On the 14th of March 1900 a family from Romania with a six year old boy who would later become known as Judge Samuel Simon Leibowitz disembarked from the Kensington in New York City. While still an advocacy lawyer Samuel Leibowitz became one of the most unpopular men in Alabama during the 1930’s for showing the US Supreme Court in Washington that Alabama Courts were denying a defendant, one of the Scottsboro boys accused of rape, the the right to a fair trial which resulted in the eventual release of four of the nine accused and the pardoning of the remainder posthumously in 2013.
During the 1940’s Samuel Leibowitz served as a judge in New York City, who, although a Democrat, was known as a “hanging” judge in favour of capital punishment. Demonstrating his out of the box thinking he once gave a lecture and asked his audience if the man on the logo of a packet of Camel cigarettes was riding the camel or leading it by the halter, debate was heated and opinion was deeply divided, but no one mentioned the fact that there was no man on the Camel logo at all.
In 1960 US Ferrari dealer Luigi Chinetti sold the Judge what appears to be the first of at least five Ferrari’s, a 250 GT Cabriolet S2.
Five years later in 1965 the Judge appears to have gone on a Ferrari collecting spree buying a 250 GTS, a 275 GTB 6 carburetor Competizione and possibly the pre-owned 1964 6th Ferrari 500 Superfast chassis #5985SF.
The following year The Judge is believed to have sold both the 275 GTB/6C and 500 Superfast on, maybe to make way for today’s Ferrari 500 Superfast chassis #8019SF the 28th of 34 built and the 6th of the 12 series 2’s, which was completed in December 1965 and shown at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1966 before being shipped to Chinetti in the US who sold it to Judge Leibowitz.
It is not known exactly how long the Judge held onto his second 500 Superfast, but by 1976, a former Oklahoma Air National Guard Vietnam Vet who had subsequently worked as a missile analyst for the United States Navy Laboratory in Corona, California before returning to the family wholesale plant nursery in Talequah Oklahoma, evidently took a shine to #8019SF while attending oenology classes at the University of California Davis and bought it from Rick d’Onofrio in Palo Alto.
The Vietnam Vet turned wine student Gil Nickel bought the Far Niente Winery in Oakville in 1986, founded the Dolce Winery in 1992 before founding Nickel & Nickel Winery in 2000 with his son Jeremy.
Gil kept today’s featured car until his death aged 64 in 2003 during which time it sporadically appeared at Concours events at Pebble Beach, Monterey and Beverly Hills.
Phil White appears to have acquired #8019, apparently unrestored and still in it’s original colour, from the Nickel estate at an unknown date.
#8019SF is seen in these photographs at last years Danville Concours d’Elegance where it was awarded first in the 1961 – 1969 All Other Sports Cars class last year, more recently Geoffrey Horton also saw the 170 mph Ferrari with a five litre / 302 cui V12 at this years Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton as ever for sharing his photographs.
Thanks for joining me on this “It Is A Free Camel” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the first ever Chevron. Don’t forget to come back now !