Classic Car Stories: The Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder SWB

Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder SWB recently sold for $17m

One sold recently for $17m, one was found rotting in a French barn and reportedly fetched over $15m, and on a topical note, now former Top Gear host Chris Evans owned the one that used to belong to James Coburn. This week our latest classic car story is the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder SWB.

Introduced to the world at the beginning of the 60s, the short wheel base (SWB) California Spyder was based on the Berlinetta, boasting disc brakes, more power and less bulk than its LWB sibling.

With a top speed of 168mph and 0-60 in six seconds, the two-door convertible had a V12 engine and 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres.

Hand crafted by Carozerria Scaglietti, only a few dozen of these absolute beauties were ever made, making it one of the most expensive and highly sought after specimens in history.

Chris Evans is reported to have paid over £7.5m for his 1961 version of the Spyder. As it turned out, it had the wrong engine and Evans later sold it at a loss of £4.5m.

And following the historic ‘barn find’ on a French farm in 2014, the 1961 Spyder famously photographed with Alain Delon and Jane Fonda sitting in it in 1964, was found and auctioned. Figures differ, but it went for approximately $15m in February last year.

The ‘barn find’ of over 60 classic cars belonging to entrepreneur Roger Baillon has been compared to Howard Carter’s find of the Tutankhamun tomb in 1922 by car enthusiasts. Roger collected classics for two decades before financial troubles ultimately led to his collection being abandoned (we’ll be revisiting this amazing story in greater detail in the coming months).