The Breadvan

Ferrari, Breadvan, klemcoll, Le Mans

Here is a truly unique Ferrari berlinetta, sitting in front of the pits at Le Mans before the start of the 24 Hours which took place on June 23-24, 1962. This entry was by Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata’s Scuderia SSS Republica di Venezia (known more informally as Scuderia Serenissima) and was driven by Carlo Mario Abate and Colin Davis. It would retire in the fourth hour with gearbox failure after having run as high as seventh overall.

But the real story of this car is the backstory of how it came to be. Volpi owned a Ferrari 250GT/Comp61 short wheelbase alloy-bodied competition belimetta and very much wanted to own one of the new and very fast GT Ferraris now known as the 250GTO. However, there was a problem. Some of Enzo Ferrari’s close associates had been fired by the boss for complaining about various issues including the presence at races of Ferrari’s wife Laura Garello who, because Enzo Ferrari did not attend his team’s races, was acting as something of a reporter to her husband. Count Volpi had become an investor in a new Formula 1 effort called ATS which had hired Ferrari’s former technical director Carlo Chiti, one of the fired group. That event made Volpi persona non grata at Maranello and put paid to his desire to obtain a 250GTO.

Ferrari, Breadvan, klemcoll, Le Mans

So Volpi decided to create his own pseudo GTO based on his existing 250GT/Comp61. To do this he first worked with Giotto Bizzarrini who had been involved as a consultant to Ferrari in the creation the test prototype 250GTO, known as the papero or gosling. Bizzarrini followed some of the techniques he used in the development of the GTO such as moving the motor even further rearward and converting it to dry sump lubrication to allow it to sit lower in the chassis. These changes also allowed for a much lower and more aerodynamic nose. But he could not obtain the parts for the GTO’s five speed transmission.

The new bodywork was created by Carrozzeria Sports Cars the Modenese bodyshop of Piero Drogo in coordination with Neri and Bonacini and incorporated a high and flat tail design partially based on the aerodynamic work of the German engineer Wunibald Kamm. The English press quickly nicknamed the result as the Breadvan while the French called it the Camionette or little truck. Breadvan stuck as the popular name for this Ferrari.

At Le Mans and other international races it had to run in the prototype class as it no longer complied with the homologation form for Volpi’s original 250GT. When it did run near GTOs it was just as fast and often faster.

Photos by Ami Guichard ©The Klemantaski Collection – ww.klemcoll.com

Our End of Year Sale continues, although our stock of The Cruel Sport has been sold out. Go to klemcoll.com to see our images in The Gallery where we will give a 40% discount or other books in our Special Publications area.

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