In June 1963 the Le Mans 24 Hours was won by Ludovico Scarfiotti and Lorenzo Bandini in a mid-engined 250 P powered by a 300bhp, 2953cc V12. At the Paris Salon in October that year Ferrari announced the 250 P’s ‘production’ brother: the ‘250 Le Mans’, or, more commonly ‘250 LM’. It was intended to take over where the 250 GTO left off and be a top-level contender in the 1964 GT championship.
Owing nothing to any production Ferrari that came before it, the 250 LM’s chassis was a multi-tube space-frame. Suspension was all-independent coil and wishbone, and the body was virtually identical to the 250 P with the addition of a ‘tunnel window’ roof.
The first LM was a genuine 3.0-litre ‘250’ but the engine immediately gave way to a 3286cc version, producing 320bhp at 7500rpm. Top speed was dependent on gearing, but teams could expect 295km/h (183mph) with the longest, 3.548:1 final drive. A five-speed transaxle handled the power and shifting was via a centrally mounted gearlever.
The 250 LM’s best racing years were 1964 and 1965, when the North American Racing Team’s example, driven by Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt, won the Le Mans 24 Hours outright. Another 250 LM was second and this car, chassis no. 6119, entered by Scuderia Filipinetti for gentleman drivers Dieter Spoerry and Armand Boller, finished sixth. The all-Swiss pairing beat a N.A.R.T.-entered Ferrari prototype driven by factory stars Pedro Rodríguez and Nino Vaccarella.
From late-1964 to 1966, ‘6119’ competed at the very highest level with entries to the 1000Km races at Monza, Paris (Montlhéry) and the Nürburgring.
It has a clear subsequent history and superb provenance, previous owners including Sir Anthony Bamford, Don Nelson, Martin Hilton and Anthony Wang (coincidentally all 250 GTO owners, too). During Martin Hilton’s ownership the LM was enjoyed on the road including a trip as far as Sweden to attend a historic race meeting. He recalls: "People parking on the 6th floor of a multi-storey must have been surprised to see an LM and a GTO side by side!"
Although carefully cossetted − and occasionally exercised – throughout its later life (including a sympathetic U.S. refurbishment in the 2000s) our offices supervised a meticulous, no-expense-spared restoration at Ferrari Classiche in 2010-2012 on behalf of its new owner. Subsequently, it was shown at the 2012 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and the Royal Concours of Elegance at St James’ Palace in London.
The Ferrari 250 LM is one of our favourite cars and we are honoured to have overseen the sale of this ex-Le Mans example from one great collection to another.