A study in sports car perfection: 1963 Ferrari 250GTL Berlinetta Lusso


Words and pictures: RM Sotheby's

Coachwork by Scaglietti

Chassis no. 4393 GT

Engine no. 4393 GT

This beautifully restored, matching-numbers Lusso is the 21st of just 350 examples produced, and is now slated to cross the podium at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale, August 13-15 in California.

When it comes to the presentation of important and historic Ferraris at auction, RM Sotheby’s is the market leader, having successfully sold more examples from the famed Italian marque than any other auction house, including their lauded Ferrari Factory sales held at Maranello from 2007-2009. Naturally, among the many star consignments for the company’s flagship Monterey sale, Ferrari once again reigns supreme. No less than 20 stunning examples lead early entries, among them, a handsome Lusso thoroughly enjoyed on both sides of the pond.

Few Ferrari road cars have proven to be as charismatic as the 250 GT/L Berlinetta, also known as the Lusso. The ultimate luxury iteration of the long-running 250 GT platform, the Lusso was introduced at the 1962 Paris Motor Show and immediately stood out from its predecessors with its supremely elegant, Pininfarina-designed and Scaglietti-built coachwork. Heralded as one of the most timeless body designs ever conceived, the Lusso brilliantly reconciled curvaceous fenders and a sporty Kamm tail, complemented by a roomy cockpit with long front and rear glass panes and minimal brightwork. 

The Lusso was Ferrari’s luxury grand touring model available between the early Pininfarina coupes and the 275GTB that followed, and its comfort was ensured by a cabin swathed in leather and a dashboard that featured a radical new instrument arrangement that was never to be duplicated. 

Mechanicals were updated to include standard disc brakes and two rear-suspension developments from the concurrent 250 GTO sports racing car, the integration of concentric springs on the shock absorbers, and a Watts linkage to assist in lateral stability of the rear axle. In production for two years, approximately 350 examples of the elegant Lusso were built, and the model has matured into perhaps the most universally revered Ferrari grand tourer of the legendary 250 series.

According to noted Ferrari expert Marcel Massini, chassis 4393 GT – the example presented here and slated for RM’s Monterey podium – is just the 21st example built. The car was originally finished in Amaranto Italver and trimmed with a beige interior of Connolly leather, completed by the factory in March 1963. The following month, the GT/L was sold to Jacques Swater’s Garage Francorchamps, before it made the first of several transatlantic journeys, passing onto Luigi Chinetti Motors in Greenwich, Connecticut at the end of April that same year.

In 1967, the Lusso was purchased by its first known owner of record, Jochen Di Giorgio, of Sausalito, California, the scenic marina village just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. In 1970, it exchanged hands once again, selling to Robert White, of Chicago, who had the car repainted silver-gray metallic and reupholstered in black.

The Lusso then moved through a well-documented chain of ownership on two continents, during which time it was entrusted to Uwe Meissner’s highly regarded Modena Motorsports near Düsseldorf. In the 1990s, the notable service and restoration shop completed both cosmetic and mechanical work, including new paint, re-plated brightwork, refurbished Borrani wire wheels, and a fresh Connolly leather interior with new dashboard, carpets, and headliner. Mechanically, the carburetors were rebuilt, the brake system was overhauled with a new master cylinder, and a new exhaust system was installed. 

In February 2001, the Ferrari once again came into the care of Modena Motorsports when purchased by Mr. Meissner, who in turn sold it to Belgian collector Dominique Balders. Mr. Balders commissioned the German shop to conduct some further restoration measures, which included a complete engine rebuild with GTO-specification pistons. Regularly tended by Modena Motorsports over the ensuing years, the beautiful 250 GT/L was spotted during the Modena Trackdays at the Nürburgring in July 2003.

By 2006, the Lusso had returned to the United States once more, where it was displayed at the 42nd Annual FCA National Field and Driving Concours in Chantilly, Virginia. It was sold a year later to Wayne Carini, the automotive impresario most widely known for hosting the television program Chasing Classic Cars

Carini’s F40 Motorsports undertook a two-year restoration to factory-correct standards that also included a fresh repaint in Grigio Ferro with rich, caramel-toned tobacco upholstery. Afterwards, it was shipped to marque specialist Greg Jones, of Stuart, Florida, for final tuning and detailing to show standards. While in Mr. Jones’ care, the Lusso was submitted to the factory for Ferrari Classiche certification and received approval with the issuance of the important Red Book soon following, testifying to the Lusso’s correct presentation and overall authenticity.  

The current owner acquired the GT/L in January 2012, and has ensured its continued fine condition with routine attention and climate-controlled storage. Fitted with correct Michelin XVS tires, Chassis 4393 GT invites Maranello enthusiasts and sports car aficionados of all stripes to indulge the senses. Now returning to the California coast where it first graced the U.S. roadways, it is quite simply an irresistible example of one of Ferrari’s most beautiful road cars, worthy of the attention of tifosi worldwide.

The Lusso is one among many feature attractions for RM Sotheby’s record-breaking Monterey sale. An institution for more than 25 years, the company’s flagship event, held during the world-famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance week, continues to raise the bar for collector car auctions year after year, commanding the attention of the world’s most discerning collectors. Held at the beautiful Portola Hotel & Spa, just steps away from downtown Monterey and Fisherman’s Wharf, the event has been witness to the sale of some of the world’s most important and historic motor cars.

 The 2015 sale continues the tradition, lifting the gavel on an elite, handpicked roster of some 150 of the world’s most coveted automobiles. Further information on the Lusso and a frequently updated list of entries for RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale, now extended to a three-day auction event, August 13-15, is available at www.rmsothebys.com.

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