Ferrari 250 Series

Ferrari 250 series

1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France

Ferrari 250 series is a range that encompasses an impressive variety of body styles. Ferrari 250 series featured a variety of body styles. These variants were designed and created by Vignale, Pinin Farina, and Zagato design houses.

Ferrari 250 series models shared many common mechanical components and shared clear links between the models, but the chassis changed, wheelbases and trim levels also changed dramatically from one another.

Ferrari 250 GTO Colombo V12
Ferrari 250 GTO Colombo V12

The Ferrari 250 moniker was a reference to the 250-cc capacity of a single cylinder head, with the total engine capacity of 3000cc. Despite this, there were two different engines used to power the range.

Ferrari 250 cars are famous for their looks or for their success at racing events. Some variants are very rare and are highly desired among collectors.

Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia

1953 Ferrari 250 MM Mille Miglia
1953 Ferrari 250 MM Mille Miglia

In the early 1950s, the Ferrari was a small company. The primary focus of the company was to build thorough bread racing cars. Few road-legal examples were produced in limited numbers and sold to private customers to fund their racing efforts.    

1953 Ferrari 250 MM Mille Miglia
1953 Ferrari 250 MM Mille Miglia

Though small, Ferrari was already laying the foundation for complete racing domination with Formula One and Le Mans victories against much bigger companies with bigger racing budgets.

To comply with a variety of racing requirements, Ferrari had to develop two different engines.

Ferrari Type 166 MM and Ferrari 166 Inter

The original engine was developed by Gioacchino Colombo. This V12 engine featured a short block layout. The engine capacity was 1.5-liter. This engine was then enlarged to feature bigger engine capacities thus improving maximum power output. The original engine was known as the 125 since it had a 125cc engine capacity per cylinder head. The other variations were known as 159, 166, 212, and 225. 

The second engine was a larger capacity Aurelio Lampredi designed long block V12. These engines had more torque and were known for breaking transmission units due to their high torque output. The best-known example is the Ferrari 340 equipped with the 4.1-liter Lampredi engine.

 1952-Ferrari-342-America-PininFarina-Lampredi-V12

1952-Ferrari-342-America-PininFarina-Lampredi-V12

The most viable solution was to enlarge the Colombo V12 once more. This time, the V12 featured an increased engine capacity of 3-liters. The twin-choke cylinder head design was also changed to individual ports. All these changes resulted in better performance and thus received a new lease of life.

The 3.0-liter Colombo V12 was known as the 250 as it featured 250cc capacity per cylinder head.

Using this already proven Colombo V12 in the lighter chassis of the smaller car resulted in an extraordinary performance.

The very first Ferrari 250 was a coupe designed by Vignale and was called the Ferrari 250S. Ferrari 250S was used by Ferrari to compete in the 1952 Mille Miglia in the hands of Giovanni Bracco. Despite mechanical failures, he went on to win the event. This result was very important as it proved the competition worthiness of the Ferrari 250 series. To honor the capabilities of Giovanni Bracco, Ferrari decided to name all the subsequent variants of the Ferrari 250s as 250 Mille Miglia.

1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta
1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta

Only 32 Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia cars were ever produced. Some of these were Berlinetta and were built by Pinin-Farina and an additional two by the Vignale. Some of these were also finished as Spyders.

 The chassis was of oval tubing construction similar to the Ferraris of the day.

1952 Ferrari 250 MM Spyder
1952 Ferrari 250 MM Spyder
1953 Ferrari, 250 MM Vignale-bodied Spyder Series I
1953 Ferrari, 250 MM Vignale-bodied Spyder Series I

The front suspension featured a transverse leaf spring and Houdaille lever arm dampers. The rear suspension featured leaf springs and Houdaille lever arm dampers.

A new four-speed gearbox was developed to replace the aging five-speed transmission. 

Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia won many key racing events including the American racing events in the hands of Phil Hill.

