by Richard Heseltine
2020 review by Peter McFadyen
The Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta was first shown on the stand of the French importer Pozzi at the Paris motor show in 1959. It is perhaps better known as the ‘SWB’ or short wheelbase and quickly became almost invincible in GT races as well as being a brilliant road car. Rob Walker’s example was memorably driven twice to victory in the RAC TT at Goodwood by Stirling Moss.
This is the eighth in Porter’s series on ‘Exceptional Cars’ and follows on from the volume on another characterful and successful Ferrari, the 250LM. To tell the story of the SWB, author Richard Heseltine takes the example of chassis 2689GT, purchased in 1961 by amateur racer Pierre Dumay for textile company owner Pierre Noblet whose similar car Dumay had written off at Clermont Ferrand during the previous year’s Trophée d’Auvergne. The car was delivered just in time for Noblet and co-driver Jean Guichet to take it to a class-winning third place overall at Le Mans, headed only by the two works Ferrari 250 Testa Rossas of Hill/Gendebien and Mairesse/Parkes.
The story of that race and victories for 2689GT at places such as Monza and Brussels as well as the wider racing history of the 250GT SWB are covered as is the earlier history of Ferrari in GT racing. Along the way, its principle drivers Noblet and Guichet are profiled as are key figures in the Ferrari story such as Mauro Forghieri, Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini. The car’s later life leading up to a much needed full restoration is also covered in detail with a chapter on driving impressions and finishing up with a selection of studio images of the now immaculate car.
As with others in the series, the book is very well illustrated with period photographs reproduced in high quality and mainly large enough to allow their appreciation. All in all, the book represents excellent value as well as being a very enjoyable read.
Publisher: Porter Press International Ltd. www.porterpress.co.uk
Description: Hardback (285 x 247 mm, 11¼ x 9¾ in), 128 pages, copious illustrations in black and white and colour.