When Ferrari’s first 250 GT Berlinetta left the factory gates in March 1956, one can only assume that the engineers that had built and designed the car had no idea of the impact the factory’s newest berlinettas would have on the future of Ferrari’s most sporting line of road cars. The first iteration of the 250 GT Berlinetta would achieve great success on race tracks across Europe, and it would lead to even more successful cars that would be derived from the same platform in the future. These berlinettas were undoubtedly the most desirable cars in the Scuderia’s stable, as they were built as dual-purpose sports cars. They combined all the luxury and performance Ferrari had to offer but in a driver-friendly package. There was nothing that these cars could not do in the eyes of their drivers.
The 250 GT Berlinetta’s nickname owes itself to Alfonso de Portago, his co-driver Edmont Nelson, and their win at the 1956 Tour de France, which was the first for Ferrari’s 250 GT Berlinetta. Following de Portago’s result in 1956, Olivier Gendenbien led Ferrari to overall victories for the next three years, cementing the car’s nickname into the annals of automotive history with a compelling show of engineering and competitive dominance. The TdF also picked up an overall victory at the Targa Florio in 1957 and won the GT class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959.
The 1957 Tour de France would prove even more successful for 0563 GT than its first outing at the same event. Peron and his co-driver Georged Burggraff finished 5th overall behind a trio of TdFs: the Ecurie Francorchamps entry driven by Gendenbien and Bianchi, the Scuderia Ferrari entry driven by Maurice Trintignant and François Picard, and the 3rd place team of Garage Montchoisy, which was driven by Jean Lucas and Jean-François Malle. It is important to note that 0563 GT was just one place behind the legendary Stirling Moss in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, which was an incredible achievement in itself! The Coupe du Salon at Montlhéry was followed by Peron’s last event of the year, the Armagnac Rallye, in which he finished 3rd.