Ferrari 250 Europa

1954 Ferrari 250 GT Europa Coupe
1954 Ferrari 250 GT Europa Coupe

Ferrari 250 Europa is considered as the true start of the 250 model-lineup. The main reason for this is because it was the beginning of the Gran Turismos or Grand Tourers. Grand Tourers were developed to provide fast cross-country touring capabilities.

Ferrari 250 Europa was equipped with the large Lampredi V12 engine.  Lampredi V12 engine had more torque and was a good engine in every possible way, but it wasn’t that suitable for road use when compared to the short block Colombo V12.

The reason behind choosing the Lampredi engine instead of the Colombo V12 was probably due to the Ferrari’s past attempts at a road car.

Ferrari Type 147 166 is the first real road-going Ferrari. It featured a tubular chassis and a 2.0-liter Colombo V12. It was expensive, troublesome to use, yet offered second to none performance for the ones with enough skills to drive it to the maximum. 

This Colombo V12 was then enlarged over the years to provide 2.3-liter V12 (195), and the 2.5-liter V12 (212).

Ferrari 250 Europa Pininfarina
Ferrari 250 Europa Pininfarina

The chassis provided by Ferrari were largely unchanged, but the wheelbases changed, with the two versions of the 212 developed for the local market and the export market. Export variants featured a shorter wheelbase. The bodies were supplied by several coachbuilders.  

When Ferrari began to develop the new road car to replace the 212, the 3.0-liter Colombo V12 was still in the experimental stage and was used to power the Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia cars to observe the performance.

Due to these reasons, Ferrari decided to use the much-proven Lampredi V12. Lampredi V12 was successfully implemented in the production of 4.1-liter 340 and 342 cars.

The Ferrari 250 Europa was designed by Michelotti and Vignale. Despite this, Pininfarina went on to dominate its production.

1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Pinin Farina
1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Pinin Farina

The chassis was still largely the same as before but now stretched to 2800mm for the local market and 2400mm for export.

The interior was finished in better materials and extra soundproofing was done to improve ride quality.

Stretched chassis and extra soundproofing resulted in significant weight gain and it is said that the Ferrari 250 Europa had a 20% weight increase over its previous road-going, siblings. Ferrari 250 Europa became the easiest Ferrari to use on day-to-day basis.

Despite the weight gain, it could achieve 0-60mph in less than 8 seconds and a top speed of 135mph.

It was evident that Ferrari customers needed a Grand Tourer with less thoroughbred behavior. Due to this, the Ferrari 250 Europa was discontinued and was replaced with Ferrari 250 GT Europa. 

Ferrari 250 GT Europa

1955 Ferrari 250 GT Europa Pinin Farina Speciale
1955 Ferrari 250 GT Europa Pinin Farina Speciale

The Ferrari 250 Europa established Ferrari as a manufacturer of serious Grand Tourers with uncompromised performance and acceptable ride comfort. But, the quality of the ride and the standard trim was still not that refined and the Lampredi engine had serious reliability issues and higher maintenance cost due to its all-alloy construction.

To power the new car, the Colombo V12 was chosen as it was lighter, shorter, and more responsive than the Lampredi engine. Colombo V12 was more suitable to power a compact Grand Tourer.

1955 Ferrari 250 GT Europa Competizione Berlinetta Pinin Farina Sport Speciale
1955 Ferrari 250 GT Europa Competizione Berlinetta Pinin Farina Sport Speciale

In 1955, the Ferrari 250 Europa was revised, and now featured a 3.0-liter Colombo V12 derived from the Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia.

The suspension featured independent coil springs in the front instead of the traditional transverse leaf springs.

Using the much shorter engine meant that the wheelbase could be reduced. Now the wheelbase was 2600mm.

The new revised car was known as the Ferrari 250 GT Europa.

Ferrari 250 GT was a massive improvement when compared to the Ferrari 250 Europa. Now the top speed was 140mph.

After producing only 28 units, the Europa nametag was dropped and the model was known as Ferrari 250 GT.

The first 27 Ferrari 250 GT Europa cars were built by Pininfarina as Ferrari’s coachbuilder of choice by the time. Seven of these were lightweight Berlinettas. These  Berlinettas were made using a lightweight alloy. The last three of the seven Berlinettas featured a unique rear wing design with a very prominent embossed line from sill to sail panel.

