Ferrari’s 250 GT SWB (short wheelbase) really dominated GT racing in the early ‘60’s. This little bulldog of a car won its class, or won races outright at tracks in Europe, North America and the UK, with pilots like Graham Hill, Mike Parkes, Stirling Moss, Fernand Tavano, Pierre Dumay, Pierre Noblet and Jean Guichet, it established enviable racing credentials.
The SWB was introduced at the 1959 Paris Auto Show and was descendant from the 250 GT Tour de France and the two, purpose-built 250 GT Interims that were built specifically to contest Le Mans in June of 1959. With bodywork designed by Pinin Farina and constructed by Scaglietti, the car was made in two configurations: A “Lusso” (luxury) designed for the street and a “Competizione” for racing. Whereas the steel-bodied Lusso was built with many creature comforts and a mildly tuned engine and suspension, the Competizione was a racing thoroughbred utilizing a lightweight aluminum body with a Spartan interior and an engine and chassis set up for racing.
For 1961 the Ferrari factory went one step further, and built 21 special Competiziones meant specifically to contest and win the World Constructor’s Championship for Ferrari. These cars were designated “Comp/61’s” and were nicknamed the “SEFAC Hot Rods”. They were a further improvement over the standard Competizione in that they had even lighter weight chassis and bodies and more powerfully tuned engines.
I really like my Ferraris red, so I was surprised at how much this silver beauty grabbed me. A lot of it, of course, was provenance, but CMC has really done a nice job of bringing us all of the detail that this car should have. CMC puts detail where we can see it and unlike most other manufacturers, even where we can’t.
CMC’s silver #14 1961LeMans GT class-winner is chassis number 2689 GT and was one of the “SEFAC Hot Rods”. Driven in the 1961 24 Heurs du LeMans by Belgian owner Pierre Noblet and Frenchman Jean Guichet, the #14 finished 317 laps, won the GT Class and finished 3rd overall.
As we discuss the details of this model, think in terms of CMC taking a full-size car apart and handing the sub-assemblies to different teams to model the component pieces that will then be assembled back into the replica of the car.
The beautiful silver body is formed flawlessly with no seams or parting lines and the cloak of silver paint and the solid blue racing stripe make this car look elegant, but purposeful. There are extra lights to illuminate the racing numbers and, for racing, the car has a bug deflector mounted on the bonnet and has a shield over the driver’s side exhaust to prevent fuel overflow from getting onto the hot exhaust. When we open the doors, there are fabric and leather covered seats and painted floors. The tunnel and rear “package tray” are finished in leather (a little luxurious for an all-out race car ?). The side windows are operated by leather belts and the window tracks and door latch operating cable are clearly visible inside the door.
I was under the impression that this car was equipped with horizontally sliding Perspex side-windows, but I defer to CMC’s research on this topic. In the rear, a little racing fuel cap opens to a tube running down to the rear-mounted fuel tank. And the wipers actually have rubber blades inserted into the stainless steel holders!
I know if I take off the skid plate on the underside of this car, I will still see all the detail that exists on my CMC Lusso SWB, things like copper brake and fuel lines, the parking brake cables, sleeves, and operating mechanism. There are even individual hexagonal bolts attaching the sump cover to the engine. This attention to detail is everywhere. The model’s working suspension is stiffly sprung on coils in the front and leaf springs in the rear. Single-pot disc brakes front and rear were considered “trick” in 1961.
The engine is a V-12 Colombo fitted with three twin-choke Weber downdrafts sitting in an aluminum (looks like stainless to me) “turkey pan”. And the engine bay is just filled with the wires, hoses and linkages to make this engine work. I was amazed when I saw how they mounted the generator, there is a small slotted photoetch bracket allowing the tensioning of the generator belt…… and tiny clamps holding the cables running off to the battery. The caps and filters are complete with their service messages.
But most amazingly of all is when you take a microscopic look at the knock-offs and can clearly read “Carlo Borrani – Milano”.
All-in-all, this is one magnificent race car ! Those that treasure LeMans with its long history interwoven with the development of the sports car will find this little SWB irresistible. With it being introduced almost concurrently with the Testarossa, I can anticipate some competition for your purchasing dollars. But don’t overlook this one……. It is highly recommended !