Italian Flag Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB (Passo Corto) ~ 1959-62

Ferrari 250 GT SWB BerlinettaThis is the story of what may be the most beautiful postwar sports car ever created… the gorgeous and quintessentially Italian 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB or “Passo Corto”. After Ferrari’s first major successful racing sports car, the 250 GT Competition TDF, Enzo needed to replace the 250 TDF with its evolution, the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB (Short Wheelbase).Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta

The 250 GT Berlinetta SWB original design actually emerged from the sixth and last of the 250 TDF series, also referred to as the 250 GT LWB Interim (Long Wheelbase). This last TDF had a Pinin Farina design and was handcrafted by Sergio Scaglietti on a 2600 mm (102.4 in) wheelbase chassis. The 250 GT SWB was also built by Master handcrafter Scaglietti on a Pinin Farina design, but it received the shorter and sportier 2400 mm (94.5 in) wheelbase tubular chassis. This gave the SWB a stiffer and nimbler chassis, which was easier to handle in twisty circuits, making the 250 SWB a great racer and a vice free sports car when cornering hard.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB BerlinettaThree distinct SWB models were produced. The first SWB produced at 54 units was the 1959-62 “Competition” SWB which had a more aggressively tuned engine fitted with an all alloy body for better performance.Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta

The second SWB produced at 90 units was the 1961-62 street version called “Lusso” for “Luxury” and was made in steel (not to be confused with the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTL Berlinetta Lusso).

And at last, the third SWB produced at 21 units cames in 1961 and was an even more potent competition version called the SEFAC Hot Rod, or Comp/61.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB BerlinettaPinin Farina’s masterpiece design for the 250 SWB had round exposed headlights with two delicate and thin split front bumpers. The beautifully curvaceous front fenders were separated by a recessed air-scoop on the hood.Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta The front and rear side fenders also had a slanted air vent (not seen on early cars) to dissipate hot air from the all around disc brakes. The first 250 SWBs produced had no side window vents but this would change quickly making the 250 SWB profile even more pleasant to the onlooker. And unlike the last seven of the 250 TDF (6th Series or Interims) resembling what would become the SWB, the 250 SWB didn’t have the awkward three quarter rear side window found on these last TDFs. The rear still had the same fastback treatment with an air vent located at the top of the rear window to cool the occupants. The rounded rear fenders were bulged and enveloped the rear-end in a compact manner. At the back, two pair of vertically mounted round taillights with an enveloping one piece bumper and the traditional four exhaust pipes all accentuated by a set of Borrani wire wheels finished this Italian diva.Ferrari 250 GT SWB BerlinettaFerrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta

The interior had the usual three branch wooden Nardi steering wheel. The Veglia dials were mounted on a black crackled anti-reflective dashboard, for the Competition models, and deep bucket seats were also fitted for these models. The Street going versions had leather padding on top of its body color-coded metal dashboard with its 2 pods fitted on the 2 main dials. The center dashboard was adorned by 5 horizontal smaller dials like on the 250 Califonia Spyder, while a flip chrome ashtray on the transmission tunnel made it more casual. Later on a single sun-visor lip on the 2 main dials was fitted, while the oil dial in the array of the small 5 center dials came rejoin the 2 main dials.

The engine block was the same for all SWB. It was the single-cam, 3 liter (180 cu in) V12 Colombo unit producing anywhere from 240 to 260 hp at 7000 rpm on the “Lusso SWB” depending on the specifications ordered. It was mated to a four speed all synchronized transmission and depending on the specifications, it hustled the Berlinetta to 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds. The top speed varied on the gear ratios, but 152 mph (245 km/h) is on the mark. Again the 250 nomenclature is in reference to the capacity of each single cylinder in cubic centimeters, thus 250 cc.Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta

