This Rare Hand-Built 1956 Ferrari Prototype Is Up for Sale

With a body by Pinin Farina, the 250 GT Berlinetta Prototipo on offer carries an asking price of approximately $2.1 million.

By Shaun Tolson 11/05/2020

By the early 1950s, Enzo Ferrari had come to the realisation that sustained production of street-legal sports cars was a necessity if he wanted to sustain—and further—his company’s racing efforts. After unveiling the 250 Europa GT at the Paris Motor Show in 1954, Ferrari and its coachbuilder Pinin Farina suddenly found themselves inundated with orders, to the point that the boutique coachbuilder couldn’t keep up. A year or so later, as Ferrari prepared to launch a 250 GT Coupe, the bodywork baton was passed to Carrozzeria Boano, but not before Pinin Farina crafted nine Berlinetta prototypes.

A 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Prototipo.

The 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Prototipo for sale through Auxietre & Schmidt. Photo: Courtesy of Auxietre & Schmidt.

Only a handful of those prototypes have survived, one of which—chassis No. 0435GT—is currently for sale through Auxietre & Schmidt, a collector-car brokerage firm with showrooms in Munich and Versailles. The car was last available during an RM Sotheby’s auction in Paris in 2015, where it exchanged hands for almost $2.1 million.

A 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Prototipo.

Only a handful of these prototypes have survived. Photo: Courtesy of Auxietre & Schmidt.

That hammer price is right in line with the car’s current asking price of about $2.1 million; however, since its previous sale in 2015, this rare, early-era Ferrari road car has been reunited with its original rear axle, consummating the car’s complete matching-numbers identity.

A 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Prototipo.

The example available sold at auction in 2015 for nearly $2.1 million. Photo: Courtesy of Auxietre & Schmidt.

“Being a hand-built prototype from Pinin Farina for Ferrari’s 250 series makes it extremely special in the first place,” says Christophe Schmidt, one of Auxietre & Schmidt’s co-founders. However, Schmidt does point out select features such as unique humps on the rear fenders just behind the doors (similar to the 410 Superamerica), as well as a dashboard and steering wheel that bear striking resemblance to those used in the 250 Tour de France. These accoutrements differentiate the prototype from the standard production 250 GT Coupes that rolled out of Carrozzeria Boano’s shop. “All these features were lost on the later 250 GT Boano production cars,” Schmidt explains, “as they were too complex to manufacture.”

The interior of a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Prototipo.

The dashboard and steering wheel resemble those used in the 250 Tour de France model. Photo: Courtesy of Auxietre & Schmidt.

While most Ferrari connoisseurs consider 250 GT Berlinetta prototypes to be among the most revered and influential grand touring Ferraris of their era, Schmidt acknowledges that the sight of this car might not generate feverish excitement from all hobbyists, only because its uniqueness isn’t outwardly discernible. “These specific 250 GT Pinin Farina prototype cars are largely unknown and have come up for sale on very few occasions so far,” he says. “You really have to dive into the subject in order to understand how special these cars are.”


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