1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider by Scaglietti

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider by Scaglietti

The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider by Scaglietti. Few postwar classic cars can match the insanely high prices commanded by the Ferrari 250 in its various forms. And of the forms that the 250 took, it is generally the 250 GTO and 250 GT SWB California Spider that fetches the very highest prices. These are prized because of their rarity, and with RM Auction set to auction off a 250 GT SWB California Spider soon, it has caught the attention of collectors everywhere. Not only were there just 56 units of the Spider produced, but only 16 of these units were built with open headlights, this 1961 model is one of those 16. RM Auctions is, therefore, expecting the car to go for 11-13 million euros.

The California Spider was built essentially at the request of a couple of American Ferrari distributors. It is based on the 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France, but with a convertible top for increased enjoyment of the lovely California weather. Most of these cars were of course sent to the U.S., but a handful stayed in Europe, of which this is one. It was bought by its current owner in 2007 and was sent to Ferrari Classiche shortly thereafter for restoration. This was completed in 2010, and you can see, it is absolutely gorgeous.


1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider by Scaglietti


Year1961Displacement2953 L
MakeFerrari0-60 time6.5 Seconds
$13,500,000  (€ 11.000.000 )
EngineV-12Body StyleConvertible
Horsepower @ RPM226Transmission Four-Speed Manual

In the late 1950s, Luigi Chinetti and John von Neumann, Ferrari’s two U.S. distributors, both realised that a convertible version of the 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France would sell well in the United States, as clients desired the performance of the TdF yet yearned for the excitement that a convertible provided. The California Spider proved to be a success, and as Ferrari updated the 250 GT Berlinetta to ensure that it remained competitive in motorsport, it was only natural that the California Spider received a similar set of upgrades.

The biggest difference between the original California Spider and the newer series that had first been shown at the Geneva Salon in March 1960 was the change in wheelbase. In an effort to improve handling and increase the car’s cornering speeds, the wheelbase was reduced from 2,600 millimetres to 2,400 millimetres. Through utilising the newer Tipo 168 design with new heads and larger valves, the engine was now reported to produce up to 280 horsepower. Additionally, the track was wider than that of the outgoing California Spider, and the car’s lever-type shock absorbers were replaced with newer Koni adjustable and telescopic shock absorbers. Braking was transformed by the inclusion of four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes, and the SWB California Spider became the contemporary of the legendary 250 SWB Berlinetta.

In 1961, a gentleman driver could drive his California Spider to the race track, easily outrun comparable Aston Martins and Jaguars, and drive home again in the early evening with the top-down and in utmost comfort. The car’s dual-purpose nature appealed to many well-heeled individuals, and SWB California Spiders were owned by film stars, such as Alain Delon, James Coburn, and Roger Vadim; European aristocracy, including Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy; and even racing drivers. Jan De Vroom campaigned his SWB California Spider at both the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 1961 12 Hours of Sebring, where he finished 12th overall, which is an incredible result for a street-legal convertible.


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The Spider has its roots in the 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France in 1956. In 1957, two different convertible versions of the car were made, the 250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina, with bodywork by Pininfarina (obviously), and the America-bound 250 GT California Spider, with bodywork by Scaglietti. Both of these were superseded in 1960 when Ferrari decided to go with a shorter wheelbase for improved handling. There are some variations in the bodywork between the versions of the car, especially given that the SWB versions were a full 8 inches shorter than the original, but all told, a 250 GT is always pretty recognizable as a 250 GT.

Among the differences are the pronounced “hips” in the bodywork just behind the rear doors. These are not unique to California models, or even to the convertibles, but it is something which not every 250 had, and those that have them are more valuable. The bodywork of the California models is about as curvaceous as 250s get, yet it manages to hold on to the elegant simplicity that makes the whole line still so desirable.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase2,400 MM (94.5 Inches)
Length4,200 MM (165.4 Inches)
Width1720 MM (67.7 Inches)
Height1370 MM (53.9 Inches)




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In 1961, Ferrari was still mainly concerned with building race cars. Road-going cars were built almost as an afterthought and were always based on platforms designed chiefly for racing.Cabin accessories are essentially nonexistent, and you might have noticed from the pictures that it lacks even a radio. But that’s fine, this was a car that was meant to be driven, and the sound of the engine was all the music you would ever need. There is an ashtray though because we’re talking about 1961 in Italy. And though there might not have been a lot of interior options, the finest materials were used, from the copious amounts of leather upholstery to the big wooden steering wheel.



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Ferrari used some variation or another of the same 12-cylinder engine from 1947 all the way up until 1995, and the 250s all had them as well. This was the Colombo V-12, and at the time of the 250, Ferrari differentiated models by unitary, rather than total engine displacement. This meant that the 250, rather confusingly, actually had a 3.0-liter engine, with 250 cc per cylinder, times 12 cylinders. Early road-going versions of the 250 produced 217 horsepower, but along with the shortened wheelbase, 1960 also saw improvements to the engine that resulted in more power. The improvements consisted largely of redesigned heads and larger valves, which pushed output up to 280 horsepower.

