FERRARI’S “TOUR DE FRANCE”
The 250 GT LWB Berlinetta is one of the most significant competition automobiles of Ferrari’s illustrious history, as it established the marque’s GT-class racing dominance in the late 1950s. After Alfonso de Portago won the Tour de France in 1956, Oliver Gendebien triumphed outright for the next three years – 1957, 1958, 1959 – in turn earning the “Tour de France” moniker.
With the 3.0-liter Colombo V-12 engine fitted to Ferrari’s 2,600-millimeter-wheelbase steel tubular chassis, numerous highly desirable models that succeeded it can directly trace their origins to the TdF, including the SWB Berlinetta and the 250 GTO. Today, it is rightly recognized as Ferrari’s most successful 250 GT, having garnered more outright victories than the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, second only to the revered GTO.
In addition, thanks to superb Pinin Farina–designed coachwork, hand-built by Scaglietti in aluminum, the TdF was as beautiful to look at as it was exciting to drive. No less an authority than Jess G. Pourret, the renowned marque researcher and author, notes in his book, Ferrari 250 GT Competition Cars, the following:
“A complete new body appeared in the spring of 1957 – a great Pinin Farina design with balance, aggressiveness and aerodynamics – with this, the Berlinetta style reached its ultimate purity of function. This car had a sensual way all its own without being flashy or depending on gaudy gimmicks. Trim was kept to the bare minimum but it was enough to accentuate the overall appearance. Every angle one considers is simply beautiful. Quite a few people seem to prefer the later short wheel base berlinetta style. Yes, this car is also a beautiful machine, a well-proportioned racing GT, but it doesn’t reach as far as the covered headlight 1957/1958 Pinin Farina Tour de France Berlinetta.”