Tag Archives: Agnelli

Narrowing Down The Options – Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series 2

Playing the identify the Ferrari in the picture Geoffrey Horton has sent me has proved a fun challenge over the last 5 or so years and so it was with today’s featured 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series 2 seen at the Blackhawk Museum.

Geoffrey kindly sent me a photo of the information board which identified the model but gave no details over which of the 204 Series 2 Cabriolet S2’s built between 1959 and 1962 today’s featured cars is.

Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet, Blackhawk Museum

To give me a clue as to which car this might be I turned to the on line Register of Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series 2’s published by Barchetta, which indicates that only 4 of these cars has been seen with white paintwork in recent years and all have full width front bumpers.

Of those one chassis #2737GT has a hard top and bumper overiders and so can be discounted, of the remaining three chassis #1775GT has it’s fog lights behind the decorative front grill and a tan interior and so can also be discounted.

Of the two remaining white cars chassis #1805GT can be differentiated from today’s car only by it’s tan interior which points to the possibility this car is chassis probably #1779GT which ticks all the identifying boxes available to me short of a photo of the chassis plate.

Barchetta does not have many details on the ownership of #1779GT except that the original owner appears to have been Gianni Agnelli who was of course the head of the FIAT empire.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photo, if you can confirm the identity of the car please do not hesitate to chip in below.

Thanks for joining me on this “Narrowing Down The Options” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be looking at a one off competition car. Don’t forget to come back now !


Open Road Demon – FIAT SB4 Mephistophele

Some years after possibly serving on the western front as an ambulance driver Ernest Arthur Douglas Eldridge started appearing at Brooklands with a succession of cars that included a 1907 Isotta-Fraschini powered by a 20 litre / 1220 cui Maybach aero engine and a more modest and successful 10 litre / 660 cui FIAT.

In 1922 John Duff was racing his FIAT SB4 at Brooklands when the 18 litre / 1098 cui motor exploded in spectacular fashion and afterwards accepted an offer from Ernest Eldridge to buy the car.

Ernest managed to acquire a 260 hp 6 cylinder 21.7 litre / 1324 cui FIAT A 12 “Bis” aero engine to replace the blown SB4 original but had to lengthen the chassis of his SB4 by some twenty inches, allegedly using parts from a London Bus, to get the new engine to fit.

FIAT Mephistophele, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The power output of the 2 plugs and 4 valve per cylinder engine was increased by fitting four carburetors and 4 plugs per cylinder that were charged by four magnetos.

With 320hp to power his two ton car Ernest turned up at Brooklands in 1923 and immediately set a new one way standing start 1/2 mile record by covering the distance in 23.17 seconds (77.68 mph).

In June 1924 Ernest took today’s featured car Arpajon near Montlhéry in France where he was faster than a Delage V12 that was running on the same day and smashed the Land Speed Record that had stood at stood at a smidgen over 124 mph since 1914. Delage however protested the result because Ernest’s FIAT had no reverse gear as required by the regulations of the day.

FIAT Mephistophele, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The FIAT was taken to Paris where a device was fitted that allowed the car to reverse and returned to Arpajon on June 12th 1924 and Ernest claimed the World Land Speed Record over one mile at a speed of 145.89mph / 234.98kph, that night the FIAT was allegedly parked across the street from the Delage show room where the slower Delage V12 took center stage.

This would be the last World Land Speed Record to be set on a public road, at the Monterey circuit the FIAT, now named after the Faustian demon Mephistopheles, also broke the 5 and 10 km records.

Ernest sold Mephistophele to the French driver “Le Champion” in 1925 and moved onto building Grand Prix Specials of his own devising which used Amilcar chassis and Anzani motors.

FIAT Mephistophele, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

In 1926 Ernest ran two cars in the Indy 500 for Douglas Hawkes who was classified 14th with 91 laps completed and himself, classified 19th with 45 laps completed.

While attempting to break records at Monterey in the winter of 1926 the front axle of his car collapsed and Ernest lost an eye in the ensuing accident.

Afterwards he continued record breaking notably with a Chrysler at Monterey before becoming “Record Attempt Manager” for Capt Eyston.

FIAT Mephistophele, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The record Ernest claimed in Mephistophele stood until September 1925 when Malcolm Campbell raised the World Land Speed Record to just over 150mph driving the aero engined Sunbeam V12, which I looked at last week.

Mephistophele was acquired by FIAT Chairman Avvocato Giovanni Agnelli in 1969 and when not out on the road it can be seen at Centro Storico Fiat in Turin.

Thanks for joining me on this “Open Road Demon” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an Amilcar. Don’t forget to come back now !


Ferrari Friday – San Marino Motor Classic

For the final visit to this years San Marino Motor Classic today’s featured marque is, unsurprisingly Ferrari.

Ferrari 250 GT PF Coupé Speciale, San Marino Motor Classic

Oldest of the Ferrari’s in this years show and winner of the
Art Center College of Design Award, was this Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Coupé Speciale. Built in 1956 with a 410 Superamerica body the car was delivered new to a descendent of FIAT’s Agnelli family who coincidentally was also member of the FIAT boardroom.

Ferrari 250 GT PF Cabriolet S2, San Marino Motor Classic

Looking at the entry list which names only the entrant, marque and date and other resources it appears the vehicle above is a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series 2.

Ferrari 250 GT Coupe PF, San Marino Motor Classic

I’m much less certain as to the identity of the vehicle above it’s definitely one of 351 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Coupé’s. The combination of repeater light, absence of optional bonnet scoop and drivers side only door mirror lead me to believe this particular vehicle may have been built for a US Serviceman from Chicago who kept the car for 16 years.

Ferrari 250 GT/L, San Marino Motor Classic

Winner of the Pasadena Humane Society Award was the 1964 Ferrari 250 GT/L belonging to Alan & Wendy Hart, a car originally delivered to a customer in Belgium.

Ferrari 365 GTS/4, San Marino Motor Classic

There were only 122 Ferrari 365 GTS/4’s built but I have not been able to link the owner of this 1973 example on the entry list to any particular chassis of the many with yellow bodies and Borrani wheels.

Ferrari F40, San Marino Motor Classic

It will also take a historian far more capable than me to tell you which of the 1,315 F40’s, like the 1990 example above, this is.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton and Paul McNabb for sharing their photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Ferrari Friday” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at some details from last month’s Avenue Drivers Club meeting. Don’t forget to come back now !