This Ferrari Lusso is one of 328 built in left hand drive and was delivered in 1963. Following its long-term ownership in the United States it was acquired by JD Classics in 2014 and has benefitted from a full JD restoration including bare metal re-spray, full re-trim, re-chrome and complete JD overhaul of its engine, gearbox, back axle, suspension etc etc. Since that time it has been used very sparingly and is therefore offered in immaculate condition being presented in its rare factory colour scheme of Grigio Notte with Rosso interior. It has been granted its Ferrari Classiche and all Numbers Match the vehicle's factory data sheet and accordingly it provides a wonderful opportunity to acquire one of the best examples of one of the most beautiful cars ever built.
Designed to replace the 250 Pininfarina GT Coupé and fill a gap between the sportier 250 GT “SWB” and the four-seater 2+2 GTE, the prototype of the 250 GT/L Berlinetta or “Lusso” had its debut at the Paris Motor Show in October of 1962. It would be the last of the 250 GT cars but the line ended on a high note with the instantaneous success of the Lusso, thanks in large part to Pininfarina’s timeless design and the enhanced driving experience afforded its occupants.
Externally the styling drew on the best features of the earlier SWB but had more graceful curves and avoided some of the superfluous decoration of its predecessor. The front-end design had a wide and low egg crate grille similar to the SWB but had a different bumper arrangement, with a horizontal bar below the grille and a small vertical bumperette cradling the side light on each front wing, with inbuilt circular driving lights between them and the grille. The front wing line curved over the wheel arches to fall gently through the door panel with the rear wing line running from the door shut line, skirting the base of the rear quarter glass before falling in a long curve into the Kamm tail panel, which had a shallow aerodynamic lip to its upper edge. The body was largely constructed out of steel but retained aluminium doors, bonnet and boot lid.
The interior was luxuriously appointed and, with the engine moved forward, provided considerably more leg room than in Ferraris previous two-seater models. Bucket seats were fitted as standard, which gave an excellent driving position and superior visibility was provided by the large rear screen and thin roof pillars, which also gave the cabin an airy feel and contributed to the sense of space. Since there were no rear seats there was ample room for luggage and the cabin was trimmed in leather of the highest quality, unusually also on the dashboard. It was this unprecedented degree of luxury that gave the 250 GT/L its unofficial moniker of “Lusso”, a name that quickly stuck.
These extra refinements added some weight but in spite of this the Lusso still delivered excellent handling and respectable performance. The chassis retained the 2.4 m wheel base of the SWB and was powered by the same Colombo V12 that had faithfully served the rest of the 250 range. With three Weber 36 DCS Carburettors and a compression ratio of up to 9.3 to 1, the power output at 7500 rpm was close to 250 bhp, which delivered a top speed of 142 mph. While the Lusso was never intended as a competition car, some drivers capitalised on its performance and achieved creditable results in the Targa Florio and Tour de France. The overall positive response to the car is perhaps best summarised by the comments of Count Giovanni Lurani which were recorded in Auto Italiana Sport following a lengthy road test through Italy and France at the time: “The 250 GT Berlinetta ‘designed by Pininfarina’ thoroughly confirmed its right to be considered as the most exceptional high performance sports car in existence today. It showed excellence of its mechanical base, refined from an incomparable competition tradition, and a remarkably brilliant aesthetic conception which bore the signature of the greatest body builder in the world.”
When construction ended in 1964 only 350 examples of the Lusso had been built and with its completion so closed the era of the legendary 250 GT.
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