top of page

Original, Conversion, Rebody or Replica

Jim Weed

Volume 48 Issue 3

Feb 5, 2023

When is a Ferrari not a Ferrari? If it has been transformed into something different what should it be called?

    I ran across an article the other day and it addressed a problem we run into while logging information into the database.

    When is a 250 GTE not a 250 GTE? Answer: When it becomes something different. Or does it?

    One of my standard jokes is Ferrari built thirty-six 250 GTOs and today there are only seventy-five left.

    Why? Because many original chassis have been converted into another form.

    250 GTEs and 330 GT 2+2s were so far at the bottom of value that as they deteriorated it was not tenable to spend the time or money necessary to properly restore them back to their original form.

    A GTO lookalike would be more valuable and a lot easier to sell. But what do you call it? Rebody, recreation, conversion, replica?

    There are also Ferraris that have been redone into other forms by known bodybuilders. 330 GT S/N 7979 GT was changed by Drogo as a style exercise and is now known as the “Golden Car”.

    Vignale also used a 330 GT chassis, S/N 7963 GT, to create a shooting brake (station wagon) based upon a Chinetti design.

    Are these cars still 330 GT 2+2s? I would affirm they are since they are still using all of their original components. Only the sheet metal was changed. So is this considered a rebody?

    Can the same be said for the aforementioned 250 GTE that now looks like a GTO? The frame had to be shortened and the transmission now has five speeds. The engine has been modified with six carburetors and horsepower has been increased.

    Does this car still embody the 250 GTE or has it been transformed into something completely different? Is it possible to call this machine a rebody? Or is it a conversion?

    Koenig and Straman did conversions. I think it is easy to see when a company takes an existing car and ‘enhances’ the bodywork this would be considered a conversion of the original. A Koenig Testarossa is still a Testarossa underneath. The same can be said about a Straman NART Spyder or 400i convertible.

    Attempting to categorize these conversions, rebodies, recreations, or what-have-you into a resemblance of consistency usually brings up an internal discussion that usually ends with “what would Gerald call it?” Even when we get to that point in conversation, we find Gerald was not consistent with his identifications.

    I bring a few terms to the table and invite you to give me your interpretation.

    ORIGINAL: A vehicle is only original once. If it left the factory and has remained in unused condition with NOTHING changed it is original.

    Our normal interpretation of original is as long as it is in the same configuration as it left the factory.

    CONVERSION: An original vehicle that has had a change made but still is in the spirit of the original car. A change to a convertible top or engine change of another manufacturer would be called a conversion.

    REBODY: A vehicle which for all intents and purposes is original under the skin but has had major body replacement. This definition can be used under different circumstances.

    One, if the body was replaced completely but is in the same configuration as the original. Racing cars often fall under this condition.

    Two, the basic car has not been changed but the body is in a completely new direction. Turning a PF Coupe into a Spyder California would be such a case.

    Now we get into the murky area. What is the difference between a replica and a re-creation?

    Is a GTO made from a GTE a replica or a re-creation? Or does it qualify as a rebody in the above example?

    My trusty dictionary defines replica as an exact reproduction and re-creation as making something created anew.

    Based on those examples any Ferrari that existed and then was turned into something else must be a replica.

    A re-creation would not have started as a vehicle. It could have some original parts but did not originate as an original car.

    So my definition of a Ferrari that has been converted with a rebody and modified to emulate some other original car must be a replica. An original Ferrari that becomes a different, usually more desirable Ferrari, must be called a replica.

    The original article delved into nine separate categories but I thought I would pare it down to four.

    I would love to get your thoughts and opinions on this subject. I’m sure there are views I hadn’t even considered.

    What do you say?

bottom of page