Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB
The Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB (short wheelbase) is automotive art.
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The Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California’s name was most appropriate, for the man ordering it was Ferrari’s influential dealer in Southern California, Johnny von Neumann. “He asked us for a simple spyder,” said Girolamo Gardini, Ferrari’s sales manager from 1948 to 1961.

Von Neumann and the rest of the Ferrari world got that and a lot more. The Ferrari Spyder California quickly became one of the ultimate “dual-purpose” cars, machines equally at home on street and track. Such versatility underscored an integral part of the Ferrari 250 legend: the firm’s ability to make a range of products with the same mechanicals but divergent “personalities.”

The Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California was available with lightweight aluminum coachwork or a steel body. Its chassis, suspension, and drivetrain came from the Ferrari 250 Tour de France sports racer, which itself was nearly identical to the other 250s offered at the time. While the Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California looked quite similar to the Series I Cabriolet, its interior appointments were considerably more spartan, reflecting its competition orientation.

Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB
The Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB is among the most coveted Ferraris.

The Ferrari “Cal Spyder” was launched in early 1958 and received mechanical upgrades throughout its production run, including disc brakes and more-powerful engines. Its wheelbase matched the other 250 models at 102.3 inches (2600mm), and these “long wheelbase” (LWB) Spyder Californias had both covered and open headlights — the latter in response to new Italian laws.

At 1960’s Geneva Auto Show, Ferrari introduced a new version of the Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California with underpinnings identical to those of the 250 “Short Wheelbase” Berlinetta, which had been unveiled in late 1959.

Wheelbase now measured 94.5 inches (2400mm), and these Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California also had open and covered headlights. The engine gained 20 horsepower and, as with the Ferrari LWB Spyder California, a number of owners raced their cars.

A genuine work of automotive art, the Pinin Farina-bodied Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California was produced into 1963, and marked the last true open-air dual-purpose Ferrari.

Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB engine
The Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB had a 280-horsepower V-12 engine.

Learn about these other great Ferrari Road Cars:

166 MM
250 GT SWB
365 CaliforniaTestarossa
212 Inter
400 Superamerica
365 GT 2+2
F40
340 America
250 GTE
365 GTB/4 Daytona
348
375 America
250 GT/L Lusso
365 GTC/4
456 GT
375 MM
330 GT 2+2
512 BBi
F355
250 Europa GT
500 Superfast
400i
F50
250 GT Boano
275 GTB/4
308 GT4
550 and 575
410 Superamerica
275 GTS
308 and 328
360 and F430
250 GT Coupe
Dino 246 GT
Mondial
Enzo
250 GT Spyder California
330 GTC
288 GTO
612 Scaglietti

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