1961 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta Competizione "Breadvan"

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​History of the car

The chassis 2819GT is still referred to as the Breadvan. To see it is a rare, unusual and exciting sight. It is a one-of, and of all the modified Ferrari's, it has to be the most notorious.

The Breadvan was developed by ex-Ferrari personnel and raced by a team that was refused sale of the car they wanted most, the 250 GTO. At the time, Enzo Ferrari must have been particularly perturbed as he did not allow the car the race as a Ferrari, nor carry his badges.

The origins of the Breadvan began with the palace revolt that happened at the end of October, 1961. This dispute, between Enzo's wife and several key employees, forced many workers, including engineers Giotto Bizzarrini and Carlo Chiti, to find work elsewhere. So, they defected to Scuderia Serenissima, a race team run by Count Giovanni Volpi of Misurata also known as Scuderia SSS. After Enzo Ferrari found out, the team's 250 GTO order was canceled, and they were left to hunt used cars for the 1962 season.

Not resting on their laurels, the Scuderia Serenissima team went out on a limb to create an even better version of Ferrari's 250 GTO. Bizzarrini & Chiti were the same engineers that created the original GTO, so they easily had the necessary talents to develop an even better one for Count Volpi.

Scuderia Serenissima started work upon chassis 2819GT, one of the few competition SWB 250s built to contest LeMans which was also the direct predecessor to the GTO. Bizzarrini then added all the features of the GTO that made it successful. This included dry sump lubrication, a lower, more centered engine position and a radical body that was executed by Piero Drogo's coachworks.

In some ways, Count Volpi got a car that was better than a GTO. At the 1962 LeMans, the Breadvan, with much smaller proportions, weighed 143 lbs lighter than the standard GTO. Despite the lack of five-speed gearbox, the reduced weight helped the Breadvan stay ahead of the GTOs at Le Mans, until it retired four hours into the race.

The Breadvan only raced four more times after LeMans, and managed a take class win at Brands Hatch in 1962. In later years, it was used as daily transport until maturing into a vintage racecar, used fairly regularly by Monte Shalett in the 1970s & John Harper in the 80s and 90s.

The car is a direct result of the infamous "Palace Revolt" of 1961 when many of Ferrari's top boffins were sacked and/or quit because of a dust up with Enzo's wife.

The big names? Giotto Bizzarrini, our personal lord and savior. Plus his awesome right-hand man, Carlo Chiti. These were the two aces who did the bulk of the work on the 250 GTO. Their plan? Build a better GTO.

You can read all about it here, but the car they wound up creating, chassis #2819 is a vehicle honed from a block of unadulterated awesome. Was it better than the GTO? The Breadvan was 143 lbs. lighter and was leading all the GTOs at Le Mans in 1962 when a mechanical snafu forced it out of the race...

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