Vintage Corner: 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta

The Adventure of Leasing a Vintage Ferrari with Premier

Even casual Ferrari buffs know the distinguished place the 1959-1962 250 GT SWB holds in the family. Bought and raced extensively by privateers, the “Short Wheelbase Berlinetta” was a critical evolutionary link between the bigger 250 GT Competizione (a.k.a. “Tour de France” or TdF) of the late 1950s and the 250 GTO.

To create the SWB, Ferrari took nearly eight inches out of the 250 GT TdF’s wheelbase (down to 94.5 in.), and Pininfarina clothed it in a starkly elegant body. Ferrari offered the new GT with all-aluminum or steel bodies, though the latter used using aluminum for the doors, hood and trunk lid. The steel car, which weighed just over 2,400 lbs., was known as the Berlinetta and, in keeping with its dual-purpose mission, featured a more finished interior than the 300-lb.-lighter alloy car. Disc brakes were a first on a Ferrari.

Moss in Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta

Image Source: Stirling Moss in a Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta (

The 250 GT SWB excelled in competition, taking 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th at Le Mans in 1960. Stirling Moss drove a 250 GT SWB to victory in the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood and also at Brands Hatch that year. A 250 GT SWB won the 1960 Tour de France, and one took third overall at Le Mans in 1962.

A Racy Background

Bob Cohen’s 1962 250 GT SWB, with chassis #3337, was the first 1962 SWB made. It was purchased new by Steve Earle, who in 1974 founded the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Earle sold the car that year.

The steel-body model went through a series of owners before Dr. James B. Dougharthy of Nevada bought it in 1988 and had it prepped for vintage racing. Fossil Motorsports in Northridge, California, rebuilt the 3.0-liter V12, tweaking it to 325hp using 250 GTO heads and crankshaft, hotter cams, higher compression pistons, blueprinted Weber carburetors and a taper-tuned exhaust system. The car also got competition suspension, rollbar and a racing harness.

Dougharthy extensively raced the car for the next decade, establishing it as the fastest steel-body SWB in the world. He sold #3337 in 2001, and the new owner had it restored by Wayne Obry and painted yellow. The car began its concours d’ elegance career, showing at Pebble Beach, The Quail and the Cavallino Classic.

Wheel of 1962 Ferrari GT SWB

Image Source: 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Steering Wheel (Bob Cohen)

Foreign Intrigue

Cohen also had the concours circuit in mind when he acquired the SWB. The complex transaction, orchestrated by Premier Financial Services, ultimately involved the sale of three other cars, utilizing a 1031 exchange, and exporting a car.

“Being a lawyer, I knew all the right questions to ask, but I was out of my comfort zone,” said Cohen. “There was a procedure to assure that the car would get on the airplane, fully insured, all customs regulations satisfied and that the car would get to my garage in California. While this is oversimplifying the many steps in between, it all happened without a hitch.”

Behind the scenes, there were many hours of coordination, communication and cooperation with the seller, the transporter, customs and truckers, with PFS helping at every turn. “I have structured multiple exotic and classic car leases through Premier Financial over the years, ranging from the contemporary Porsche Carrera GT and Ferrari Enzo to the classic Alfa Romeo TZ1 and my 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB,” said Cohen. “I consider the very experienced team at PFS to be my partner in making exotic and vintage car dreams into reality.”

Cohen's Testimonial on 1962 Ferrari SWB

Image Source: Bob Cohen’s Testimonial of Leasing a 1962 Ferrari SWB (Bob Cohen)

Concours Winner

Once Cohen had the car, he commissioned Rex Nguyen to give the SWB another complete restoration, changing it from the FIA- and Ferrari Classiche-certified race setup to road configuration.

At the 2015 Cavallino Classic, #3337 won First in Class Platinum and the Excellence Award for Best Restoration. In spring, it took Best in Show Concours de Sport at the Greystone Mansion Concours d’ Elegance, and then won for Historic Vehicle at the Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance in June. Then in Monterey, 1st in the Ferrari Class at The Quail and Best Road Car at the Ferrari National Meet.

1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Wins the Concours

Image Source: 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Wins the Concours (Bob Cohen)

Lease a Vintage Ferrari with Premier Financial Services

Premier Financial Services tailors every exotic or luxury car lease to the individual financing needs of each customer. Leasing an exotic or luxury vehicle with The PFS Simple Lease provides a flexible, simple financing option for car enthusiasts.

Financing your next vehicle lease with The PFS Simple Lease will enable you to:

Our goal is to provide quality customer service with transparent lease financing terms to our clients. The PFS Simple Lease is the fastest and most flexible way to drive what you want, when you want.

By Jim Koscs for Premier Financial Services