Ferrari 250

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1962 250 GT/E

The Ferrari 250 is a sports car built by Ferrari from 1953 to 1964. The company's most successful early line, the 250 series included several variants. It was replaced by the 275 and the 330.


1963 250 GT Lusso

Most 250 road cars share the same two wheelbases, 2,400 mm (94.5 in) for short wheelbase (SWB) and 2,600 mm (102.4 in) for long wheelbase (LWB). Most convertibles used the SWB type.

Nearly all 250s share the same engine: The Colombo Tipo 125 V12. At 2,953 cc (180 cu in), it is not a large engine even for the time, but its light weight and impressive output (up to 300 PS (221 kW; 296 hp) in the Testa Rossa and GTO) made a big difference. The Ferrari V12 weighed hundreds of pounds less than its chief competitors — for example, it was nearly half the weight of the Jaguar XK straight-6.[1] As for naming convention Ferrari uses the displacement of a single cylinder as a name.

The light V12 propelled the small Ferrari 250 racing cars to numerous victories.

Racing models[edit]

Typical of Ferrari, the Colombo V12 made its debut on the race track, with the racing 250s preceding the street cars by three years.

225 S[edit]

A predecessor to the 250 line was the 225 S introduced at the 1952 Giro di Sicilia. Two of the two-seat sports prototypes were built, an open barchetta and closed coupé both by Vignale. Seven 225 S cars were entered at the Mille Miglia, but these were overshadowed by their larger-engined 250 S brother. Although not as heralded as the 250 line, the 225 did play one unique historical role: A 225 S tested at Imola was the first Ferrari to drive on that course.

250 S[edit]

The first of the 250 line was the experimental 250 S berlinetta prototype entered in the 1952 Mille Miglia for Giovanni Bracco and Alfonso Rolfo. The Mercedes-Benz 300SL racers of Rudolf Caracciola, Hermann Lang, and Karl Kling were faster on the long straights but the 230 PS (169 kW; 227 hp) Ferrari made up ground in the hills and curves to achieve victory. The car was later entered at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana.

The 250 S used a 2,250 mm (88.6 in) wheelbase with a "Tuboscocca" tubular trellis frame. Suspension was by double wishbones at the front, with double longitudinal semi-elliptic springs locating the live axle at the rear. The car had the drum brakes and worm-and-sector steering typical of the period. The dry-sump 3.0 L (2,953 cc (180 cu in)) engine used three Weber 36DCF carburettors and was mated directly to a five-speed manual transmission.

250 MM[edit]

Ferrari 250 MM in Mille Miglia 2012.

Following the success of the 250 S in the Mille Miglia, Ferrari showed a more conventional chassis for the new 250 engine at the 1952 Paris Motor Show. Pinin Farina then created coupé bodywork which had a small grille, compact tail and panoramic rear window, and the new car was launched as the 250 MM (for Mille Miglia) at the 1953 Geneva Motor Show. Carrozzeria Vignale's open barchetta version was also an innovative design whose recessed headlights and side vents became a Ferrari staple for the 1950s.

The 250 MM's wheelbase was longer than the 250 S at 2,420 mm (95.3 in), with the coupé 50 kg (110 lb) heavier than the 850 kg (1,874 lb) barchetta. The V12 engine's dry sump was omitted for the production car, and the transmission was reduced by one gear. Power was increased to 240 PS (177 kW; 237 hp). The four-cylinder 625 TF and 735 S replaced the V12-powered 250 MM later in 1953.

The 250 MM's race debut was at the 1953 Giro di Sicilia with privateer Paulo Marzotto, and a Carrozzeria Morelli-bodied 250 MM barchetta driven by Clemente Biondetti came fourth in the 1954 Mille Miglia.

