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Bertone Ferrari 250GT SWB #1739GT 1960
Bertone Ferrari 250GT SWB #1739GT 1960
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The unique car presented here, chassis #1739GT, is the third 250 GT SWB Berlinetta ever built. It was commissioned by Dottore Enrico Wax of Genoa, Italy. Wax's company, 'Wax and Vitale SpA' were importers, mostly of alcohol, into Italy. Their products included Johnnie Walker, Enzo Ferrari's favourite scotch, and Moët et Chandon champagne. Wax was a personal friend of Enzo Ferrari and was considered one of the wealthiest men in Italy.

Wax ordered many cars from Ferrari for his personal use. All were "speciales" or had a host of special features. He liked extensive brightwork stainless steel, polished nickel and chrome, which is evident throughout all his Ferraris.

In 1959, Wax expressed interest in a "Speciale" during a meeting with Enzo Ferrari and he asked for one of the first new short wheelbase chassis that were then under construction. Il Commendatore walked him across to the Competition Department where he pointed to the first chassis in a line of just three. Ferrari said that although it had been designated a works team car, it would instead be immediately assigned to the account of Dott. Wax. That chassis was #1739 GT.

As a Ferrari works car #1739GT's intake and exhaust ports of the cylinder heads had been ground out and polished and had other competition details like velocity stacks, aluminium firewall, drilled transmission mount for lightness, polished leaf springs, solid spring bushings and much more. The 280 hp engine had a 9.8:1 compression ratio, the same as later Le Mans-prepared SEFAC hot rods. This car also had red cam covers, similar to the 250 Testa Rossa, and is the only known GT to be equipped with these. #1739GT was also the first Ferrari to be fitted with SNAP exhausts.

Chassis #1739 GT was sent to Bertone on 7 January 1960, to be fitted with a one-off body designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who was just 21 years old at the time. After completion #1739GT was exhibited at the 1960 Turin Motor Show.

The car was fitted with a brushed stainless steel roof, rockers and front and rear valances. It also had a one-off wire mesh grille, headlight covers and Ferrari?s first ever rear window defroster. Additionally, the hood and fenders could be flipped forward to expose the entire engine and front chassis - a configuration referred to as a "clam shell". The interior featured rolled, pleated and fully adjustable folding seats, an unique "pistol grip" gear lever, electric windows and full fitted luggage. A particularly unique interior design feature is the central placement of the speedometer and tachometer.

An oversize Ferrari emblem graced the hood and the side of the car was badged with Enrico Wax's initials "Prototype E.W." #1739 GT was also the first Ferrari to be fitted with Campagnolo cast magnesium wheels.

Enrico Wax sold the car in 1961 and it was subsequently owned by the Tacchini family before being exported to America in the seventies. The car remained in the US throughout the eighties and nineties and underwent a total restoration by Steven Tillack from 1982 to 1983. Lance Hill, a Hollywood screenwriter, acquired the car in 1998 and it was again subject to a total restoration over several years. More recently the car has been part of a famous collection and has been shown at some of the world's best known concours and events.

May 17th, 2009, the car was auctioned by RM Auctions, but with a highbid of $ 1,600,000.- the car remained unsold.



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