One-off $44.5 million Ferrari crashes at Le Mans Classic

one-off-$44.5-million-ferrari-crashes-at-le-mans-classic

The $US30 million one-off Ferrari 250 GT SWB ‘Breadvan’ suffers second crash in seven years.


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Imagine driving a one-of-a-kind Ferrari valued at $US30 million ($AU44.5 million) around one of the world’s most famous racetracks. And then crashing it. Sounds terrifying, right?

Austrian driver Lukas Halusa doesn’t have to imagine, because that’s exactly what happened to the 31-year-old racer at the recent Le Mans Classic in France.

Halusa was behind the wheel of the unique 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB ‘Breadvan’ when he lost control and crashed heavily into the tyre barriers, causing untold damage to what is a genuine one-off Ferrari.



Along with obvious damage to the rear, the passenger door was ripped off, while the front quarter panel and bumper are also clearly damaged.

While the 31-year-old driver walked away uninjured, the same can’t be said for the $US30 million Ferrari which will now undergo extensive repairs to bring it back to showroom condition.

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The story of the ‘Breadvan’ is steeped in a feud between Enzo Ferrari and an Italian aristocrat, Count Giovanni Volpi.



Volpi, the owner of a privateer race team, approached Enzo Ferrari wanting to buy one of the Prancing Horse’s latest 250 GTO race cars. But, because Volpi had poached some of Ferrari’s staff for his own Scuderia Serenissima race team, Enzo refused to sell a car to the Count.

Undeterred, Volpi hired renowned engineer Giotto Bizzarrini and designer Piero Drogo and set about upgrading an existing Ferrari 250 GT SWB to compete against the factory Ferraris at Le Mans.

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A donor car – Ferrari 250 GT, chassis number 2819 – was sourced from Belgian racer Olivier Gendebien, who had previously finished second in the 1961 Tour de France.



Bizzarrini and Drogo went to work, lowering and – crucially – extending the 250 GT’s roofline to create its now iconic ‘Kammback’ rear end.

When it rolled out at Le Mans in 1962, the French bestowed it with the nickname La Camionnette (the little truck). But, it was the English-speaking press that gave it the name that has stuck for 60 years: Breadvan.

Bizzarrini and Drogo’s design proved a hit, not just for its unique style, but also in the race where the Breadvan proved faster than the factory Ferrari 250 GTOs, running in seventh place overall (and ahead of the Ferraris) when a driveshaft failure in the fourth hour ended its race.



The Breadvan contested a few more races in 1962, scoring several GT class victories before Count Volpi sold the Breadvan in 1965 for the princely sum of $US2800 ($AU4160). Its current value is estimated at around $US30 million.

While Halusa might be feeling a little sheepish following his Le Mans crash, he can take solace from the fact it wasn’t the first time the Breadvan has taken a hit.

At the 2015 Goodwood Revival, the race car crashed into an $11 million Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe – and while the scars weren’t as severe as this incident, it left the event with damage across its front bumper. 



Rob Margeit

Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the car industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while also writing in-depth feature articles on historically significant cars and auto manufacturers. He also loves discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.

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