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RM Auctions has estimated that the car will likely go for anywhere from 11 million to 13 million euros ($12 million-$14 million). It sounds like a lot of money, but it’s actually probably a fairly conservative estimate, given that an unrestored barn finds 250 GT SWB California Spider just recently went for $18.5 million at auction. But as with anything this rare and valuable, it is a very difficult thing to predict.



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Maybe my favorite car all-time, though not as rare as the 250 GT SWB California Spider, the DB4 is very much the same kind of thing: a low-volume European Grand Touring machine. And The DB4 does date back to a time in the company’s history before the sales explosion that would result from the DB5’s appearance in the movie Goldfinger. They aren’t cheap, but because they aren’t as rare, you can have one for generally between half a million and one million USD, depending on condition and which variation of the car you’ve got your heart set on. Sporting 240 horsepower, the DB4 isn’t quite as powerful as the Ferrari, but the important thing is that you’ll look at least as cool driving it.

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Though this is very much open to debate, the 5000 GT is considered by some to be the greatest Maserati of all time. Based on the 3500 GT, but with a 5-liter, 340-horsepower V8 in place of the inline six, only 34 units of this car were ever produced. Not only that, but there is a fair amount of variation in the bodywork from one unit to the next, as eight different coachbuilders produced bodies for various clients, many of whom were royalty. It is therefore literally a car fit for a king, and RM Auctions happens to have one of these going up for auction soon as well. That particular car was owned by King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and is expected to go for $2.2-$2.9 million.

Note: Maserati 5000 GT by Allemano pictured.




Edited + Format by Asher Hardt


Check out more “priceless” Ferrari Gems plus a ton more fire at Top Speed


Jura (2016) by Lewandowski Architects

Jura (2016) by Lewandowski Architects

Situated in the UK, Jura (2016) by Lewandowski Architects | The Hardt


Situated in the UK, Jura (2016) by Lewandowski Architects. Jura is a fine example of contemporary architecture that breaks the mold in an almost entirely traditional architectural context. The Wentworth Estate, home to the world famous Wentworth Golf Club, was originally conceived in the 1920’s by the renowned builder and developer W.G Tarrant and comprises architecture ranging in style from Arts and Crafts to neo-Georgian. Most newly constructed properties on the Estate, be they privately commissioned or developments, are designed in a traditional pastiche. This is largely due to fear of the unknown and risk of jeopardizing future values. Jura looks to set a precedent on the Estate of how good quality, contemporary architecture can maximize the opportunities of a site in both design approach and planning terms.



The design vision for the house was to create a series of moments capturing vistas both inside and outside, offering a textural and inspiring journey through the building. As you approach the building you are greeted with a natural stone façade, replicating the craftsmanship and grandeur of its more traditional peers on the estate, whilst the crisp clean lines and glimpses of what happens behind begin to reveal its true identity. The sound of falling water and ability to touch and feel the natural stone as you arrive at the entrance encourages and stimulates the experience.



The plan consists of two wings of accommodation that are connected across all three floors via a central link/bridge. This link provides not only a functional and physical connection between spaces but allows the users to always feel connected to one another by sound and sight; this connectivity of the senses can often be missing in larger properties but was key to creating a building that could function as a home. The property offers three floors of living accommodation; two floors above ground and a substantially lower ground floor which is flooded with natural light, measuring approximately 2000 sqm in total. The site offers just over 5 acres of land which is again unique for the location. A large challenge with this project, which has been built to the highest specification, was to design not only the external appearance but also the interior spaces with a very discerning ‘virtual client’ in mind. As such all spaces were consciously designed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible while remaining honest to the contemporary roots of the architecture.



The clean and contemporary lines, enhanced by the natural limestone walls and full height glazing, offer a perfect complement to the soft natural wooded surroundings. The stone walls are accompanied by areas of Iroko cladding, a hardwood that will offer durability and elegance while providing a finish that matures and mellows as the building settles into its new surroundings. High performance and ultra slim profile glass sliding doors are used extensively throughout to maximize natural light and offer panoramic views over the surrounding grounds. The result is an elegant and modern home, carefully conceived and crafted to respond to the site’s individual features and the potential end user.