250 Monza[edit]

An unusual hybrid between the light four-cylinder 750 Monza and the 250 line was the 250 Monza of 1954. This model used the 250 engine in the short wheelbase chassis from the 750 Monza. The first two used the Pininfarina barchetta shape of the 750 Monza and a one-off 500 Mondial. Two more 250 Monzas were built by Carrozzeria Scaglietti, an early use of the now-familiar coachbuilder. Although a frequent entrant through 1956, the 250 Monzas failed to gain much success and the union of the Monza chassis and 250 engine was not pursued beyond this model.

250 Testa Rossa[edit]

See main article Ferrari TR

The racing 250 Testa Rossa was one of the most successful Ferrari racing cars in its history, with three wins at Le Mans, four wins at Sebring, and two wins at Buenos Aires. It sold at auction for a record-breaking 16.39 million dollars.

250 GTO[edit]

See main article Ferrari 250 GTO

The Ferrari 250 GTO is a GT car which was produced by Ferrari from 1962 to 1964 for homologation into the FIA's Group 3 Grand Touring Car category. The numerical part of its name denotes the displacement in cubic centimeters of each cylinder of the engine, whilst GTO stands for "Gran Turismo Omologato", Italian for "Homologated Grand Tourer". When new, the GTO commanded an $18,000 purchase price in the United States, and buyers had to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari and his dealer for North America, Luigi Chinetti.

36 cars were made in 1962 and 1963. In 1964 "Series II" was introduced, which had a different body. Three such cars were made, and four older "Series I" were given a "Series II" body. It brought the total of GTOs produced to 39.

In 2004, Sports Car International placed the 250 GTO eighth on a list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s, and nominated it the top sports car of all time. Similarly, Motor Trend Classic placed the 250 GTO first on a list of the "Greatest Ferraris of all time".

250 P[edit]

Main article: Ferrari P

The 250 P was a Prototype racer produced in 1963, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring, 1000 km Nürburgring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in that year. The 250 engine from the Testa Rossa was mounted in the midships position for the 250 P prototype racer of 1963.

250 LM[edit]

Main article: Ferrari P

The mid-engined 250 Le Mans looked every bit the prototype racer but was intended to be produced as a road-going GT. Descended from the 250 P, the Le Mans also appeared in 1963 and sported Pininfarina bodywork. Ferrari was unable to persuade the FIA that he would build the 100 examples required to homologate the car for GT racing. Eventually, 32 LMs were built[2] up to 1965. As a result, Ferrari withdrew from factory participation in the GT class of the 1965 World Sportscar Championship, allowing the Shelby Cobra team to dominate the class. Only the very early LM's were true 250 models, with all the rest made as 3300cc models and as such should have been named 275 LM (the early cars were also converted to the 3300cc engine)

250 Export/Europa[edit]

Ferrari 250 Europa Pinin Farina Coupé

The 1953 250 Export and Europa were the only of the family to use a different engine. They shared the 2953 cc Lampredi V12 designed for Formula One use. Both the Export and Europa originally fitted 185VR16 Pirelli Cinturato CA67 tyres when leaving the factory.

250 Export[edit]

The Export model was similar to the 250 MM with its 2,400 mm (94.5 in) wheelbase. One exception was its 220 PS (162 kW; 217 hp) Lampredi engine. It was launched at the Paris Motor Show of 1953.

250 Europa[edit]

The 250 Europa, also introduced in Paris in 1953, looked entirely different. With the long 2,800 mm (110.2 in) wheelbase and Ferrari America-style bodies, it was designed as more of a grand tourer than any previous 250. Both Pininfarina and Vignale handled the coachwork, with 21 produced in total.

GT cars[edit]

The 250 design was extremely successful on the race course as well as the street. A number of GT models were built in varying states of road or racing trim.

250 Europa GT[edit]

The first street car to use Colombo's 250 V12 was the 250 Europa GT, introduced at the 1954 Paris Motor Show. Pinin Farina's sober Paris coupé was just one of many shapes for the 250 GT line, with coachbuilt production extending through 1956 before the 250 line became more of a standardized product. The original 250 Europa GT used a 2,600 mm (102.4 in) wheelbase on a conventional chassis and fitted Pirelli Cinturato 185VR16 tyres (CA67). The dry sump V12 was tuned to 220 PS (162 kW; 217 hp), with three Weber 36DCZ3 carburettors. Aping the Vignale's 250 Europa, Pinin Farina added now-familiar vents to the front fenders, a standard styling feature for many of the 250 GTs that followed.

250 GT Boano and Ellena[edit]

1959 GT Boano (front) and 1958 California Spider (centre)

Pinin Farina introduced a 250-based prototype at the 1956 Geneva Motor Show which came to be called the 250 GT Boano. Intended as a styling exercise and inspiration to 250 GT Europa customers, demand soon called for construction of a series of the car.

Unable to meet demand due to much needed expansion, Pinin Farina asked Mario Boano, formerly of Ghia, to handle the construction. When Fiat recruited Boano, he handed production duties to his son-in-law Ezio Ellena. With partner Luciano Pollo, Carrozzeria Ellena would produce the 250 GT for another few years. Ellena revised the car, raising the roof and removing the vent windows from the doors. Those cars became known as 250 GT Ellena

Carrozzeria Boano built 74 250 GTs on the long wheelbase chassis. Carrozzeria Ellena built another 50 Coupés.

All but one were coupés. The single convertible, 0461 GT, was sold to New York collector, Bob Lee, off the stand at the 1956 New York Auto Show. At the direction of Enzo Ferrari, Lee bought the car for $9,500-far below cost. He still owns it, making it one of the oldest Ferraris still in the hands of the original purchaser.

250 GT Pininfarina Coupé Speciale[edit]

4 cars made on type 513 chassis, with series I 410 Superamerica-style bodies and type 128, 3.0 V12 engines. Although chassis numbers are in the middle of Boano 250 GT Coupé-run they don't share the same chassis type.

250 GT Berlinetta "Tour de France"[edit]

Series IV 250 GT TdF, albeit converted to covered headlights

The 250 Granturismo Berlinetta, nicknamed the "Long Wheelbase Berlinetta", was also called the "Tour de France" after successfully competing in the 10-day Tour de France automobile race, not the famous bicycle race of the same name. There were 77 Tour de Frances built.[3] A number of 250 GT "Tour de France" Berlinettas were sold for GT races from 1956 through 1959. Construction was handled by Carrozzeria Scaglietti based on a Pinin Farina design. The engine began at 240 PS (177 kW; 237 hp) but rose to 260 PS (191 kW; 256 hp) by the end. When leaving the factory it originally fitted Pirelli Cinturato 165R400 tyres (CA67).

Scaglietti appeared at the 1956 Geneva Motor Show with their own 250 GT prototype, which became known as the limited production, Series I, “no-louvre” 250 GT Berlinetta. The first production car was built in May 1956, and production was now the responsibility of Scaglietti in Modena. 14 "no-louvre" and 9 “14-louvre”, series I and II, Berliettas were made.

There were four series of 250 GT Berlinettas in all. From mid-1957, the Series III cars were introduced, with three louvers and covered headlights. Just 18 were produced. Series IV numbered 36 cars; these retained the covered headlights but had just a single vent louver. Zagato also made five "no-louvre" superlight cars to Ugo Zagato design.[4]

250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina Series I[edit]

Michael Schumacher rides in a 250 GT Cabriolet

Released at Geneva in 1957, the original Pininfarina cabriolet used the 2,600 mm (102.4 in) wheelbase and had distinct bodywork from the Berlinetta. They left the factory on either 165R400 or 185VR16 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67).

About 36 examples were produced before a second series was shown at Paris in 1959. These later cars had much more in common with the production Berlinetta.

About 200 of the series two cars were built.

Motor Trend Classic placed the 250 GT Series I Cabriolet and Coupé ninth on their list of the ten "Greatest Ferraris of all time".

