Being billed as “the world’s most glamorous police car,” the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 “Polizia” is being offered for sale, for an unadvertised price, by Girado & Co., the British collector car dealership headed by former RM auctioneer Max Girado.
“Squealing tires, crashing bumpers and screaming engines, this was Italian crime in the 1960s,” Girado & Co. reports. “Italy saw most crime end with a car chase in the 1960s, with the criminals racing to escape the Polizia in the fastest way possible.”
To compete, Italian police departments swapped their staid and slow black Alfa Romeo 1900s for lighter, faster and green-painted Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 sport coupes.
However, when Armando Spatafora, one of the country’s most-revered law enforcement officers, and part of the police force in Rome, was asked, “What do you need to be complete?” he replied, “What could be better than a Ferrari?”
Believe it or not, the response was: “A Ferrari you will have then.”
And thus the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTS 2+2 was added to the police fleet.
“Spatafora was one of only four police officers from Rome selected to attend a high-speed driving course in Maranello, the home of Italy’s most famous and celebrated automotive powerhouse, Ferrari,” Girado & Co. reports in its news release about the car.
“With its 3.0-liter, V12 engine and top speed in excess of 250 km/h (155 mph), the 250 GTE was a game changer for Spatafora, who naturally found his rhythm with the Ferrari and at the end of the course was taken to the Ferrari factory and shown his new car, the 250 GTE 2+2 Series II… chassis 3999.
Girado & Co. go on to remind us that the 250 GTE 2+2 was the first production 2+2 from Maranello, “offering the ultimate GT experience to a discerning clientele that needed to travel with speed, comfort and all the flair the prancing horse could offer.”
The car was based on the long-wheelbase chassis of the Ferrari 250, but widened to provide for more room in the cabin.
“For the same reason, the notorious Colombo engine was moved forward and an elegant body was commissioned from Pininfarina. The car was a commercial success with three different series evolving over 4 years of production.”
The car debuted at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans as the course marshal’s vehicle.
Girado & Co. notes that chassis 3999 was produced in black with tan leatherette interior. The car is being sold with its original build sheets, which state that 3999 was a vett. Polizia, or “police car” in English.
Ferrari actually produced two such cars, but the other one “met an unfortunate end and after only a few weeks was destroyed in service, leaving this car to become the heart and soul of Polizia for the next 6 years, reaching legend status among servicemen, the public and criminals alike.
“The combination of Armando Spatafora and this Ferrari on night patrol became so legendary that beating him in a car chase became a matter of prestige in Rome’s criminal underworld. Spatafora’s success rate was incredible, his knowledge, experience and driving skills a lethal combination for any getaway.”
The car remained in active service until late in 1968 when it was retired. It was sold in 1972, included in an army-surplus style public auction.
“Thankfully,” Girado & Co. notes, “the Italian buyer, Alberto Cappelli, knew exactly what he was buying and rather than restoring it, he spent the next 40 years preserving its incredible originality. Cappelli and his two sons enjoyed displaying the car in endless events as well as driving it in tours all over Italy and Europe.”
In 1984, Spatafora was reunited with the car for the Coppa delle Dolomiti race. The retirees — the policeman and the police car — posted the second fastest time for the event.
“As a result of its legendary status in Italy, this car was requested on loan for the newly born Museum of Police Vehicles in Rome in the early 2000s,” Girado & Co. reports, and it is the only privately owned car in Italy allowed to be driven with siren, blue lights and “Squadra Volante” livery.
“The car was displayed and driven many times in national celebrations, classic car shows, rallies and tours. It was officially invited to Ferrari’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in 1997, when it joined the Cavalcade from Rome to Maranello.
“In 2009, Carmen Spatafora, Armandos daughter, invited the car to the launch of her book il Poliziotto con la Ferrari, the best account of the remarkable story of Armando and his Ferrari Polizia.
“Over the following six years, this mythical Ferrari continued to receive invitation to the most exclusive Police events around Italy, a proud symbol of the relationship between Ferrari and the Polizia.”
The car earned a Ferrari Classiche certificate in 2014, went to a new owner in 2015 and was displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2016.
“Rarely does the opportunity arise to obtain a truly legendary car,” Girado & Co. add. “With its mythical status as the only Ferrari Police car, this Pantera is exactly that opportunity… Quite simply, this is the ultimate Italian 250 GTE.”