Prince Alessandro “Dado” Ruspoli of Rome, Italy, was the first to own the 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolet being offered at Gooding & Company, and it’s clear that the car was meant for royalty. The Cabriolet is a rare specimen, first and foremost. Constructed by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina, the car was only made between 1957 and 1959. That three year period only saw 40 of the special series being made.
Farina built the cars in his own custom shop in Torino, using Ferrari’s 250 GT chassis. Each of the cars in the series is slightly different from the rest, yet they all have defining characteristics, such as the razor-edge taillights, a raked windscreen, and pronounced rear haunches. Farina trimmed out the interiors in Connolly leather. The control panel was console-mounted, and the dashboard was filled with Veglia gauges and warning lights. All that work came with a price. New, the Cabriolet sold for USD$14,950—approximately $135,000 today.
The Cabriolet owned by Prince Ruspoli was the 13th made. It was finished with a metallic grey paint and black leather upholstery. It also came with covered headlights, front bumperettes, and chromed side air vents on the front fenders—options that, according to Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, were only added to just four of the four Series 1 Cabriolets. Such a unique car was befitting for its first owner.
Prince Ruspoli was known as, according to one journalist’s description, “a hedonist of epic proportions, with an ego as large as his sphere of social influence.” Ruspoli’s life was so extravagant that he served as the inspiration for the main character of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.
The Cabriolet has been painstakingly restored and remains as a matching numbers example. Given its providence, and royal heritage, it’s no wonder this car is expected to go for between USD$7 to $8 million.