For many, the adaptation that the bodybuilder Niels Van Roij has carried out based on a Ferrari 550 Maranello may just be a beautiful extravaganza. But no, don’t see it that way because there is a lot of respect in it for a chapter in the history of motor racing that the Ferraristas will not be able (nor will they want) to forget. We summarize that chapter, in case it doesn’t sound like you.
In 1962 Ferrari had produced its lethal weapon, a Ferrari 250 GTO that condemned to a secondary role all those who since then competed with the predecessor model, the 250 GT SWB. Count Giovanni Volpi asked one for the team he owned. With the 250 GTO his team, the Serenissima Scuderia de Venezia, would manage to be at the top of the podium.
But it turned out that Enzo Ferrari did not want to sell any of the 36 units that were built. Pissed off, the count handed over his own 250 GT SWB (chassis number 2819GT) to engineer Giotto Bizzarrini and told him to tailor it to be as competitive as a 250 GTO
Bizzarrini, who had worked on the development of the GTO, slowed down the engine and lowered it to improve the car’s center of gravity, replaced the three Weber carburetors with six twin carburetors from the same brand, and managed to raise the horsepower from 280 to the 286 CV (a GTO delivered 300 CV).
As for the line, designer Piero Drogo made the new ultralight bodywork have an even better drag coefficient than the GTO, albeit, at the cost of a highly controversial appearance. As a result, the car weighed 935 kg, when the 250 GTO was right at 1,000 kg.
All this made the Breadvan, as it was nicknamed baker’s van, due to its strange appearance in a car that on many occasions was faster than the 250 GTO, although it mounted a four-speed gearbox compared to the five of the latte.
Knowing this story, it will now seem less strange to you that some millionaire (it is not known who) has decided to give Niels Van Roij his 550 Maranello for a modern interpretation of the Breadvan. And what it has done is truly spectacular both for the design itself and the way it reminds of the original model.
As Van Roij puts it, The key was not to make a copy of the car from the 60s but to honor it in a modern way. The original Breadvan is not an attractive car, but that is because it was designed to be purely functional in a very short period of time
The people who worked on it simply made holes where it was necessary to achieve the desired result. We had the luxury of being able to approach things from a design and style point of view, for what we were able to sculpt instead of a butcher.
Except for the windshield, practically everything has been modified in this car, especially a rear part that was first cut out, later modeled with clay to study the possible shapes, and finally made of aluminum.
Bodybuilder Vas Van Roomen has been in charge of shaping the sheet in the old way, using mainly a hammer and an English wheel. Of course, the new creation should not have a rear bumper, but a small casement window through which its owner will not remove the loaves of bread, but perhaps the golf bag.
The vents which resemble those of the original model have also undergone strategic changes, the windows have become sliding, the soundproofing elements have been eliminated, cord door handles have been installed, the carbon seats have been upholstered in the blue color that racing seats once wore and the exhaust has been modified.
The customer did not want any modifications to the engine or performance, but with the new exhaust it now feels more raw and exciting to drive, says Van Roij.
The designer says nothing about what this unit can cost, although taking into account the project, in which various experts have been working continuously for two years, we doubt that it will fall below one and a half million euros. Overall, nothing compared to the more than 30 you could ask for the original Breadvan.