1955 Ferrari 250 GT Competition
1955 Ferrari 250 GT Competition

Another was built by Vignale for Princess Liliane de Rethy of Belgium.  

Pininfarina was chosen once again for building the Ferrari 250 GT. They decided to continue the distinctive rear wing treatment of the last three Ferrari 250 GT Europa Berlinettas.

However, Pininfarina could not keep up the production and soon the order books were overflowing, forcing them to outsource the construction of Ferrari 250 GT to a local coach building known as Carrozzeria Boano. Carrozzeria Boano produced Ferrari 250 GT until the mid-1957 model year.

1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano

In 1957, Mario Felice Boano, the head of Carrozzeria Boano left the company to become the chief stylist at Fiat Group. His business partner then joined with Mario’s son-in-law, Ezio Ellena to run the business. This resulted in the firm changing its name to Carrozzeria Ellena.

1957 Ferrari 250 GT Ellena Coupe
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Ellena Coupe
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Ellena Coupe
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Ellena Coupe
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Ellena Coupe
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Ellena Coupe
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Ellena Coupe
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Ellena Coupe

Carrozzeria Ellena continued the production of the Ferrari 250 GT for another 12 months. The only difference between these cars was the increased roofline to provide better headroom.

These cars are known as the Boano and Ellena models or as low roof or high roof cars.

Meanwhile, Pininfarina went on to build a new factory to enable the production of the Ferrari 250 GT. To make it stand out from the Boano and Ellena models. The Ferrari 250 GT was revised.

1958 Ferrari GT front
1958 Ferrari GT front
1958 Ferrari GT
1958 Ferrari GT

Now Ferrari 250 GT featured a clean notchback design.

The wheelbase was still the same 2600mm. It also gained twin distributors, new spark plugs. The interior was also significantly updated to provide a more luxurious experience and more refined driving experience.

This new Ferrari 250 GT was commonly known as the 250 GT Pininfarina or 250 GT PF. This was unveiled in 1958.

In 1959, Ferrari 250 GT received disc brakes, and telescopic dampers to improve handling and braking.

In 1960, it received revised steering.

More than 350 examples were sold and all featured a left-hand drive layout. 

Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet
Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet rear
Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet rear

The road-going Ferrari 250 series consisted of many muscular coupe variants, but there were several convertible variants as well. Convertible variants of the Ferrari 250 started with the one-off convertible from the Boano period.

Pininfarina decided to produce an open-top variant of the Ferrari 250 to commemorate the continuation of the production of the Ferrari 250 inside in-house premises.

At first, four prototypes were developed and each one of these was different from the other. Each featured a unique body and interior trim as Pininfarina wanted to fully explore its capabilities.

The first prototype was built upon the chassis number 0655 GT. This prototype was built for Ferrari racing driver Peter Collins. This unique car featured a cut-down driver’s door to improve accessibility, a windscreen without a chrome top rail, unique styling creases in the wings, and a crackle black dashboard. This car was later equipped with Dunlop disc brakes and Borrani wire-style alloy wheels to improve handling.

The second prototype featured a cut-down windscreen, a faired driver’s headrest. The third prototype was made for the 1957 Paris Auto Salon. The fourth was sold to Aga Khan.

These four prototypes were merely experimental as Pininfarina wanted to explore the possibilities ahead of the official production run of the cabriolet variant of the Ferrari 250.  

The official production run of the cabriolet variant was limited to just 36 units and these were called Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolets. These are known as the series I vehicles.

The rear wings were similar to the ones of the earlier coupes. Headlights were equipped with a beautiful Perspex cowl.

Meanwhile, the Ferrari California Spider had been introduced. Ferrari California Spider was heavily based on the race-going variant of the Ferrari 250, the Ferrari 250 Tour de France.

Both Ferrari California Spider and Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet shared many similar design elements despite being produced by two different coachbuilders. This resulted in people complaining that both models look exactly the same. Ferrari decided to step in to make these two models differ from each other.

Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet was revised to feature a more sober styling. The headlight cowls were also gone. This is known as Series 2.

1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina engine
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina engine
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II front
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II front
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II

The Series 2 was more practical with an easier to live with interior and improved leg space. These changes were done to make the car more suitable for grand touring. Series 2 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet was unveiled at the 1959 Paris Auto Salon with the production starting in 1960 and ending in 1962.

1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Series II
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Series II

Series 2 cars were easier to live with and were more practical, but many Ferrari customers consider these as too soft and not good looking as the Series 1 cars.

Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France

Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France
Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France

Influenced by the commercial success of the Ferrari 250 GT, Ferrari decided to produce a limited run of lightweight, tuned Competizione versions of the Ferrari 250.

Ferrari used Pininfarina designed, Scaglietti built full alloy bodies and fitted these lightweight bodies with tuned engines. These cars were then entered into the International GT racing. This was a massive turnaround from the previous policy of producing road-legal cars merely to support finances for the racing program.

1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France

The 1956 Tour de France event was dominated by Ferrari 250 GT Competizione cars. The first place was won by de Portago, and the third place was taken by the car that was shown to the public at the 1955 Paris Auto Salon.

The tremendous success at the 1956 Tour de France event influenced Ferrari to name the following Competizione variant with the Tour de France moniker.

Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France also followed the styling of the Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia. The wheelbase was 2600mm. It also featured coil spring suspension in the front and a leaf-sprung axle at the rear. Drum brakes were used all around. Some were equipped with Plexiglass cowled headlights.

1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France

Some of these early cars used plastic sliding side windows to reduce weight. Plastic sliding side windows were later replaced with wind-up glass windows.

Since all the engines were handbuilt, none featured an exact horsepower rating. Power outputs initially varied from 230 horsepower to 240 horsepower.

All the eight Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Series I cars built by Scaglietti received a varying number of vents in the sail panel behind the side windows. All these cars featured a stripped-down interior with basic equipment to reduce weight.

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France interior
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France interior

In 1957, the Series II was unveiled. Ferrari 250 Tour de France Series II featured an extended nose for better aerodynamic drag, a hood scoop to supply air into a carburetor surround pan, fourteen sail panel vents, and heavily revised rear wings.

1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France

Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Series II could be specified with a Testa Rossa spec engine. Testa Rossa spec engines featured lightweight pistons and con rods, and six large downdraught Weber carburetors.  There were many options that a buyer could choose from a race-spec camshaft to a full Competizione car. 

Until 1959, Ferrari continued improving and evolving the Ferrari 250 Tour de France.

1958 Ferrari 250 Tour de France Berlinetta Scaglietti
1958 Ferrari 250 Tour de France Berlinetta Scaglietti
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France LWB
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France LWB

Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Series III featured headlights set further back in the wings and covered by Plexiglas covers. These cars also featured rear wings with more prominent fins along with a three-vent sail panel design.

Series IV cars moved to a single vent sail panel design. Power output was now varied between 240 horsepower and 260 horsepower.

Series V cars didn’t feature the light cowls.

Less than 100 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France cars were built, including the handful of Zagato-built units. 

Ferrari 250 Tour de France is considered one of the best Ferrari Grand Tourers of all time. 

Ferrari 250 GT California

Ferrari 250 GT Spider California
Ferrari 250 GT Spider California

In the late 1950s, the Ferrari 250 Tour de France went on to dominate the GT class competitions. This was the beginning of Ferrari’s dominance of the GT class competition.

Ferrari planned a cabriolet variant of the Ferrari 250 due to the high demand, but a California-based Ferrari dealer called Jon von Neumann came up with an even better idea. He wanted a convertible variant of the Ferrari 250 Tour de France. North American Ferrari importer, Luigi Chinetti also backed up his idea. This resulted in the development of the Ferrari 250 GT California Spider.  

Ferrari 250 GT California Spider was a more hard-core, performance-focused convertible when compared to the Ferrari GT Spider Pininfarina.

