As its name suggests the Ferrari 250 California Spyder was produced specifically for the American market at the request of the US distributers. This convertible supercar was first developed in long wheelbase form based on the 250 GT Tour de France road-racer. The bodywork was designed and built by Carozerria Scaglietti who at the time built many of Ferrari’s racing bodies. With a 140 mph top speed it shared its chassis and lightweight V12 engine with the period’s top racing cars. A small number of these cars were named Ferrari California Spyder Competizione and were built for competition. The remaining cars were trimmed for road use but had few luxuries in true roadster style.
The second series of the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder used the short wheelbase 250 chassis which improved the handling. They also benefitted from disc brakes and a more powerful engine.
The car is sought after for its elegant and desirable bodywork over the iconic 250 GT chassis. The design while based on Pininfarina’s 250 GT Cabriolet is more striking and the interior less luxurious. Many cars had the distinctive fared-in headlamps but there were many variations typical of a coachbuilt car.
The car gained further desirability by featuring in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off were a replica car was used and destroyed. A record price for auction sale was set for any Ferrari 250 GT in 2008 when a Short wheelbase 250 California Spyder previously owned by James Coburn was sold for €6.4 million.