© Ed Kingsford

© Jack Hobhouse



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Black House (2017) by AR Design Studio

Black House (2017) by AR Design Studio

Black House (2017) by AR Design Studio, located in Hampshire, United Kingdom | The Hardt


Black House (2017) by AR Design Studio, located in Hampshire, United Kingdom. Black House is a private new build house in Kent, completed in the summer of 2017 by Winchester- based architects AR Design Studio. A contemporary property, Black House draws its influences from both the historic and modern buildings of Kent. A retired engineer and Conran interior designer, the clients, chose to move from a 15th century Tudor house and build a contemporary dream home in their garden. The building’s concept was formed after the design team and clients embarked on an architectural tour in Kent, in search of inspiration from the land and local context. The floating form and massing of Black House were inspired by Sissinghurst Castle Garden, home of writer Vita Sackville-West. The castle gardens are broken into a series of individual experiences hidden from each other by manicured hedges and weathered red brick walls. Only from the writing room in the central tower can the connection of the spaces and whole design be seen.




The Black House rectangular massing was divided into blocks by key site axes, a view from the pool to a large populous tree, and a previous path to the site. Each block is linked to a distinct aspect of the garden, with a final connecting view provided from the roof of a brick tower. The volumes were separated to create a central courtyard, with a cantilevering roof to tie the modules together. The design team also viewed Hasting’s historic net huts and the traditional black-clad houses of Dungeness. As a response, a vertical black timber cladding is used throughout. Visiting the interlocking volumes of the Turner Contemporary Gallery, in Margate, by David Chipperfield Architects, informed the studio how to interconnect the low massing of the black timber boxes and the brick tower.



With each block linking to a different part of the garden, a journey around the functions of the house is experienced. The journey begins with one of the three entrances, designed along the axes of the building. The kitchen diner is a 24 ft (7.3m) cantilevering room facing east to capture the morning sun. With floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, the orientation provides expansive views across the orchard and vineyard. The drawing room fronts the pool area to the west, two spaces linked to accommodate rest and play. A panoramic horizontal window influenced by Margate frames the view from the formal dining room across the formal front lawn. The final aspect is the bedrooms, they are provided privacy and seclusion by the proximity of the woodland to the rear of the house.



These spaces are all connected by the central courtyard, an area of extensive glazing allowing light and fresh air to continually penetrate the house, and provide year-round sheltered outdoor space. Having constructed the house, the clients have chosen contemporary living over historical, a building designed for them, to suit the way they want to live today. The result is Black House, a sequence of dramatic experiences linked to their garden, and is a contemporary response to the region.


© Martin Gardner





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Villa 1 by Powerhouse

Villa 1 by Powerhouse

Situated in a fairly wooded area in The Netherlands, the transparent glass and concrete Villa 1 by Powerhouse | The Hardt


Situated in a fairly wooded area in The Netherlands, the transparent glass and concrete Villa 1 by Powerhouse. The home consists of two wings which are anchored by a central garage. Because of its rural location, the architects needed to meet above ground volume codes. Their plan was to invert the traditional house plan by putting the bedrooms underground while the living area remains on top. The interior is very open thanks to full walls of glass windows and central hubs, which condense all storage and service into one unit. The forest, like most of the Dutch landscape, is manmade. Mostly Douglas Pines were planted there in the 1950s for the production of straight stems that could then be used as beams. The trees became mature enough to be harvested in the 1970s, paradoxically just when it became immoral to cut trees. The landscape thus turned from industrial to being natural. Now the site falls under the local “building-in-nature” regulations, which include a number of restrictions, among which height limitations for the gutter lines and volumetric restrictions for what could be built above ground. Since the spatial needs of the house called for at least twice the volume allowed by the regulations, we designed it upside-down: all day functions above ground and all bedrooms below, but with ample daylight access.







The site has a slight incline. It offers beautiful views of the forest and great sun exposure that we wanted to fully take advantage of. We thus came up with the distinctive Y-shape of the house: every wing is optimally oriented on the terrain and to the sun. There are three wings: one wing for work, studying and music making (North-West exposure); one for cooking and eating (East-South-West exposure); and one for living and painting (South and North exposure). In the basement, the Y-shape creates a similar functional clarity: one wing is for the master bedroom, one for cars and one for storage and guestrooms. A patio provides light for the guestrooms. A singular frame envelopes the house, thus allowing for maximum transparency. The central area where all wings meet in the Hardt of the house. It is a large space that serves as the entrance hall, dining room, bar, and music-room. The Y plan stretches the house into the site and provides large panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. On the South and East sides, two large covered decks create sun shading in the summer and smooth the transition from outside to inside. In the basement, the Y plan creates a clear division between the private quarters for the guests (with private entry through the patio), the garage and the master bedroom.



Every room on the ground floor can enjoy open views onto the landscape thanks to the wide transparent facade contained within the frame. Each wing is spatially organized in a sort of centrifugal manner. All mass is concentrated in a central core: a piece of furniture that contains all services and structural elements and that simultaneously creates different rooms within the entirely glazed space. These large pieces of furniture allow for a free flowing distribution of functions without creating closed off rooms. It is thus possible to enjoy a pleasant stroll longer than 150 m through a variety of rooms immersed in the landscape. Counteracting the extreme openness of the ground floor, the basement level shelters the most intimate rooms of the house and takes on opposite spatial qualities, emphasized by the brutal and protective feeling of mass. Here, the scarcity of daylight is complemented by a richness in spatial effects. The rooms are carved out in the mass, creating vaulted ceilings and thick walls as a paradoxical result of the lightness of the vertical structure above ground. In the basement, the heavy architecture retrieves the primordial qualities of Roman architecture.



