Who would take a perfectly good Ferrari 550 Maranello – assuming such a thing exists – and turn it into a recreation of a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Short Wheelbase? RML Group, an engineering outfit out of Northamptonshire, England. CEO Michael Mallock explains the 250 SWB wanna-be’s genesis.
We started as a race team and have transitioned into an engineering company working for OEMs— very little of which we can talk about. Without the high-profile motorsport presence we once had, and being as much of our work is invisible to the public and manufacturers we aren’t working with, we needed a project that showed the full scope of our capabilities.Road and Track
That’s the “why build it?” bit done. Oh wait. I almost forgot. Money.
RML’s selling their 250 SWB pavement-pounding pastiche for $1.6m. The company says they’re going to “limit production” to 30 cars. So, in theory, Mr. Mallock’s PR project would add $48m to his company’s bottom line.
Why would anyone want a nearasdammit faux 1959 250 GT Berlinetta Short Wheelbase? The obvious answer: they have a hard-on for the original car but can’t afford it.
As classic.com‘s chart revels, 250 GT SWB’s have been selling north of $8m since July 2019. Check out the little dot hovering above the $8.5m mark. That represents Gooding & Company’s good fortune.
The UK auctioneer sold a Ferrari Classiche and Lanzante-restored, Marcel Massini-documented 1960 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione (below), One of only 67 made, it hammered for £7,762,500 ($8,934,636).
A properly documented Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Short Wheelbases – one of the 176 built – will continue to appreciate. The $1.6m RML will depreciate like a new Maserati. I figure an enthusiast rich enough to afford RML’s fake Ferrari is smart enough to realize that buying one’s a excellent way to lose money.
By the same token, an aspiring SWB owner at the $1.6m level could probably find a way to finance the additional six million needed to buy the real thing. A loan against the asset? Fractional ownership? (Contact me for details!) Money laundering? Something.
If the real deal is a Bridgestone too far, there are cheaper 250 GT SWB recreations. The repro GT SWB above is yours for $734,775. Click here for another, even-less-documented example, on sale for $859,687.
O.K. Enough about comparative value-for-money. RML is a seriously capable company. Who’s to say that their 250 SWB 2.0 isn’t better than Ferrari’s original (other than any purist walking the planet). According to RML, their homage is “the perfect driver’s car.”
The RML Short Wheelbase is packaged for the 21st century. With ample leg and headroom even for 2m tall occupants, the fabulous interior features a high level of comfort and discreet modernity.
You’ll be delighted to discover a hidden Satnav system which deploys on demand, brilliantly effective air-conditioning and a superb hifi.
Likewise there’s the simple convenience of cupholders and sophistication of smartphone connectivity, including Apple CarPlay.rmlgroup.com
So you get all of the drop-dead gorgeous exterior glamor of a late ’50’s/swinging ’60’s Ferrari 250 SWB and all the mod cons of a roaring 20’s Tesla. Well, not all of them. Actually, I could easily imagine this car as an EV – in for a penny, in for a pound as the Brits would say.
RML wanted to make their not-a-Ferrari something of a Ferrari. To that end, RML bases their car on the aforementioned 550 Maranello. They’re powering their cod 250 SWB with the M car’s 485bhp V12.
Well duh. The original 250 SWB was motivated by twelve cylinders. But what have they wrought?
In the video above, you’ll notice that there’s no sound until 3:31. I wonder if that’s intentional.
Given RML’s racing pedigree, you’d hope their 250 SWB would handle like the hard-charging period race car it was designed to emulate. Reading between the lines of Motor Trend‘s gushing first drive, maybe?
The steering is perhaps a shade too light, but it pulsates gently with feedback. The structure feels stiff and modern, yet the suspension’s fluidity is something different. Not classic, exactly, but certainly more focused on feedback and weight transfer and a sort of natural athleticism than any modern GT or sports car or, indeed, a Ferrari 550 Maranello fitted with the Fiorano handling pack.motortrend.com
Let’s face it: old Ferraris handle like crap compared to any modern car. Or you could say they handle like they handle and that’s the excitement and fun of it.
What I’m left with: the RML 1959 250 GT Berlinetta Short Wheelbase re-imagining is a car that non-Ferraristi will admire and adore and the true believers will decry.
Something else that needs mentioning: GTO Engineering’s 250 SWB Revival – a 90 percent reworking of the “common” Ferrari GT 250 (sometimes called a 330).
Crucially, GTO Engineering retains the original engine, double-barrel Weber carburetors and all. The interior – including the dials and steering wheel – is also as it was. You can re-jig GTO Engineering’s something-of-a-250-SWB’s suspension, gearbox and engine, you can set it up as a fake Competizione (as above), or leave it be.
Highline Autos of Manhattan is offering a completed U.S. legal car – probably the same one in the video – for $1.49m. It’s cheaper and more authentic than RML’s car. And it’s available today. Either way, the question remains: would you buy a fake 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Short Wheelbase for $1.6m?