The one and only Ferrari 250 GTE used by Rome’s Police from 1963 to 1968, at auction.
Girardo & Co., the auction house presenting the world’s most significant sports and racing cars available on the market, announced that the legendary 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 Series II Polizia, chassis #3999, is now on sale for an undisclosed sum from their Milan showroom.
The idea of using a Ferrari as a police car in the early 1960s came from one of Italy’s most revered and successful Police officers, Armando Spatafora. At that time a vast number of crimes in Rome were committed using getaway cars, with car chases a common occurrence. Criminals would often escape the traditional Alfa Romeo 1900 and 2600 commonly used by the Police, which were known as Pantera for their engine roar and black paintwork.
Spatafora’s request for a suitable vehicle for high-speed pursuits, specifically a Ferrari, was accepted. Just four officers from Roma were chosen to attend a specialised driving course at the home of Ferrari, Maranello. After gelling with the 250 GTE on track and delivering excellent lap times, Spatafora was then presented with his new car – the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 Series II, chassis number 3999.
Completed by Ferrari in November 1962, chassis 3999 was finished in black with a resilient tan leatherette interior. A copy of the original Ferrari build sheets accompanies #3999, noting the car was sent to Pininfarina to be fitted with its elegant bodywork at the end of August 1962, before returning to Maranello in November. These build sheets also note #3999 as being a ‘vett. Polizia’, or Police car, in English. Ferrari built only two of these 250 GTE Polizia, however the sister car of #3999 quickly met an unfortunate end and after only a few weeks was destroyed in service, leaving this car to become the heart and soul of Polizia for the next 6 years and reaching legend status among servicemen, the public and criminals alike. The combination of Armando Spatafora and this Ferrari on night patrol became so legendary that beating him in a car chase became a matter of pride in Rome’s criminal underworld.
#3999 was retired from active service in late 1968, but not before it was used for emergency blood deliveries to Naples where it was rumoured to tackle the 200 kilometre stretch of motorway in just 50 minutes. Despite this incredible life the car was in remarkable condition and remained that way through to 1972 when it was sold via a public auction of army surplus.
Thankfully the Italian buyer, Alberto Cappelli, knew exactly what he was buying and rather than restoring the car, he spent the next 40 years preserving its incredible originality. Cappelli and his two sons enjoyed displaying the car in endless events as well as driving it in tours all over Italy and Europe. In 1984 the car was reunited with Armando Spatafora at the Coppa delle Dolomiti race, where to everyone’s surprise, the retired Policeman managed to secure the second-fastest time overall.
As a result of its legendary status in Italy, this car was requested on loan for the newly born Museum of Police Vehicles in Rome in the early 2000s. It was the then, General Chief of Polizia himself that drove all the way to Rimini, and using the cars original radio, communicated with the Polizia Head Quarters. Since then, #3999 is the only private car in Italy with special permission to circulate with siren, blue light and “Squadra Volante” livery. In 2015 this Ferrari passed to another enthusiastic and knowledgeable Italian owner, who took great pride in sharing this 250 GTE with the crowds at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2016. Back in Europe, more event invitations were received, with this car maintaining its legendary status as the ultimate Pantera.
Accompanying #3999 today is a comprehensive history file containing copies of the original Ferrari build sheets and period Polizia documentation. Copies of the Italian libretto along with the FIVA Identity card and ASI certificate of homologation are also included. Images of Armando Spatafora and this 250 GTE Polizia from the early 1960s give an amazing insight into the life this car once led. Importantly, this car was inspected by Ferrari Classiche, and awarded its Certificate in 2014. The Ferrari Classiche Certification red binder confirms this car retains its original Ferrari chassis, engine, gearbox and rear axle, and is an entirely matching numbers example.