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.
The Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB (short wheelbase) is automotive art.
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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
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 “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.
The Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB is among the most coveted Ferraris.
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.
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.
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
The Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB had a 280-horsepower V-12 engine.
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