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The Lost Ellena: 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe

“Missing and presumed lost” is one of the more captivating phrases in the car hobby. Actually, you can apply that phrase to anything that is discovered after being missing for decades – a vintage aircraft, artwork, jewelry – the list goes on. And the irony is that many of those items may still be in perfectly fine condition, right under our noses, just not readily visible. That’s certainly the case with this 1958 Ferrari 250 GT coupe listed here on the Gooding & Co. website, otherwise known as the missing Ellena. This one-of-50 model was discovered in the Chicago area and is now presented as an unrestored example.

The story behind the Ellena designation goes like this: Ferrari unveils the gorgeous 250 GT to the public and creates a firestorm of interest. The demand for the car soon outpaces production capacity, and Ferrari enlists the help of a subcontractor, Mario Boano’s carrozzeria, who manages to build about 88 bodies for Ferrari before he dropped the project for a more attractive offer from Fiat. Well, technically, he handed the manufacturing work off to his son-in-law, Ezio Ellena, who provided a 50 bodies to Ferrari, with most examples featuring his own spin on the model that would come to be designated as a 250 GT Ellena.

The Ellena has a higher roof life, as typically demanded by the American market where drivers in need of more headroom tended to reside. This simple change, along with some other minor details, led to the creation of one of the more obscure Ferraris ever made. It also explains why it’s possible that, for many years, it was believed that the car was lost: with less than 50 cars sporting the higher rooflife, it wouldn’t exactly be hard to keep a running list of which ones were still in existence. The Ferrari as shown here is still in remarkably good condition for an unrestored car, and seems like the sort of car you wouldn’t want to over-restore.

This Ellena has an intriguing history, as it was imported through NY before making its way to the Midwest. It was eventually acquired by a dealer who was active in various racing circles; for reasons unknown, the identity of this Ellena was swapped with another car, with the dealer owner going so far as to “…scrubbing the serial numbers” off of the engine pads. The Ellena was sold to a privateer who disassembled the V12 engine after running into mechanical trouble; he quickly became overwhelmed and the car sat, parked, with its engine in pieces for decades until it was discovered. The engine was re-assembled but still needs a full mechanical reconditioning. If you’ve been hunting for an Ellena, this may be your only chance to own one for the foreseeable future.

*Photo Copyright of Juan Martinez.

Comments

  1. Rallye Member

    I’m not used to seeing F cars with this much ground clearance.

    Like 0
  2. Scott MARQUIS

    Yes, I would marry this car.

    Like 5
  3. Howie

    Sweet!! Even though the estimate is under 1 million, you can count me out, way out!! It might go above that?

    Like 3
  4. justpaul

    Now that’s an opportunity, if you have Ralph Lauren’s money. I’ll bet it goes well past $1 Million before the hammer drops.

    Like 4
  5. Fox owner

    This car is so perfect it breaks my heart. Did I read that registration sticker right? For cars under 35 HP?

    Like 0
  6. Araknid78

    Very nice

    Like 0
  7. jwaltb

    I wasn’t hunting for one, because I’ve never heard of one before. Very pretty.
    Brings to mind the old adage, “The only substitute for cubic inches is cubic money.”
    This will take a boatload of that!

    Like 3
  8. Scott Member

    Even with the “higher” roofline it still looks really balanced. Pretty car. Does “scrubbed” mean stolen at some point?

    Like 0
  9. MG Steve

    I’m sorry. Remove the roofline, and the side view looks almost like a Sunbeam Alpine.

    Like 1
  10. Dan

    The side profile (without the top) does remind me of an Alpine/Tiger. Styling is timeless and I’m surprised these aren’t north of $1M. This seems like a bargain compared to a 300SL roadster and these will appreciate better than my 401K.

    Like 0
  11. Oldtrips

    It’s would be interesting to get more on the back story of where it has been hiding.all these years. Being that it was found in a suburb of Chicago, it may have done some track time at Road America early on

    Like 0
  12. King Creole

    Is there such a thing as a homely Ferrari? I think there is.

    Like 1

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