Sharing the same short wheel base (SWB) chassis as the Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta first seen in 1959, a 280 hp version of the Ferrari 250 V12 motor and disc brakes the first of 54 or possibly 55 250 GT SWB California Spyders was shown to the public by Scaglietti at the 1960 Geneva motor show.
In 1962 the 32nd SWB California Spyder #3195GT painted green with a black interior was delivered to Jan de Vroom. de Vroom was a young man from Dutch Indonesia who was one of two men vying for the attentions of the much older Margaret de Cuevas.
Born Margret Strong in New York de Cuevas’s grandfather was oil billionaire John D Rockefeller.
Of the two men competing for Margret de Cuevas, de Vroom is painted as a roguish subterranean adventurer who walked on the wild side leading the increasingly eccentric Margret into a “pit of vipers” characterised as “male and uninterested in women”.
Margret set de Vroom up in the business of importing Italian glass and lamps, it is believed that having raced a variety of Ferrari’s from 1956 to 1958 which included making an appearance at Le Mans, de Vroom may have been one of a number of backers of US Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team (NART).
#3195GT is said to have been purchased for “a season at Cannes” and later in the 1960’s it was imported to the USA. During the 1970’s after a change in ownership the car was reported as having a dark blue with tan interior and later again as painted red.
de Vroom met an unpleasant end at the hands of a thug who demanded money. He was found with his throat cut and multiple stab wounds by a house guest in 1973, a crime for which the perpetrators were convicted and imprisoned. This left the way open to Margret’s other suitor to move in and marry her when she was eighty and allegedly relieve her of most of her remaining wealth.
Since the 1990’s #3195GT has been a regular on the Concours circuit with Robert Baker being awarded a first in class at the 1994 International Ferrari Concours at Monterey and I believe current owner Larry Carter took home another class award from the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing these photo’s taken at the 2012 Concours on the Avenue at Carmel by the Sea and to Jerry Entin, Willem Oosthoek, Richard ‘Vitesse2’ Armstrong, Arjan de Roos and Rob Semmeling at The Nostalgia Forum for their help with Jan de Vroom’s story.
Thanks for joining me on this “A Season At Cannes” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !