Bread Van: The Story of a One-Off Ferrari Icon

Share With Friends:

By Ben Selby

When most think of a vehicle with the name “Bread Van” naturally the image of, well, a van filled with bread, pastries, cakes and other goodies from a local bakery spring to mind. Mention Bread Van to a Ferrari fan and they will think of only one vehicle. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB, chassis number 2819GT.

With its shark nose, flat roofline and that squared off rear, this one-off Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheelbase was given the nickname “Bread Van” by the European Press. It saw action at Le Mans and Brands Hatch as part of the 1962 Sports Car World Championship and is up there today with its 250 GTO counterpart as one of the most valuable Ferraris of all time.

The Bread Van’s story can be traced back to the dawn of the 1960s and the famous walkout of numerous Ferrari employees. What became known as the “palace revolt” many of Enzo Ferrari’s top engineers and designers walked out after being dissatisfied with Il Commendatore’s sometimes brutal management style and continued interference in Scuderia Ferrari from Enzo’s wife Laura Garello.

As a result, team manager Romolo Tavoni, engineer Carlo Chiti and designer of what would be the all-conquering 250 GTO, Giotto Bizzarrini, all left Ferrari and joined Count Giovanni Volpe’s Scuderia Serenissima privateer racing team. The story goes that when old Enzo got wind of this, the team’s order for a new 250 GTO was promptly cancelled. As a result, the team had to look elsewhere for a competitive car

Fortunately, they were able to get hold of a development 250 GT SWB and Bizzarrini set to work converting to GTO specification. The 3.0L V12 was set lower to improve the centre of gravity and they threw in dry sump lubrication. The plan was to take chassis number 2819GT to Le Mans in 1962, so they car would have to be fairly aerodynamic to achieve those high speeds down the old Mulsanne Straight. Piero Drogo penned the lines and 2819GT was ready to contest the Le Mans.

Sadly, four hours into the race, the Bread Van retired allowing the factory 250 GTOs to emerge victorious in their class. However, the one-off Ferrari achieved a class win at Brands Hatch the same year, but that was the extent of its motorsport victories as the car was withdrawn and used for regular road use. Bizzarrini went to design the first Lamborghini V12 and Carlo Chiti would become head of Alfa Romeo’s racing department.

As for the Bread Van, it started a new life competing in historic racing events throughout the later half of the 20th century. In 2010, the car was refurbished and given a certificate of authenticity by Ferrari Classiche. It has been a familiar site at events like the Goodwood Revival and e Mans Classic in recent years.

Sadly the Bread Van was involved in crash while negotiating a chicane on the Mulsanne Straight while contesting the 2022 Le Mans Classic. Driver, 31-year-old Lukas Halusa emerged unscathed but the Bread Van sustained heavy impact damage.

With a repair bill likely to be in the millions, this estimated $30 million-dollar one-off Ferrari will likely be out of action for some time. Let’s hope we get to see this icon turning a wheel in anger soon.

Leave a Reply