The 1959-62 Berlinetta SWB Competizion developed a more impressive 280 hp at 7000 rpm and can be recognized by its bumpers delete treatment.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB BerlinettaIn 1960 the gas filler cap went from the top left side of the trunk to the rear left fender, but aside from these little evolutions the SWB was a well rounded sports car from the get go because it came from the well proven TDF program. So much so in fact that the 250 SWB won all types of racing events from Hill Climbing, to Mille Miglia, Tour de France, Le Mans… and ultimately the GT Championship in 1961. You name it and the Short Wheelbase could not only win the race but you could drive it to the event, pick up a trophy, and drive it back home again. This made the 250 GT SWB the best all rounder, dual-purpose sports car ever produced in that era.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB BerlinettaIn 1961 a hotter version of the Competition car was introduced with the 250 SWB Competizion 61, or SEFAC Hot Rod. This even lighter Berlinetta weighed 2205 lbs (1000 kg) and benefited from the Testa Rossa six Weber carburetors setup, cams, and pistons to produce up to 295 hp at 7000 rpm, which would also be fitted on the 250 GTO the next year. This helped this ultimate SWB to rush to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, while the top speed could reach up to 162 mph (260 km/h).

A little batch of spectacular one-offs were produced by PininFarina ("PininFarina" in one word from 1960) and Bertone with its 1960 Prototype EW, and 1962 compact “split-nostril” provided Tiffossis with another masterpiece to drool over. Production ended in 1962 after 167 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWBs were built, putting Ferrari’s name onto a pedestal, and leaving us with the purest and most harmonious Italian sports car lines of all time.


Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Specifications
Model/Year Ferrari 250 GT Berllnetta SWB Competizione / 1959-62 Ferrari 250 GT Berllnetta SWB
Lusso / 1960-62
Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB Comp 61 "SEFAC Hot Rod" / 1961
Designer Pinin Farina    
Engine Type All alloy V12 @ 60˚, SOHC. 2V    
Capacity 2953 cc / 180 cu in    
Fuel Feed 6 Weber 38 DCN carb. 3 Weber 36 DCL carb. 6 Weber 46 DCF/3 carb.
Power 280 hp @ 7000 rpm 240 hp @ 7000 rpm 285/295 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque   203 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm 230 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Transmission 4 speed - RWD    
Top Speed 162 mph - 260 km/h   166 mph - 265 km/h
"0-60" mph
0-100 km/h
5.5 sec 6.5 sec 5 sec
Chassis Oval Steel Tubular    
Weelbase 2400 mm / 94.5 in    
Front Suspension 2 Wishbones, Coil Springs, Tube Shocks. Anti-roll Bar    
Rear Suspension Live Axle - Semi-elliptic Leave Springs    
Brakes Disc all around    
Front Tires 185 x 15 in    
Rear Tires 185 x 15 in    
Steering ZF Worm & Wheel    
Weight 2315 lb / 1050 kg - Alloy Body 2866 lb / 1300 kg - Steel Body 2205 lb / 1000 kg - Alloy Body
Country of Origin Italy    
Production Num. 54 (165 Total) 90 (165 Total) 21 (165 Total)
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Lusso - Very elegant & aerodynamic turning signal.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Lusso - Gas filler cap fitted on the
rear fender with chrome accent trims on the front & rear brake
air-vents adorned this last year SWB Berlinetta (1962).
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Lusso - Incredible curve on this shoulder line.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Lusso - Recessed entry air-scoop
with chrome trimming like in the 250 California SWB.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Lusso - Front engine bay with its 3 liter
(180 cu in) Colombo V12 fed by 3 Weber carburetors.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta SEFAC Hot-rod - Always ready to leap foward.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta SEFAC Hot-rod - Great voluptuous rear-end.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta SEFAC Hot-rod - Anti-reflective
dashboard treatment for the more race focused SWBs.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta SEFAC Hot-rod - Beautiful top view of this mythic racer.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta SEFAC Hot-rod - Perfect proportions for this quintessential 60's Italian Sports Car.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta - Nice round aerodynamic rear-end.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta - Cozy interior with side
window vents and roof air-vent to help keep the cockpit fresh.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta - Borrani wire wheels, side air-vent and extended exhaust pipes.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta - First SWB models had their fuel filler cap by the trunk lid.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta - Torpedo exhaust pipe tips as found later on the 250 GTOs.