Classic Driver Marketplace Essentials: Ferrari Legends
From its earliest days, building a handful of cars each year purely to finance its own racing team, through the later 1950s, which saw the introduction of the seminal 250 GT series, to the 60s and 70s where one model after another was the 'world’s fastest' or 'world’s most expensive' car, and then in modern times the ground-breaking Enzo, the story of Ferrari is one of exclusivity, performance and, above all, Italian style.
Ferrari’s famous 250 GT series was built around the Colombo-designed, three-litre V12 (12 x 250cc = 3000cc, hence ‘250’). As with any Ferrari from this period, buyers ‘bought the engine and got the rest of the car for free’. In this example, the magnificent, free-revving V12 was housed in classic Pinin Farina coachwork built at Mario Boano’s coachbuilding company - Pinin Farina, the great Turinese manufacturer being unable to keep up with demand...
By the early 60s, Ferrari and Pinin Farina had developed an established, beautifully proportioned style: open or faired-in headlamps, an ‘egg-box’ radiator grille of elegant aggression, and low-riding, seductive lines. Whether it was for the track (250 Testa Rossa and 250 GT SWB) or as a wealthy industrialist’s transport 'twixt Milan and St Tropez (250 GTE), a Ferrari was instantly recognisable. The Pinin Farina Cabriolet is a perfect example, with looks reminiscent of the California Spider and an almost boat-like profile echoing contemporary styling at Riva... for further information >>
If many early Ferraris were thinly disguised racing cars, the Scaglietti-produced 275 GTB was the apogee of that principle. Just a handful of owners has ever enjoyed the 250 GTO, yet in the 275 GTB Ferrari produced a ‘volume-production’ car that almost matched the former’s perfect combination of V12 power, sublime steering, fine handling and outstanding lines. The final version of the 275 GTB – never seriously raced by the factory or privateers – had all of this, and more, in the form of the four-cam, 3.3-litre 12-cylinder engine. Quite simply, one of the best driver’s cars ever...
The limited-edition NART Spider version of the 275 GTB aside, Ferrari had not produced an open-topped, high-performance version of its top berlinetta for some years - until it introduced an open version of the brutally fast 365 GTB/4 'Daytona'. Intended mainly for the North American market, the 'Daytona' Spider was just about the fastest open car you could buy at the time and lost little in performance compared to its coupé brother. While the factory itself produced a handful (some 120) of GTS/4 Spiders, many closed cars - in period and afterwards - were given well-executed, proper ‘Spider’ bodywork by a variety of carrozzerie worldwide... for further information >>
It might have come as something of a shock to a world used to big-engined Ferraris for the super-rich when a small (‘206’ at first) six-cylinder simply named ‘Dino’, with no Ferrari badge, was launched in 1968. It was intended to expand the company’s model range and compete with the Porsche 911. However, it was a real Ferrari through-and-through, utilised a V6 motor that had been raced in F2 and sports cars and, for the first-ever time in a road Ferrari, mounted that engine amidships. It was also quite beautifully proportioned and is justly considered to be one of the most attractive cars ever built... for further information >>
Although outwardly similar to the regular-production 308 GTB series, the 288 GTO was an altogether different animal. First of all, the mid-mounted V8 was mounted longitudinally, not laterally. Secondly, twin turbochargers boosted power to around 400bhp. In addition, a longer wheelbase, bigger wheels/tyres and improved brakes gave the whole package – originally intended as a homologation special, hence the ‘O’ for omologato – colossal performance. A top speed of over 300km/h set the standard in the early 80s. With production limited to under three hundred cars, the 288 GTO is now highly sought-after... for further information >>
With its F40 (‘40’ celebrating the 40th anniversary of the company in 1987), Ferrari took the basic concept of the 288 GTO, upped the performance and clothed it in all-new, aerodynamically influenced bodywork. It was the last supercar to be commissioned by Enzo Ferrari before his death in August 1988. The 470bhp+ supercar that resulted is still considered to be one of the finest, most visceral supercars ever constructed... for further information >>
Having achieved both critical acclaim from the press and market success with the 288 GTO and F40, Ferrari chose to produce another ‘ultimate’ supercar to commemorate not only the new millennium but also the company’s founder. Incorporating much F1-derived engineering (CCM brakes, variable valve-timing, pushrod coil-over dampers and ‘paddle’ gearshift), the Enzo - the last Ferrari 'hypercar' produced to date - vied with McLaren’s F1 as the ‘world’s fastest’ car. Over a racing circuit, it would trump anything, the road version of the F1 included. For presence and towering, race-bred performance, the Enzo has few equals...
Photos: The Dealers