Compared to the previous Ferrari GT Spiders, Ferrari 250 GT California Spider, there were many similarities in between. However, California was not just built by Scaglietti, it was also designed by Scaglietti as well. Scaglietti previously built Pininfarina-designed cars and is based in Modena. 

It also featured a 2600mm wheelbase chassis. These were known as the long-wheelbase California.

1961 Ferrari 250 California Spyder SWB Competizione
1961 Ferrari 250 California Spyder SWB Competizione

Ferrari 250 GT California was officially unveiled in late 1958. Earlier models were equipped with a 240-horsepower engine.  Just like the Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France, the Ferrari 250 GT California Spider could be ordered with many options, from a race-spec camshaft to a full competizione setup.

1961 Ferrari 250 California Spyder SWB Competizione
1961 Ferrari 250 California Spyder SWB Competizione
1961 Ferrari 250 California Spyder SWB Competizione
1961 Ferrari 250 California Spyder SWB Competizione

It could be ordered with an optional fiberglass hardtop.

Some of the Ferrari 250 GT California was equipped with cowled headlights and some didn’t feature the cowls.

It also featured three vents behind the front wheel arch.

The long-wheelbase Ferrari 250 GT California and remained in production until 1960.   

Ferrari 250 California Spider interior
Ferrari 250 California Spider interior

When long-wheelbase California was still in production, Ferrari was developing a new short-wheelbase chassis to improve handling and to reduce the overall weight of the car. This short-wheelbase chassis featured a wheelbase of 2400mm when compared to the 2600mm of the long-wheelbase chassis.

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider RHD
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider RHD

This short-wheelbase chassis would then lead to the development of a new replacement for the Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France. These are known as the Ferrari 250GT SWB. The all-new 2400mm short-wheelbase chassis was then used to construct the California Spyder as well. 

This was a dawn of a new era for the Ferrari 250 GT California as it was heavily revised to accommodate the new shortened chassis.

New Ferrari 250 GT California looked more aggressive. Just like the long-wheelbase or LWB models, these also featured cowled headlamps and open ones without cowls.

The easiest way to differentiate an SWB model from an LWB is by observing the vents behind the front wheel arch.  SWB featured only two vents compared to the three of the LWB models.

1960 - 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB
1960 – 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB
1961 Ferrari 250 GT Scaglietti SWB California Spyder rear
1961 Ferrari 250 GT Scaglietti SWB California Spyder rear
1961 Ferrari 250 GT Scaglietti SWB California Spyder
1961 Ferrari 250 GT Scaglietti SWB California Spyder

The highest spec Ferrari 250GT California was ordered by Luigi Chinetti. This car was then used to compete in 1960 Le Mans. This car was an SWB model and featured a tuned engine with a power output of 280 horsepower.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB

1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB
1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB

Ferrari named their lightweight GT cars Berlinettas. These lightweight Berlinetta cars featured special Scaglietti-built alloy bodies and tuned engines. These cars were best known for their dominance in racing events. From 1956 to 1959, Berlinettas were represented by the Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France.

1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB
1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB

However, the last seven Berlinettas produced by the Ferrari were featuring a more modern style with improved weight and performance. These seven cars were then used to perform in racing events in 1959 and went on to accomplish better results. These are also known as Interim cars.

Despite the success these cars had in racing events, a new model with identical looks was introduced to replace it.  These new cars were featuring an almost identical look but went on to achieve even greater success in motorsport events. This new model was officially known as the Ferrari 250 GT SWB.

1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta
1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta

The SWB moniker was a reference to the short wheelbase chassis the car is based upon. The new shortened chassis with 2400mm wheelbase was 200mm shorten than the LWB chassis.

Pininfarina was in charge of styling the car. What they did was just simply chopping off the extra length from the middle of the Interim body. Due to this, the quarter windows were no longer there and featured more muscular and aggressive looks than the interim cars.

The Ferrari 250 GT SWB was produced from late 1959 to early 1963. These were available in two forms, the Competizione and the Lusso. Lusso was also known as the street spec.

