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Designer Felice Mario Boano made the first 250 GT Cabriolet for the 1956 Geneva Show. A year later, a Pininfarina-designed cabriolet appeared at Geneva, again based on the 250 GT platform. This famous car became the property of Ferrari racing driver Peter Collins and was the first of four Pininfarina Cabriolet prototypes. Feeling the pressure from Jaguar and others on the racing circuit, Collins would fit Dunlop disc brakes to this car, making it the first Ferrari to be so-equipped. The second prototype, dubbed the ‘Spyder Competitzione’ by Pininfarina, had a cut-down windscreen and a faired-in headrest like the Scaglietti-built racing cars, the third was built for the 1957 Paris Salon and the fourth sold to the Aga Khan. Between July 1957 and August 1959, 36 more Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolets were produced. These cars are henceforth known as Series I.
Rounding out the model offering, the Ferrari 250 GT coupé was launched in 1958 and was an important car for both Ferrari and Pininfarina. Both companies decided to standardize production in an effort to increase output; Ferrari set up its first modern assembly line and Pininfarina moved to a new factory. Alongside the more-well-known Cabriolets, the Ferrari 250 GT coupé was well received. The first planned series of two hundred cars sold out well in advance. Road and Track called it “The ultimate in driving” while Sports Car Graphic chose it as their Sports Car of the Year. With the improvements bestowed on the coupé, a new open car was immediately in the works. The result was the Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II, launched at the Paris Salon of 1959. By this time, the competition-based Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder was also in production and as it looked similar to the Series I Cabriolet, Ferrari wanted significant changes so that the Series II could be easily differentiated from the California Spider.
The Series II was also made more practical for grand touring with a more accommodating and luxurious interior and a larger boot. The car also had the latest Colombo 128F V-12 engine with outside plugs, coil valve-springs and 12-port cylinder heads that as a unit produced 240 horsepower. Other performance attributes were improved as well, since the Series II was also equipped with disc brakes, tube-type shock absorbers and a new four-speed gearbox with overdrive. Production started in late 1959 and lasted until 1962, during this time the Series II Cabriolet was the most expensive car in the 250 GT range. In fact, this car was such a success that a new generation soft-top Ferrari was not introduced until 1964; in total, 201 Series II Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolets were produced.
Serial number 1803GT is the 14th Series II Cabriolet built in the first run of 100 cars of the 200 total produced by Ferrari. Featuring a complete restoration by well-known authorities, including Bob Wallace, Squadra Nouvolari, Bill Pound and others, 1803 GT also has the original Build Sheets from Ferrari along with books and tools, full receipt file records along with both factory tops. One of the few automobiles to grace the lawn of the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance TWICE – once in class 1991 and then again in 2004 as a Special Display invitee, she remains a sunning example of the true embodiment of the open Ferrari 250 linage.