Just nine examples of the Berlinetta Competizione were ever produced.
A contemporary Ferrari such as the 296 GTB may be able to run rings around its hallowed predecessors but, when it comes to style and beauty, the Prancing Horse's historic vehicles are in a class of their own. Take this 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione as an example. The elegant and incredibly rare classic seen below recently scooped up the esteemed Peninsula Classics 2021 Best of the Best Award.
Every year, the luxury hospitality group bestows the accolade upon a classic vehicle that has won "significant awards at the previous year's most prestigious concours events." This particular vehicle impressed judges after winning the Best of Show category at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, a gathering place for the world's finest motorcars.
Graceful bodywork aside, this 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione has enjoyed a rich and varied life. One of only nine ever built, this silver-painted beauty was pressed into motorsport duty and boasts an impressive resume. Not only did it compete in the famed Mille Miglia, but also in the 1959 Tour de France and numerous hill climb events.
During its tenure as a track weapon, the Berlinetta Competizione was reportedly refreshed by Carrozzeria Scaglietti. The Italian design house (now owned by Ferrari) gave the rare Ferrari a nip/tuck in the form of a smaller grille, lowered nose, concealed headlights, and a rear-mounted spoiler. Already a unique specimen, the Ferrari was later found to be sporting a gem under the sleek hood - it's powered by the first prototype of Maranello's 12B V12 engine.
After twelve years of caning the competition around racing circuits, the Ferrari retired and went to live in Claus Ahlefeld's private collection for 32 years. But, in 2000, the Italian rarity was liberated from its museum plinth and treated to an exhaustive restoration. The owners sought to return the 250 GT to its original configuration, painting the vehicle in its factory silver and retrimming the interior in blue leather.
Since then, it has exchanged hands again and was treated to even more restoration work by Bacchelli & Villa. Now a near-perfect example, the Berlinetta Competizione has obtained certification from Ferrari Classiche and won countless awards.
The Ferrari's owner, Brian Ross, expressed elation over the award. "It is a magnificent recognition of the multiple years spent trying to get my hands on this 250 GT and the hard work that went into the years-long restoration process. All of the other nominees have fantastic vehicles so I am incredibly humbled to be selected by the acclaimed judges for this award. Winning Best of the Best is a true dream."
Ross isn't just being polite; the Ferrari faced fierce competition from several phenomenal entrants, including a 1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale, a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France, and three examples of the majestic Mercedes-Benz 540K.
"With such an illustrious selection of finalists this year, the judging process was especially challenging ... all of them are excellent representatives of automotive history, but one rose to the top to receive our highest honor and recognition," said billionaire businessman Sir Michael Kadoorie.
The prominent car collector formed part of the 25-person strong judging panel, alongside classic car aficionado Jay Leno, Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason, and fashion designer Ralph Lauren.