Richard Haberkern

Latest Ferrari California SWB News

1961 Ferrari 250GT SWB California Spider Headed to Gooding's Amelia Island Auction
Gazing upon the stunning Ferrari 250GT SWB California pictured here, one might be tempted to think, “Oh, boy, another ludicrously expensive Ferrari headed to auction.” You'd be right to do so, but at this point, is an eye roll even necessary? Pre …
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Ferrari сделала California T в честь 250 SWB
На немецкой выставке ретро-автомобилей Techno Classica современный купе-кабриолет показали потому, что посвящен он раритетной Ferrari 250 SWB. Новая Ferrari California T получила такой же цвет кузова Grigio Scuro с продольными …
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Ferrari 250GT California

Have you seen the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? If you have, I’ll bet you remember the red Ferrari that went off a driveway and crashed at the base of a hill. Well that was a replica of a 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Ferris and his friend Cameron looked rather stunned when they watched this car become airborne. As did all Ferrari lovers. Why was a replica used? It could have been because only 55 of these cars were made, and it is considered one of the most beautiful examples of the car maker’s art.

There are really two different 250GT California cars. The first one produced from 1957 to 1960 was based on the Ferrari 250GT Tour De France, which had its top removed, and a coupe became a convertible. Pinin Farina designed these spiders and they were built by Scaglietti built them. The initial request came from Ferrari’s North American importer. This run of 49 cars are now referred to as the LWB or long wheel base models.

The Ferrari 250GT SWB  (Short Wheel Base) California was built from 1960 to 1963. It is considered one of the most desirable and beautiful cars ever made. How desirable? At the RM auction on May 18, 2008 a 1961 model sold for $ 10,894,900, setting a new record. The car had been owned by actor James Coburn, which may have helped a little in the final price.

From a mechanical standpoint the 250GT SWB was powered by a V12, rated at 280bph. Top speed was about 145mph. A little unusual was a four speed manual gearbox rather than the five speed. These particular cars now had disc brakes front and rear. The purchaser had a choice of either an aluminum or steel body.

While the 250GT series of cars set international racing records throughout the early 1960’s most of the competition was done in the coupes rather than the California models.

When the average non Ferrari owner thinks of a Ferrari, chances are this is one that comes to mind, or perhaps the 308GTS shown in the Mannix TV show. 

Dennis Dater has been involved with cars for over 50 years. His first love was sports cars when he drove a 1952 MG to high school. He has produced over 40 articles for ezineseeker on cars, and almost a hundred on his web sites. His two web sites are designed for Honda Accord aftermarket accessories.

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Ferrari California

Ferrari’s modern entry-level car, if there is such a thing, is the California. This is an entirely new concept for the Italian manufacturer, and is the first front-engined V8 in the entire history of the company. A 2+2 with a metal retractable hard top, it was allegedly originally intended to be badged as a Maserati.

Behind the front seats, buyers can choose either a bench with luggage straps, or a ‘2+’ seat configuration, with ISOFIX and seatbelts. Behind this is a roomy boot, offering up to 340 litres of storage space. All this, combined with the car’s superb road manners, mean it marks a new era for Ferrari, broadening its appeal a lot. Ferrari is winning over new fans with this car who previously wouldn’t have considered the Italian brand.

Those who may have been looking at a Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG or an Aston Martin DB9 Volante now suddenly find this is on their list of potential cars too – and it is a tantalising proposition that is winning friends. Don’t think it has gone soft, though. The wailing 460bhp engine can still hit 60mph in under 4 seconds, and it goes on to a maximum of 192mph… it’s every inch the genuine high performance Ferrari, with sublime handling that ensure it’s a true thoroughbred to drive. The brand knows from the past how not quite doing a complete job can dent reputations – and has made no such mistakes here.

New California List is from £145,000. A bargain when compared with the £182,500 ‘base price of an automatic Aston Martin DBS Volante! There are few Californias actually on the market for sale. A random look online found less than 10 real cars for sale across the UK. These ranged from a 15,000 mile good spec 2009 at £145,000 to a pre registered brand new car for £167,000. With the scarcity of samples I cannot offer graphs of data because there is little. As the market matures there will be more hard core data to analyse. If you wish to contact me directly to find out about value of a specific Ferrari California please do by emailing me at 

Although completely different in character a used Ferrari 599 can be bought for less than a Ferrari California and to the unitiated this would look very tempting until you factor in the folding metal convertible roof, the token rear seats and the 7 speed DSG transmission.

The California is a new Ferrari that retained its super-premium market status for only five minutes before being eclipsed by the announcement of the Ferrari 458 Italia. It is too early to get a precise feel on longer-term values though, as it is still finding its feet in the marketplace.

It is not worth over list now, but not easily found and will be in demand for the summer. Now, at last, Ferrari has dropped the F1 transmission in favour of the superb seven-speed dual clutch DSG box. This is much more in keeping with the experience those attracted to the California will expect. I’m keeping my eye on the California over the next few months, as it will be interesting to see what effect so few in the marketplace will have on prices.

The California has settled into the wider niche that it shares with the Aston Martin DBS Volante and the Bentley Continental GTC Speed. The Bentley is the more practical, offering real four seat capacity, while most would agree that the DBS Volante is the best looking. Yet the Ferrari adds the intangible element of the forbidden fruit appeal of the Ferrari brand. 

The above is extracted from a 68 page luxury car market report that can be found on

We at Clive Sutton offer a wide range of new and used Ferrari cars for sale. We deal across the UK and can look after your Ferrari car buying or selling requirements wherever you are located.

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Latest Ferrari California LWB News

The Evolution of Van: Ford Updates Transit and Transit Connect
Vans tend to evolve more slowly than any other type of automobile, but with the recent influx of new van models large and small now vying to haul America's deliverables, the evolution of the van has accelerated. Case in point: One year after Ford …
Read more on Car and Driver (blog)

Bentley Bentayga review – company's first ever SUV clocks up the price tag
Imagine the embarrassment. You've invited friends round to have a look at your new Bentley Bentayga and one of them notices that it's fitted with the standard clock and not the optional Breitling version. They might even think you aren't rich enough to …

What if we could build it?

In order to recreate the 1961 Ferrari California 250GT SWB, we would need a way to bend and shape the metal to its original form.

Luckily, with modern technology, we are able to 3D scan existing cars and build a modern buck like the one me and my Italian counterparts designed here. Maybe there is someone out there that wants to build a car like this. It would be great to see someone utilize this technolgy and the hard work that is going into my design.

Ferrari California 250G GT SWBbuck.

A wood buck is used to hand form a car body out of aluminum.

Hand pounding aluminum takes skill and is hard, time consuming work that takes years to master. There are a few shops still in existence worldwide so building the car from our designs would be possible although very expensive!

My good friends at Coachsmithing would be up for the task.

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