FERRARI 250 GT SWB
The culmination of a concept, but also the
end of an era, the 250 GT SWB epitomized
everything that Enzo Ferrari wished his
road cars to be – Jekyll and Hyde
machines that could win on the race track,
then whisk a movie starlet to her latest
premiere. Same car, same specs. Le Mans
and La Dolce Vita.
The 250 GT SWB made its debut in
1959, SWB refering to its short wheelbase
– at 94.5in, some 7.8in less than previous
1961 FERRARI 250 GT SWB
250 GTs. Combined with a constantly
refined 3-liter V12 engine, Pininfarina’s
organic, ever-evolving fastback
coachwork, and the revelatory stopping
power of disc brakes (the first on a
Ferrari), the SWB was nimble enough and
powerful enough to rule the GT roost at
the start of the 1960s.
Six 250 GT SWBs started the 1960 24
Hours of Le Mans. Two retired; the other
four finished 1-2-3-4 in the GT class, with
a best overall placing of fourth.
A year later, Pierre Noblet and Jean
Guichet went one better, putting their SWB
(our studio car) on the podium in third overall.
But the writing was already on the wall
for the dual-purpose GT cars. For the ’61
race, Ferrari had to build the so-called
“SEFAC Hot Rod” SWB, with lighter body,
plexiglass windows and a Testa Rossa-spec engine as its rivals began to build
increasingly track-specific GT racers.
Noblet and naval repair
yard owner Jean Guichet
(LEFT in 1961) were
gentlemen drivers in the
truest sense, but quick
with it. Guichet went on
to win outright in 1964
with Nino Vaccarella.
LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN