Perhaps one of the most well-known Ferraris is, ironically, one the Ferrari organization doesn't want to acknowledge as of of theirs at all.
The Ferrari 250 GT SWB (Short Wheel Base) 'Breadvan' is a 1 of 1 custom-made car built from a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB. It was handed the disparaging nickname by the English press once they had a look at it with its flat roof line and tall rear end, unlike any previous Ferrari. Little did they know how functionally effective this peculiar shape would be.
The birth of the Breadvan begins with a bit of mutiny at the Ferrari headquarters. In October, 1961 there was a dispute between several principal employees of Ferrari. Girolamo Gardini, a Ferrari Sales Manager, was constantly at odds with Enzo. One big point of contention with Gardini was that Laura, Enzo's wife, was deeply immersed in, and complicating, company affairs. When Gardini decided he'd had enough, he threatened to quit.
Enzo , refusing to be put in that spot, promptly fired Gardini. That action compelled what became known in Ferrari history as The Great Walkout. Ferrari's Chief Engineer, as well as racing team manager and Experimental Sports Car Development Chief Giotta Bizzarrini, and a host of other critical employees like Carlos Chiti backed Gardini in the issue, and they left Ferrari in protest. This was right before the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO was near completion - a car Bizzarrini was heavily involved with developing.
Both Bizzarrini and Chiti went to work for Scuderia Serenissima - a race team owned and run by Count Giovanni Volpi. Volpi already had a Ferrari 250 GTO on order for the 1962 race season before hiring the two former Ferrari development stars.
When Enzo Ferrari realized two of his principal engineers had gone to Volpi's race team, he refused to fulfill Volpi's 250 GTO order. Volpi had to find a used Ferrari. They were able to find a 1961 250 GT SWB that had previously competed in the 1961 Tour de France, taking second place overall. Since Bizzarrini was the principal engineer for the GTO while at Ferrari, it didn't take long for him to apply all the ideas he had developed, as well as some other clever ideas that didn't make it to the released car into the used donor car. Since the GTO was essentially an evolution of the GT they'd purchased, it wasn't a challenging job.
Relative to the GTO he'd designed, with the 250 GT, Bizzarrini moved the engine and radiator further back, putting it closer to the center of the car. He also lowered the engine by fitting it with a dry sump oiling system. He replaced the three Weber carburetors with six twin choke DCN Webers. The team that prepared the car was also able to strip approximately 140 pounds of weight relative to the GTO as well.
Bizzarrini worked with designer Piero Drogo on an aerodynamically advanced body design. The final design was even lower-stanced than the GTO, and incorporated the Kamm aerodynamic theories, as were covered in this story on the Cobra Daytona. The resulting shooting brake aesthetic may have earned it some peculiar nicknames, with the French calling it 'La Camionette', for 'little truck', in addition to the Breadvan title prescribed by the English.
All of this work - The designing, fabrication, and modifications of the 1961 250 GT into the Breadvan was completed in only 14 days. It made its debut at the 1962 24 Hours of LeMans. In no time, it passed every Ferrari GTO in the race, and was running in seventh overall before it was forced to retire with a driveshaft failure.
In the three other GT races in which the car competed in 1962, The Breadvan finished 1st twice and 3rd once. It won the 1962 GT Championship, validating it's competition capability.
The car competed in one more Hillclimb racing in 1965 before being sold. It was utilized as daily transport for a while, before ultimately becoming a popular fixture on the vintage racing circuit through the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
In 2005, there was an attempt to sell the car at auction in Monterey, but it did not meet the reserve of $3.5 million. It was later sold privately and refurbished to its original state. The owner reached out to the Ferrari Classiche team - the in-house organization who authenticates, documents and restores old Ferraris to factory condition. They issued a terse response to the car's owner - a notice of attestation for vehicles that "do not comply with the strict Ferrari Authenticity Certification criteria, have been deemed, as a result of their competition and/or international recognized show history, to be of historic interest."
Clearly, crossing Enzo Ferrari comes with long-lasting consequences. Decide for yourself whether the Breadvan is a Ferrari, or more of a Bizzarrini. Either way, what is unmistakable is the car's incredible history.