Ferrari 250 Europa Prototype discovered at Bonhams Zoute sale
The car, one of two examples produced, was identified by Bonhams experts after being mistaken for decades as an earlier model.
Bonhams are preparing for the inaugural classic cars auction in the Belgian seaside town of Knokke-Le-Zoute, held in conjunction with the Zoute Grand Prix Rally and Concours d’Elegance.
Headlining the sale will be a remarkable Ferrari, only recently identified as a highly rare 1954 Tipo 250 Europa Prototype – one of just two examples ever built.
The car was previously believed to be a Ferrari 212/250 with coachwork by Pininfarina but research by specialists at Bonhams, working alongside Ferrari experts Marcel Massini, Antoine Prunet and the factory Classiche department, made the exciting discovery.
The model, chassis 0297EU, is a very special short chassis prototype built with a 3,000cc Colombo engine. It is described by Bonhams as “an important part of Ferrari history, unique in its own right and very recently newly discovered as a missing link in the Ferrari production car story.”
Misidentified for decades as the last model produced in the 212 series, researchers used the highly guarded top-secret ledger belonging to Amerigo Manicardi, director of Ferrari International Sales during the 1960s, to make their case.
The hand-written ledger lists all the Ferrari serial numbers starting with the first cars and their first owners. It proved that chassis 0297EU was one of two 250 Europa series prototypes produced, and listed the client as American Motorsport Promoter Tom Marchese.
Marchese was racing driver and motorsport events promoter, voted Automotive Promoter of the Year by Speed Age Magazine in 1950 and 1951. The 250 Europa model had been designed with the American market in mind, and Ferrari believed Marchese was the ideal high profile client to promote the new car across the Atlantic.
Elligible for the world’s most prestigious historic motor events such as the Tour Auto, Le Mans Classic, Mille Miglia and Tour de France, the 1954 Tipo 250 Europa Prototype will be offered with an estimated price of €750,000 - 950,000 (US$ 1 million - 1.3 million).
“Following the success of our inaugural sale at the Spa Classic in May, we are delighted to be heading to Knokke-Le-Zoute for the second of our two new auctions in Belgium this year,” said Philip Kantor, Head of the Mainland European Motoring department. “Having this very special Mille Miglia eligible Ferrari that participated in 2010 will doubtless add to the excitement of the sale.”
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