1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competition
1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competition

Competizione variants were built by Scaglietti, featuring an all-aluminum body to reduce weight. These cars were usually equipped with a 275-horsepower engine along with a strengthened version of the normal four-speed gearbox. Bucket seats and sliding side windows were also added to the package to make it more race-ready.

1961 Ferrari GT SWB Competition
1961 Ferrari GT SWB Competition
1961 Ferrari GT SWB Competition
1961 Ferrari GT SWB Competition

The Lusso spec Ferrari 250 GT SWB had steel bodies, with an aluminum hood lid, boot lid, and doors. Lusso spec cars were equipped with an engine with a lower compression ratio and smaller carburetors, resulting in a maximum power delivery of 240 horsepower. Lusso spec cars featured many creature comforts and better spec interior to make them suitable for long-distance traveling. 

Specifications were often mixed around to fulfill the requirements of the customers. So, there are steel-bodied cars with Competizione spec engines instead of the 240 horsepower Lusso spec ones.

To compete in International GT Championship, Ferrari developed a special batch of 21 or 22 Ferrari 250 GT SWB cars. These 21 or 22 cars featured a smaller diameter chassis tubing and ultra-thin 1.1mm aluminum alloy body paneling to reduce weight.  Door windows were Plexiglas ones, operated by leather straps. The interior of these cars was barebone with bare aluminum floors, dashboards, and firewalls. These are better known as the SEFAC Hot Rods.

The engines were Testa Rossa ones with stronger yet lightweight cylinder heads and oversized carburetors. The maximum power delivery was between 285 horsepower to 295 horsepower. No engine had the same power output as each one differentiated from the other as every one of those was handbuilt.

1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB
1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB

However, the top speed was 160mph and Ferrari made sure that every one of the 21 cars achieved that top speed by testing them.

These cars then went on to win racing events such as Spa, Mille Miglia, Monza, Le Mans GT Class Championship, Tour de France, and Riverside. These wins paved the way for the Ferrari to win the GT Championship.

 Ferrari 250 GTE

1960 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2
1960 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2
Ferrari 250 GTE
Ferrari 250 GTE

Ferrari decided to produce a four-seat Grand Tourer to meet the customer demands to do so. The four-seat layout was more practical on a day-to-day basis than the ones with just two seats. This decision is also highlighting the changing attitude towards a better commercial footprint rather than just making enough money to fund the racing program.

Ferrari 250 GTE is one of the most important milestones in the history of Ferrari as it sort of established Ferrari as a more serious manufacturer of road-going cars.

 Ferrari previously produced several special-order Ferrari 195s, 212s, 340s, and 342s with rear seats. The Ferrari 250 GTE was the first Ferrari to be equipped with rear seats as default.

This car was a commercial success and made huge profits for Ferrari with more than 950 units sold from 1960 to 1963. Most of the profit was then spent on the ever-increasing budget of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team.

Ferrari 250 GTE featured the older long wheelbase chassis with a 2600mm wheelbase, the chassis shared by the Ferrari 250 GT, and the Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France.

The engine was moved forward in the chassis by 200mm and the track of the front and rear wheels were widened to provide more interior cabin space.

The maximum engine output was 240 horsepower at 7000rpm. The top speed was 140mph, and 0-60mph was achieved in a little over seven seconds, despite the weight gain due to the four-seater layout.

The Ferrari GTE was designed by Pininfarina and the body was built using steel. The hood lid, boot lid, and doors were aluminum ones to keep weight down.

Disc brakes, Nardi steering wheel, and Borrani wire alloy wheels were added as standard to improve overall handling.

The seats were leather ones, and the transmission tunnel was also covered in leather to improve the comfort and refinement of the ride. The Interior also featured chrome-rimmed Veglia instruments.

Ferrari 250 GTE interior
Ferrari 250 GTE interior
Ferrari 250 GTE interior 2
Ferrari 250 GTE interior 2

The Ferrari 250 GTE with its refined interior and ride quality, soon proved to be a huge commercial success as well as one of the most appreciated Ferrari cars of all times.

