By Vern Parker
There weren't many Ferrari automobiles on the streets of Knoxville, Tennessee a half century ago for young Stewart Bartley to admire. However, he accompanied his father to many car shows to see the latest cars on display.
In 1966 an action movie was shown in a Knoxville theater. The pre-teenage Bartley went to see “Grand Prix”, the film starring James Garner, Eva Marie Saint and Yves Montand. The movie had many scenes of racing and race cars and that is when Bartley says he became infatuated with the Ferrari brand.
Decades passed and by 2006 Bartley had moved to Virginia. That is where he saw an advertisement offering a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE for sale. The description of the car in the ad sounded good and the pictures looked good. Unfortunately, the Ferrari was in Paris, not Texas, but France.
Nevertheless, with assistance from friends, Bartley pursued his four passenger Ferrari dream car. The deal for the Ferrari was finally completed in late September in 2006. It was shipped to the port of Baltimore. After it was unloaded in mid-December, the sleek car was taken to a Ferrari dealership where, unfortunately, the three-liter V-12 engine required rebuilding. “The condition of the engine was disappointing,” Bartley says.
One thing led to another and since the engine was out of the car the four-speed manual transmission with electric overdrive in third and fourth gears was overhauled.
All of the chrome trim pieces including the wraparound bumpers were replated.
It was determined that the trim would look better if the car had a fresh coat of midnight blue paint along with 15-inch wire wheels.
Bartley's wife, Christina, selected the burgundy color for the leather upholstery. It wasn't planed but the Ferrari essentially underwent a complete rotisserie restoration, Bartley says.
The restoration of the 15.5-foot-long Ferrari was declared complete in February 2012, about 5-and-a-half years after it was purchased sight unseen, a testament to Bartley's perseverance.
He found the nimble Ferrari on its' 102-inch wheelbase can be turned around in a 40-foot, one-inch circle.
Now that Bartley has his like new Ferrari at his Alexandria home he has had the opportunity to inspect it closely, something he never had the chance to do before.
Under the hood are three Weber carburetors that feed fuel to the engine from the 23.8-gallon gasoline tank. The crankcase has a capacity of 10.6-quarts of oil. The owner's manual explains that oil consumption at the rate of one quart every 500 to 750 miles in considered normal for the 2,890-pound 2+2 Ferrari. Fuel economy of 13 to 16 mpg can be expected.
At the other end of the car is the compact trunk. The spare tire is stored horizontally under the floor.
Exhaust from the engine exits beneath the rear bumper through the dual pipes.
A defroster vent is positioned in the package shelf to keep the rear window clear. In warmer weather occupants in the comfortable interior car enjoy flow through ventilation complements of the pop out windows beside the rear seat passengers. Heat generated by the powerful engine is directed to the outside via the 13 vents perforating each front fender.
When this Ferrari was manufactured the use of tobacco products was commonplace which explains why the center leather console has two ashtrays, one for front seat occupants and the other for passengers in the rear.
While seated at the three-spoke steering wheel Bartley has a clear view of the 8,000 rpm tachometer and the 300 kilometer speedometer which translates to about 180 mph, a speed he says he is unlikely to achieve.
Regardless, Bartley is pleased with the functionality of his handsome Ferrari. For him, the car is the fruition of a dream that began in Knoxville many years ago.