What A Week—Part I

Looking good together, the two Ferraris that were the inspiration for the “All Silver” shoot. In the foreground is a LaFerrari, in the background a 250 SWB from the early 1960s.

Have you ever had a several-day period where everything just seemed to come together in the absolute right way, even when it wasn’t planned?

A recent trip to California was exactly that, and at its core was a good friend who we will call “Robert.” Several years ago I found him a Ferrari 250 SWB with great ownership provenance, and after purchasing it he had it restored to his exacting specifications; this included returning it to its original silver-gray exterior color. Since then he’s taken it to a number of the world’s best shows (Cavallino, Pebble Beach, The Quail, etc.) where the car has been judged 99-100 points, has won a number of class and special awards, and at least one Best of Show.

More recently Robert acquired what may be the most beautiful LaFerrari of all. Rather than having the typical red or black exterior, it’s a fabulous smokey-silver with just a hint of metallic, and a darkened roof. And like the 250 SWB, it also has a red interior.

A Sea of Silver

The 250 SWB is a landmark car, and remains one of Ferrari’s finest ever. That shape has inspired a good number of designers to enter the automotive field.

A few months ago Robert decided to sell the 250 SWB, and it’s the headline car at Bonhams auction in Monterey in a couple of weeks. He seems to have put a realistic reserve on it, so in case it finds a new home an “all silver” shoot with the two cars made sense while he still had both.

A trip to southern California was put together, and when I landed the weather was exactly how you would imagine it to be—sunny, in the mid-80s, with a light breeze. I was staying at another friend’s house not too far away from Robert’s, and upon arriving there it was clear this was going to be one of those stellar trips. In his driveway was an immaculate Alfa 1900 SSZ, and we will touch on this car and much more next week.

The “All Silver” shoot was the following morning, and that’s when another unexpected element fell into place. The prior afternoon, Robert had taken delivery of his custom-ordered Porsche GT2 RS, which was also a marvelous silver/red color combination. Detailer Jeff was slaving away on the Porsche when I drove up, so we started with the two Ferraris.

Cutting Edge Design

An interesting contrast in design philosophies is highlighted here. The Ferraris are more emotional, and shows how the company doesn’t rely on a single theme in its cars’ design. The Porsche has continually refined the same basic shape since the 911 debuted in 1964 as the 901.

Back in the late 1950s/early 1960s the 250 SWB was one of the world’s best all-around performing road cars. The look was cutting edge, Sergio Pininfarina telling me it was the first of his company’s three quantum leaps in design on Ferraris. It was also a true dual-purpose machine, one that could be driven to the track, raced (and win), and then driven home.

Chassis 3337 GT has impeccable history, and the original coachwork, engine, transmission and more. Its first owner was Steve Earle, the father of the Monterey Historic Races, and he ordered it with a slightly hopped up engine, thanks to larger carburetors. He had it for 14 years, and it then went through a succession of owners that included additional prominent names such as Harley Cluxton III, Bob Bodin, and more recently Chip Connor, a true gentlemen who is one of the world’s great collectors.

The car was mechanically very tight and cosmetically quite nice when Robert got it in 2014, but he loves doing restorations so 3337 GT was taken down to bare metal and completely disassembled and reassembled by Motion Products (what was then arguably the world’s best Ferrari restoration facility). As noted earlier, 3337 GT has garnered a number of awards post restoration, and it glistened in the morning light.

In Perfect Form

As the “All Silver” shoot continued, up pulled a Ferrari 488 GTB (top). Of course it had to be included, and it looked right at home.

Robert is the second owner of the LaFerrari, and that shade of gray is perfect for showing off the car’s outstanding form. It was created inside Ferrari when their own design team competed against Pininfarina, and management chose their organization’s work. When I turned my lens Ferrari’s fastest, I couldn’t have been more bewitched.

After getting a number of images of the two Ferraris, we broadened the shoot to include the GT2 RS. Two months ago I drove one in Europe (as discussed here), and was utterly entranced. Robert’s looked even better, and when detailer Jeff made a comment about having the brake calipers done in red to play off of the interior’s colors, Robert said he tried to order it that way but they were only offered in yellow. As nice as that touch would have been it mattered not, for the car looked stunning.

As the expanded All Silver shoot progressed, Robert’s son-in-law showed up in his Ferrari 488 GTB. He’s a successful investor and super nice guy who actually uses it with some regularity, so of course we had to put it in the mix. That “fly yellow” offered a wonderful contrast to the three shades of silver, and when turning the lens on the two modern Ferraris, it was easy to see what was the inspiration for the 488’s shape.

It’s easy to see what inspired the 488’s wonderful shape.

In Closing…

Prior to the plane flight to California, having those four cars together was something I never foresaw happening. But there was little time to reflect on that good fortune, for I had to head off to another friend’s home in Irvine. Once there, that serendipitous luck just kept coming, and that’s where we will pick things up in our next blog post…

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