'Breadvan — A Ferrari to beat the GTO' book review

Hot off the press and sure to sell like hot cakes, or bread. This book showcases the legendary Ferrari ‘Breadvan’ and the fight against its creator

Ferrari 250 GTO breadvan at Le Mans in 1962

The Breadvan, at Le Mans in 1962. This event wouldn’t go well after a broken gearbox, but many others would...

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With its aggressive nose the Breadvan Ferrari is usually seen as a quasi- GTO, but as author Richard Heseltine explains in this book, it started life as a plain 250GT but was upgraded specifically in order to beat those ‘ordinary’ GTOs.

As a new machine it was originally supplied to Belgian grand prix and sports car driver Olivier Gendebien, but as early as 1962 it was transformed, losing weight and gaining its unique estate-car shape and pointed nose thanks to Count Volpi and his Scuderia Serenissima.

The crucial backstory, as Richard explains, is that Volpi was involved with the abortive 1961 ATS effort which stole away key figures from Ferrari, so Enzo refused to sell him the two GTOs he wanted. The irony is that although a GTO is still seen as the acme of automotive desire, the Breadvan is now regarded as an honorary GTO, and is the most recognisable of them all.


Lift up those trumpets… mechanic at work on the Breadvan’s V12

Hundreds of photos show the car in all its events and differing guises (various biffs and bangs have seen the nose alter notably), new research confirms some missing details of its life, and Heseltine also clarifies who actually built the new body – it is usually attributed to Drogo, who had earlier rebodied Serenissima’s previous Testa Rossa, but was apparently actually built by nearby Neri & Bonacini.

He also outlines the history of the Scuderia Serenissima and the cars and engine it later went on to build, and fills in the years between the Breadvan’s decline and its reappearance as one heck of a road car and in historic racing. A good read about a unique machine which may have been intended to cock a snook at the Modena maker, but has now come into its own.

Ferrari breadvan bookBreadvan –A Ferrari to Beat the GTO

Richard Heseltine


ISBN 9781907085369