THE first Ferrari ever to be sold in Britain is now in Somerset.

The historic Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Coupe was imported by Formula 1 world champion Mike Hawthorn in 1958, and has now been sold to Chris Haynes of the Haynes International Motor Museum at Sparkford.

Haynes plans to use the car, rather than it being a static exhibit.

Mike Wheeler of Rardley Motors, who sold the car, said: "This is the first ever Ferrari road car sold in the UK and as such is an important part of British and Italian automotive history.

"Its association with Mike Hawthorn also adds lustre to its huge interest, as he imported it in the same year that he won the Formula 1 world title.

"It has now found a most appropriate home with the Haynes International Motor Museum."

Somerset County Gazette:

SALE: Chris Haynes takes delivery of the Ferrari from Mike Wheeler of Rardley Motors

Hawthorn became Britain's first ever F1 world champion in 1958, after which he announced his retirement from racing.

He then signed a deal with Enzo Ferrari to sell Ferrari road cars in Britain, despite Ferrari refusing to sell him the car he had won the world championship in.

The first cars imported by Hawthorn's Tourist Trophy Garage in Farnham, Surrey, were two Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Coupes, with a sale price of £6,500 each - a fortune at the time.

One was white with a black interior (later repainted gold then black in the 1980s) and one metallic blue.

Below the Pinin Farina coachwork there is a 3-Litre V12 engine giving 240 BHP, an engine adaptable enough to use on the road or the track.

The top speed was listed at 127 to 157 mph, depending on the final drive gear ratio, with 0–60 mph time of 5.9 seconds - blistering performance for the 1950s and still very respectable today.

Somerset County Gazette:

SPECIMEN: The Ferrari on show

Hawthorn showed both cars at the London Motor Show of 1958, as two of only nine right-hand drive examples produced by Ferrari.

The white car sold quickly to Major Desmond Fitzgerald, a wealthy Irish landowner.

The second took much longer to sell, going eventually to Colonel Ronnie Hoare, who after Hawthorn’s death in a car crash in 1959, formed the Maranello Concessionaires Ltd, which then became the official Ferrari importers into the UK.