1957 Ferrari 250 California

It’s easy to see why the 250 California is a favorite among Ferrari aficionados, as well as being one of the most valuable of the classic Ferraris. It’s the perfect blend of Ferrari’s 250-series racing technology in a package that not only is suitable for touring and cruising, it also lets you take in the raucous sounds of the wonderful Tipo 128F Colombo V12 through the open top. The “California” moniker is quite intentional — this Ferrari was specifically aimed at that growing US market, and was the brainstorm of two of Ferrari’s influential American distributors (Luigi Chinetti and John von Neumann), who wanted a car that translated the raw power of the “Tour de France” (TdF) racers into a stunning road car. To accomplish this, Ferrari turned to Scaglietti, the famed coachworks that primarily crafted bodies for Ferrari’s racers. The steel body was fitted on top of a chassis remarkably similar to the TdF, and buyers could option either a road-spec’d engine or special, competition-prepared V12s. All of this meant that the California, despite being a comfortable and relatively luxurious car, didn’t require a lot to be a very competitive racer — Ferrari even created some competizione racers with special aluminium bodies. Nonetheless, even the steel California is very lightweight, at under 2,400 lbs., so the 250 horsepower engine under the hood scoop makes this Ferrari a sprightly performer even by modern standards.

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