Johannesburg – Taking pride of place near the stage at the World of Classic Motoring display in hall 5 at this year’s Rand Easter Show is the incredibly elegant and feisty Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheel Base racer.
Currently a Ferrari 250 GT SWB is listed at 3,2-million US dollars as its low price, with a high price of 4,5-million US dollars. That translates in rand terms to between R35-million and R45-million.
Owned by the CEO of Etana Insurance, Paulo Cavalieri, and run under the Pablo Clark Racing banner, the Ferrari is noted amongst cognoscenti as one of the all-time classics.
The car is currently raced in South Africa by Jaki Scheckter, nephew of World Formula One champion Jody Scheckter, who won the title in 1979 in a Ferrari.
The Pablo Clark car is a continuation example created by an American company using a slightly more common Ferrari 250 GT long-wheel-base example as a base. This does not make the car a replica in any way, as this Ferrari is completely original in all respects, apart from modifications to shorten its wheelbase to the original SWB specifications.
It uses the 1961 classic original track-version 3,0-litre V12 Ferrari engine tuned to so-called “hot rod” levels, a Ferrari term in the 1960s that has nothing to do with the American breed of “hot rod”.
This means it has six dual-choke downdraught carburettors and produces about 360 horsepower from the little V12. This car, as imported by Pablo Clark Racing some years ago, is raced regularly in historic events here.
According to local Ferrari “guru” Ivo Sega, who is the CEO of Ferrari restorers Carrozzeria Viglietti in Edenvale, a conservative value of the car in Hall 5 would be “easily R10-million”, as standard 350 GT long-wheelbase is listed currently at 800 000 US dollars, and this continuation car is much more sought-after amongst Ferrari collectors.
In original form, this car was raced by Sir Stirling Moss and Graham Hill, two of Britain’s most iconic drivers of the 1950s and ’60s, at the Le Mans 24-Hour in 1961. Hence the dark blue colour of the car and the white stripe over the nose, as the car was run by famous Grand Prix team owner Rob Walker, of Johnny Walker Scotch Whiskey fame.
All the stickers on the car are also to original spec, as applied to the car that competed in the 1961 Le Mans.
The iconic Ferrari is one of two Ferraris on display in Hall 5, and one of 120 classic cars on display, ranging from the humble VW Beetle and Kombis of the late late1950s to seven-second quarter mile drag racing machines.
The display, which includes drive-in demonstrations of classic cars and regular appearances by well-known petrol heads, is hosted by well-known motoring media personalities Stuart Johnston of Ignition TV fame and Beeld’s Formula One expert, Hendrik Verwoerd.