It was first unveiled at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans as a prototype GTE which was also used as a course car. Five months later, Ferrari GTE was officially unveiled and launched at the Paris Auto Salon.

During the production run of Ferrari 250 GTE from 1960 to 1963, only little changes were done, even when the Series II was launched.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTE
1962 Ferrari 250 GTE
1963 Ferrari 250 GTE rear
1963 Ferrari 250 GTE rear

Series II featured an updated dashboard. Ferrari 250 GTE Series III was unveiled in 1963, with several significant changes. The rear leaf springs setup was replaced with more responsive coils, the taillights were updated, secondary lamps were moved from the grille to directly under the headlights. The back wing was also reworked. During the production of Ferrari 250 GTE Series III, an overdrive operating on fourth gear was introduced to improve performance and practicality. The suspension was also boosted and the disc brakes were also improved.

Ferrari 250 GTE is considered the most affordable Ferrari 250 variant as it was the most produced with its official production run of more than 950 units. 

Ferrari 250 GTO

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Ferrari 250 GTO is the most famous variant of the Ferrari 250 series. Many Ferrari collectors consider the Ferrari 250 GTO as the ultimate collectible.

Ferrari 250 GTO was the spiritual successor to the successful Ferrari 250 SWB Competizione cars and the seven Interim cars.

The Ferrari 250 GTO was specifically developed to compete in GT Championship. Gran Turismo Omologato was shortened as GTO due to ease of use. Omologato meant homologation, a reference to the FIA’s requirements to meet the homologation qualification.

FIA homologation requirements stated that at least 100 cars had to be built using the components from other models in the lineup to meet the homologation requirements. Ferrari somehow got around these requirements by convincing FIA that the GTO was actually a slightly modified Ferrari 250 SWB.

Ferrari 250 GTO rear
Ferrari 250 GTO rear

Ferrari’s claim that the Ferrari 250 GTO was just a slightly modified Ferrari 250 SWB, in many ways was true, but when considering that while staying within the terms and regulations of the FIA rules, it was a completely different story.

The chassis of the Ferrari 250 GTO featured a slightly modified chassis of the Ferrari 250 SWB, with the only significant differences being the extra bracing around the damper and engine mounts. Minor mods were made to stiffen up the chassis.

The engine was the same Colombo V12 unit with Testa Rossa specifications such as the larger valves, heavy-duty lightweight cylinders, and higher lift cams. The maximum power output was now 300 horsepower. Two of the last Ferrari 250 GTO cars were equipped with 4-liter V12 Colombo units delivering 390 horsepower.

To comply with increased horsepower and torque, a stronger all-new five-speed gearbox was mated to the engine.

The top speed was now more than 170mph, with 0-60mph in the lower five seconds.

The bodywork of the car was vastly different from its Ferrari 250 SWB predecessor. Ferrari 250 GTO was designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, who worked closely with the scientists of the Milan University, using their wind tunnel to improve aerodynamic drag efficiency.

The lowered front with cowled headlights improved the aerodynamic drag.

Ultra-thin aluminum body panels, Plexiglas side windows, and rear screen, and a stripped-down interior reduced the weight to improve performance.

FERRARI 250 GTO rear
FERRARI 250 GTO rear
FERRARI 250 GTO
FERRARI 250 GTO

However, the development of the Ferrari 250 GTO was largely affected due to Enzo Ferrari’s decision to sack most of the top employees at Ferrari in November 1961. Giotto Bizzarrini, the lead designer of the Ferrari 250 GTO project was among the sacked. Soon 25-year-old Mauro Forghieri found himself in the charge of the project.

FERRARI 250 GTO interior
FERRARI 250 GTO interior

Mauro Forghieri didn’t get the Ferrari 250 GTO ready for its first race of the 1962 season, at Daytona in February of the same year. However, the Ferrari 250 SWB which was used as a GTO development mule was driven by Stirling Moss ended up finishing the race with first place in the GT class and fourth overall.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Ferrari 250 GTO was soon ready to race. Phil Hill and Oliver Gendebien went on to fin first place in the GT class and second overall at Sebring behind the wheels of a Ferrari 250 GTO. This laid the foundation for many victories to come. Eventually, Ferrari ended up winning the GT manufacturer’s championship in 1962 and 1963.

