Ferrari 250 GT SWB marks 60th anniversary at Amelia Island Concours in Florida

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The prototype Ferrari 250 GT SWB in a period photo | The Klemantaski Collection

Editor’s note: The ClassicCars.com Journal is your source for Amelia Island news – from collector car auctions and shows to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Read more of our coverage on our dedicated page.


Ferrari’s legendary 250 GT Short Wheelbase Berlinetta, unveiled at the 1959 Paris Auto Salon, is considered to be the last of the “dual-purpose” grand touring cars – a luscious road car that also could win races on the track, which it often did.

The 60th anniversary of the landmark automobile will be celebrated with a special class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida, held March 10 at The Golf Club of the Ritz-Carlton Resort on Amelia Island.

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Ferrari 250 GT SWB, chassis 2689, set up for track work | Alan Boe.

The 250 GT SWB was a shortened version of the previous 250 GT, its handling and stopping power improved with tube shocks and disc brakes, and its cornering agility sharpened by its close-cropped wheelbase. Up front, the 3.0-liter V12 engine cranked out 276 horsepower, the acceleration enhanced by the car’s lighter weight, especially in the alloy-body versions.

Built for touring as well as competition, the SWB was wrapped in an aerodynamic body designed by Pininfarina and fitted with a luxury interior, including full comfort amenities. The coupe became instantly popular among racers, who could drive to the track in comfort, beat the competition, and drive home again.

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Motorsports great Phil Hill posed behind the wheel of an SWB for a Ferrari brochure | John Lamm

The Ferrari was also a standout for its beauty and poise, a pageant queen that was a star athlete. The body looks muscular and purposeful yet refined with Pininfarina’s characteristic styling cues of the era. Some of the greatest coachbuilders of Europe also created bodies for the 250 GT SWB.

“The ‘SWB’ was touched by genius,” Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Amelia Island Concours, said in a news release.  “It was engineered by Giotto Bizzarrini, Carlo Chiti and Mauro Forghieri, the body was designed by Pininfarina and constructed by Scaglietti. The 250 SWB is among the greatest and most enduring automobile shapes of all time.”

The Ferrari 250 GT SWB class will be a highlight of the 24th annual Amelia Island Concours, joining about 200 exceptional and historic vehicles on the fairways of the golf course. For more information, visit the concours website.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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