the works 250 GTO’s in the 1962 Le Mans 24 Hours when it retired after four hours with drive shaft failure. After a 4th place finish at Brands Hatch for Abate, and 3rd place in Paris for Ludovico Scarfiotti and Davis the ‘Breadvan’ was used by Count di Misurata as a road car.
The original SWB body from #2819 was fitted to chassis #2439 by Scaglietti in 1962 after Gunnar Anderson had a couple of accidents at Falkenberg and Västkustloppet in Scandinavia.
Apparently Count Volpi di Misurata lent The Breadvan to Gianni Agnelli, then head of FIAT, who had the vehicle painted black by his butler because it reminded him of a hearse, it is not noted if this had anything to do with then delicate state of Ferrari finances at the time, the Ferrari road car division was eventually absorbed by FIAT in 1969.
Thanks for joining me on this “The Breadvan Edition” of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at Colin Chapmans 1968 turbo charged all wheel drive Indy challenger. Don’t forget to come back now !