1955 Ferrari 250 Europa Custom-Ordered by Italy's Liquor Mogul Is Headed to Auction

This prancing horse emerges after hiding in a private collection for decades.

Gooding & Company

By this point in your life, you’ve probably seen at least a snippet of one of those home-buying reality shows for fixer-uppers. What I see is hours and hours of time in renovations that appear to be endless; others see a labor of love culminating in a home. Some project cars are like that, too, like this never-restored custom 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT.

There is some rust, yes. The leather is cracked and stippled. On the floor, the carpet appears to be molting and the mats are disintegrating. But you can see that the bones are solid. This rare Ferrari also has an interesting backstory as it's said to be one of the many vehicles commissioned by Dr. Enrico Wax, a renowned distributor for big names like Johnnie Walker whiskey and Moët & Chandon champagne in Italy.

Gooding & Company

By all accounts, Dr. Wax never ordered a vehicle in standard trim; each one was custom-made. And since he spent a fair amount of money (because the Genoa-based liquor mogul had plenty of it), the automakers largely capitulated to his wishes. This particular 1955 Ferrari is significant in that it’s one of only 43 of the 250 Europa GTs built, combining coachwork by the legendary Battista “Pinin” Farina with a thundering three-liter V12.

At some point in the late ‘50s or early ‘60s, the Ferrari was acquired by a private collector in California and has been sitting in their collection for decades. It has a few clicks over 21,000 miles on the odometer, and the auction house says it has not been driven since the 1960s. The owner has kept everything intact, including the original Pirelli hoses and a 1959 Automobile Club d’Italia sticker festooned on the side mirror.

Swathed in Grigio Metallizzato (metallic gray), the exterior of the Ferrari has eased into its 60s with grace. Inside the Italian classic, orange leather upholstery covers the plush seats and gear shifter, and the steering wheel is adorned with woodwork and the Ferrari stallion. After sitting unrestored for so many years, it is worn but not unsalvageable.  

“Not only is this Europa GT one of the finest surviving 1950’s Ferraris, it has been secreted away for decades in a private Southern California collection and has never before been exhibited or offered for public sale,” said Gooding & Company’s David Brynan in a statement. “This is a truly extraordinary Ferrari—the kind of discovery that will excite any collector with a passion for original, unrestored automobiles.”

Gooding & Company

Brace yourself, because rare cars like this one fetch sky-high bids at the auction, likely between $2.2 million and $2.6 million and will cross the block sometime between May 3 and May 7.

Got a tip? Send the writer a note: kristin.shaw@thedrive.com