The three furniture pieces on the ground floor are distinctively different in their design, materials, feel and smell. We used wood to the North, slate to the East and concrete to the South. In the North wing an American nut-wood furniture piece ‘swallows’ a staircase, cupboards, a bed and a small bathroom. The curves of its outer shape create the entrance, a small and a large study and an acoustically sound piano-room.





The kitchen is the second piece of furniture. It is entirely made of Norwegian slate and incorporates all kitchen appliances and storage, a toilet and a bar. It is as solid as a rock, yet gentle in its use – a sort of primordial sophistication. The third furniture piece consists of two concrete walls that incorporate a fireplace, storage, and video projector. This element opens up to create a patio bordered by a living room, garden room and atelier. The glass facade is suspended between window frames hidden in the ceiling and floor. There is no vertical structure, only silicone joints to hold the glass. The only large opening is a huge green marble sliding wall (a sort of mobilized Mies wall) which opens the intimacy of the living room onto the terrace. Although made of marble, the sliding wall is very light as it is mounted on honeycomb aluminum plates (a Chinese invention called stone-veneer now produced in Texas, USA, with predominantly Middle East stones). The marble sliding wall wraps around a cross-shaped column clad with a black rubber skin: this is what we called the “Miessian Gimp”.



Structurally the house is a stack of different industrial building techniques. The basement is cast in concrete. The roof, with extreme cantilevers, is a complex steel structure designed by the audacious structural engineer Gilbert van der Lee. The bookshelf in the North wing is made entirely of solid steel plates and functions as a structural Vierendeel frame stabilizing the structure of the roof. As a result of its Y shape and architectural dichotomy, the villa provides a wide array of extreme spatial qualities, going from narrow, dark, vaulted corridors to wide-open, transparent garden rooms. The result is a landscape of different spatial perceptions that goes beyond the mere pragmatic diagram of functionality. This house is the result of an involuntary yet conscious choice to radically change a way of living. It is a house for the new life of a man and his new partner. A house that can provide him with a new place to live in, after losing his beloved one with whom he had lived thirty years in an old farmhouse bought in the seventies and which they had remodeled 8 times to fit their changing needs. This house had to be something radically new for him. It had to offer a new balance to a disturbed life. It had to provide a new anchor point. It is a house designed for a family to be re-rooted.





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House in Guimarães (2014) by Elisabete de Oliveira Saldanha

House in Guimarães (2014) by Elisabete de Oliveira Saldanha

House in Guimarães (2014) by Elisabete de Oliveira Saldanha located in Guimarães, Portugal | The Hardt


House in Guimarães (2014) by Elisabete de Oliveira Saldanha located in Guimarães, Portugal. Looking to create your own place to live, we proposed the recovery of a house, stable and a grove of oaks, chestnut and cork trees, situated on a farm, near the City of Guimarães.The program was created to meet current needs, maintaining its original characteristics. The adjustments were to meet the original morphology of the propriety, consisting of terraces that led the house orientation and provided it with a direct access to the outside, on all floors, except the tower. The building is south oriented, arranged in an “L” shape and organized in 4 floors. The ground floor is an interior extension of the main living areas of the 1st floor, is related to the main entrance area of the house that is made through the staircase and porch that stand out from the facade for its grandeur and elaborate stone masonry. The first floor connects to the ground floor through a spiral staircase with a strong decorative nature, which leads to a social use.




The living rooms extend to the outside on the South, where the pool is the leading element, preceded by terraces and a lounge area that complements the inner social areas. The second floor corresponds to the private areas. The tower hosts an office/library, going up from a living room on the 2nd floor. In this living room, there is a strong interaction between the restoration and the contemporary intervention, marked either by the restoration of ceilings and wainscoting or through new solutions that favor and promotes rehabilitation and how it was conducted.


The interior is characterized by decoupling the outside. All the historical elements of the building were preserved and restored and even replicated, with a view to creating an identity where the duality between the past and the present coexist in the same space. On one hand, there are elements that preserve and recreate the building’s historical memory, on the other hand, were assumed minimalist traits that are identified with the new users. This Results in rich interior details and solutions in an interaction between the two languages without giving up the essential user comfort. The annex retains the main features of the original building where there were stables. It now hosts a workshop that privileges the visual contact with the cars that are in the garage, as a source of inspiration to the design developed. It also keeps, whenever possible, a relationship with the surrounding landscape.



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