1964 Ferrari 250 GTO
1964 Ferrari 250 GTO

For the 1964 racing season, Ferrari 250 GTO received a revised body shape to reduce aerodynamic drag even more. The 1964 car was shorter than the previous year’s car. It also featured a lowered suspension and wider track to improve handling. More vents were included in the bodywork to improve cooling the brakes and to improve aerodynamic drag.

The front was less curvy, and the rear deck was now flatter than before. The newly revised body wasn’t well-received by many as the previous year’s car was more beautiful. However, these changes resulted in better performance, allowing Ferrari to win the 1964 GT manufacturer’s championship.

1964 Ferrari 250 GTO
1964 Ferrari 250 GTO
1964 Ferrari 250 GTO
1964 Ferrari 250 GTO

A total of 37 Ferrari 250 GTO cars were made from late 1961 to early 1964. Only three featured the 1964’s revised body style and specifications.

Ferrari 250 GTO is one of the greatest GT cars ever made and heavily desired among collectors. Back in 2014, a Ferrari 250 GTO was sold for $38 million.

Ferrari 250 GT Lusso

1962 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso
1962 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso

Ferrari 250 GT Lusso is an evolution of the Ferrari 250 GTO. It shared the mechanical underpinnings of the Ferrari 250 GTO, but the body was completely reworked to look more elegant and civilized.

Ferrari 250 GTO was all about performance and had less focus on comfort, but the Ferrari 250 GT Lusso was developed to provide a luxurious ride along with a more refined interior without compromising the performance.

1962 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso interior
1962 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso interior

The Ferrari 250 GT Lusso is an admirable machine. The ride comfort and interior were similar to the levels of comfort and performance provided by the Ferrari 250 SWB.

The chassis and the mechanical underpinnings were as same as the Ferrari 250 GTO. The engine was placed slightly further forward to improve cabin space.

Pininfarina styled the Ferrari 250 GT Lusso. This was the first Ferrari to feature a smart Kamm tail with circular rear lights. The front featured a small bumper and separate overrides. The elegant body style was well received by the Ferrari enthusiasts.

1962 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso rear
1962 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso rear

Pininfarina also made the Ferrari 250 GT Lusso at their factories. The bodywork was largely done in steel. Scaglietti made aluminum doors, hood lid, and boot lid and delivered these parts to Pininfarina.

Ferrari 250 GT Lusso was also equipped with the same Colombo V12 engine, with the standard engine delivering 240 horsepower at 7000rpm. It was also possible to improve the engine to Testa Rossa’s specifications.

Coil springs were added all around for better comfort along with disc brakes for all wheels. These coil springs suspension setup and all-around disc brakes were the standards for the Ferrari 250 series back then.

The interior featured leather bucket seats, a leather-covered transmission tunnel, and door panels. The luggage compartment was covered in vinyl with leather straps to secure goods.

The dashboard was covered in hiding trim. It featured a Pininfarina-styled large speedometer and a matching rev counter mounted in the center of the dashboard. These were cocooned in sweeping cowls to improve visibility. Five smaller instruments reading engine temperature, fuel level, and other status were placed in front of the driver. It was easier to observe the gauges through the aluminum spokes of the Nardi steering wheel.

1963 FERRARI 250 GT LUSSO LHD interior
1963 FERRARI 250 GT LUSSO LHD interior
1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso interior
1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso interior

Only 362 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso cars were ever produced, including 23 right-hand drive cars.

Ferrari 250 GT Lusso is the last variant of the Ferrari 250 series and represented the design and mechanical evolution of ten years, from a not so reliable and not so practical hastily developed road racing car to a refined and predictable Grand Tourer with uncompromised performance.

 

1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Speciale
1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Speciale
1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso
1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso
Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta
Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta
1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso rear 1
1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso rear 1

 

 

Brief History of Ferrari Supercars

 
 

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