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Magnificent 1956 Ferrari 250 GT 'Tour de France' and muscular 1964 Shelby 289 Competition Cobra headline sale
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ‘Tour de France’. Photo: James Mann © 2014 courtesy RM Auctions.

LONDON.- RM Auctions announced the inclusion of two highly significant competition cars as headline attractions for its annual London sale, taking place on 8 September at Battersea Evolution: a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ‘Tour de France’ and a 1964 Shelby 289 Competition Cobra. Representing the ultimate in performance and engineering, these two competition greats lead a terrific roster of more than 70 blue-chip automobiles at the exclusive RM evening sale.

Ferrari’s illustrious history is punctuated with so many iconic models that it takes a car of particular pedigree to be regarded as one of the most significant Ferraris of all time. There is no doubt that the incredibly rare 250 GT Berlinetta Competiziones of the 1950s fit that description perfectly. After achieving great success on race tracks across Europe, they were undoubtedly the most desirable cars in the Scuderia’s stable in period as they effortlessly combined luxury with competition-level performance.

The example secured for RM’s upcoming London sale, chassis 0563 GT, is the eighth of only nine 1956 250 GT TdFs built, and is eligible for every historic motoring event, including the Mille Miglia. Originally sold new to Racing Sport S.r.l, of Torino, Italy, it was immediately leased to Jacques Peron, of Nice, France, at which point it began its racing career, campaigned by Peron and co-driver Jacques Bertrammier at the 1956 annual Tour de France Automobile. Peron and Bertrammier finished 8th overall, behind de Portago and Nelson, with Peron back behind the wheel at the Coupes du Salon in Montlhéry that same year, finishing 2nd overall. Chassis 0563 GT went on to score numerous significant race results over the next two seasons before being sold and exported to the United States in 1959. Stunning restoration work has led to numerous concours titles, as well as many appearances at retrospective events since, including at the 2014 Tour de France rally. A matching-numbers example and certified by Ferrari Classiche, it is presented for auction in outstanding condition, and would be a welcomed entry at any important historic racing or concours event around the globe (Estimate: expected to fetch in excess of £4,500,000).

Augustin Sabatié-Garat, Car Specialist, RM Auctions – Europe, says: “In many ways, the TdF is the ultimate symbol of Ferrari’s long pursuit of perfecting the dual-purpose sports car. As a result of their extremely low production numbers and, in turn, high desirability, these cars rarely make their way to the open market. Chassis 0563 GT is a very compelling example of its breed, as it boasts two top 10 finishes in the very race that earned the car its fabled nickname”.

For those with a penchant for American performance, few cars resonate as strongly with classic car enthusiasts as the fearsome Shelby Cobras of the 1960s. They are considered by many to be the ultimate embodiment of a powerful and purposeful 1960s sports car, as the 400-brake horsepower, 289-cubic inch Ford V-8-engined cars took performance to whole new level, making it one of the most effective and iconic road and race cars ever devised.

The 1964 Shelby 289 Competition Cobra on offer at RM’s London sale, chassis CSX 2430, is an exceedingly rare Team Specification Cobra, prepared by Shelby and raced as a factory-sponsored entry. Successful both period and historic racing events, it was first campaigned by “Gentleman” Tom Payne in 1964 and 1965. Payne debuted the car at Lynndale Farms, Wisconsin, before competing in events across the Mid-West United States in the summer of 1964, consistently finishing on the podium. In that same year, he took the car to Nassau and fared extremely well, finishing 2nd in the GT class, 9th overall, and 1st in the GT class in the Tourist Trophy, Governor’s Trophy, and Trophy Races, respectively. Success on the track continued into the 1965 season and beyond, piloted by such distinguished names as Gerber, Yeager, and the famed Bob Grossman. It is understood that even Carroll Shelby got behind the wheel of CSX 2430 at the Texas Can-Am Challenge in the mid-1980s—an appearance that reportedly marked his last time in a Competition Cobra and racing one on the track. Soon after, CSX 2430 was restored by highly respected Cobra authority Bill Murray before going on long-term display at the Shelby American Collection for nearly 25 years. Featured in many books and press articles, it is offered at RM’s London sale from a highly respected private collection, and presents an exceptionally rare opportunity not only for the Shelby enthusiast but also the competitive vintage racer (Estimate: just under £1,500,000).

“When it comes to provenance, CSX 2430 certainly ticks all the boxes. It boasts fantastic period and vintage racing pedigree, has been restored by one of the world’s most respected Cobra authorities, and has also been linked to some of the most distinguished names in the racing and collecting communities”, comments Max Girardo, Managing Director, RM Auctions – Europe. “What’s more, its combination of outstanding presentation and performance makes it a great contender as either a serious competition car or as a concours entrant, or both! Given the quality of its restoration, with this car you can participate in virtually any concours event in the world before jumping behind the wheel, taking to the track, and chasing down, and usually overtaking, any Ferrari or Porsche in your sights. Like the Tour de France, it is a true dual-purpose automobile!” Girardo adds.

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