For the upcoming Arizona Auto Week later this month, numerous auction houses will be bringing out rare gems to Scottsdale. Below is another special lot from the Prancing Horse, an example that has a noble connection.
When Pirelli suddenly pulled their sponsorship for Enzo’s Scuderia during the 1955 racing season, it was Lilian, Princess of Réthy and the Royal Lady of Belgium, who connected the team with Belgian tyre manufacturer Englebert for a new sponsorship. When Princess Lilian was looking into commissioning a new car, Enzo Ferrari was keen to offer her something truly unique: in a time when all Ferrari 250 GT coupes were contracted to Carrozzeria Boano for coach building, chassis no. 0751 GT was instead sent to Pinin Farina for a one-off coupe coachwork, specially for the Lady.
This example, which was the second of three Ferrari Speciales commissioned by Princess Lillian, was restyled and given modern lines that paved the way for Pininfarina’s later work. Covered headlamps and a hood scoop were found on the long nose, while the large chromed and louvered vent on the front fenders were similar to those found on the California Spider.
Princess Lillian didn’t keep the car for very long. In 1967 she gave the vehicle to American surgeon and a fellow Ferrari enthusiast Dr. Ernest De Bakey, whom she met during a visit to a hospital she sponsored. The Ferrari then passed through the hands of different owners until it was acquired by its current custodian in 1998. Princess Lillian’s unique classic underwent a comprehensive restoration in 1997, but still maintains matching-numbers engine and gearbox. RM Sotheby’s has given it an estimate of US$ 11,000,000 to 13,000,000, with the sale taking place on 18 January.