250 GT California Spyder LWB[edit]

1959 California Spyder LWB

Designed for export to North America, the 1957 250 GT California Spyder was Scaglietti's interpretation of an open-top 250 GT. Aluminium was used in the hood, doors, and trunk lid, with steel specified elsewhere for most models, though a few aluminium-bodied racing versions were also built. The engine was the same as in the 250 Tour de France racing car with up to 240 PS (177 kW; 237 hp). All used the long 2,600 mm (102.4 in) chassis and originally fitted Pirelli Cinturato 185VR16 tyres (CA67).

Only 50 were ever made before it was replaced by the SWB version in 1960. It remains highly valuable for automotive collection, one example auctioned on August 18, 2007 at Monterey, California for $4.9 million.

250 GT Coupé Pininfarina[edit]

250 GT Coupé Pininfarina

Desiring to enter series production in order to stabilize the company's finances, Enzo Ferrari asked Pininfarina to design a simple and classic 250 GT coupé. After 250 GT Boano/Ellena, Pininfarina Grugliasco plant was expanded and the production of a new coupé could be moved back. The resulting car was introduced at Milan in 1958, and 335 nearly identical examples were built by 1960. Buyers included Prince Bertil of Sweden. The GT Coupé eschewed the fender vents for simple and clean lines and a notchback look with a panoramic rear window. The oval grille was replaced by a more traditional long narrow look with protruding headlights. Telescopic shock absorbers were also fitted instead of the Houdailles found on previous 250s, and disc brakes were added in 1960. They originally fitted 165R400 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67) before changing later on to the size 185VR16. The final 250 GT Coupé had a Superfast tail and was shown at the 1961 London Motor Show.

250 GT Berlinetta "Interim"[edit]

in 1959, 7 LWB cars were made as a combination between old long-wheelbase-chassis and new Pinin Farina bodywork of the upcoming SWB Berlinettas. They are strictly all aluminum bodied cars. Interim vehicles have an additional rear quarter window, that the up-and-coming "Passo Corto" Berlinettas lack. The Interim vehicles are serial numbers 1377GT, 1461GT, 1465GT, 1509GT, 1519GT, 1521GT and 1523GT.

250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina Series II[edit]

250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina, series II

In line with the high-volume coupé, Pinin Farina also designed a plainer 250 GT Cabriolet for series production. Introduced at the 1959 Paris Motor Show, the GT Spider sported a look similar to the GT Coupé of the previous year, including the removal of the side vents and originally fitting 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67). As for the Coupé, the headlights were uncovered. About 212 were produced.

250 GT Berlinetta SWB[edit]

1961 250 GT Berlinetta SWB

One of the most important GT racers of its time, the 1959 250 GT Berlinetta SWB used a short (2,400 mm (94.5 in)) wheelbase for better handling. Of the 176 examples built, both steel and aluminum bodies were used in various road ("lusso") and racing trims. Engine output ranged from 240 PS (177 kW; 237 hp) to 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp). The "lusso" road car version originally fitted 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato (CA67).

Two 250GT SWBs at the 2004 Goodwood Revival

Development of the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta was handled by Giotto Bizzarrini, Carlo Chiti, and young Mauro Forghieri, the same team that later produced the 250 GTO. Disc brakes were a first in a Ferrari GT, and the combination of low weight, high power, and well-sorted suspension made it a competitive offering. It was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in October and quickly began selling and racing. The SWB Berlinetta claimed GT class of the Constructor's Championship for Ferrari in 1961.

In 2004, Sports Car International placed the 250 GT SWB seventh on a list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s. Motor Trend Classic placed the 250 SWB fifth on a list of the ten "Greatest Ferraris of all time".

250 GT Spyder California SWB[edit]

1961 250 GT California Spyder

In 1959 Ferrari gave the 250 GT Berlinetta sharper handling, reducing its wheelbase from 2,600 mm to 2,400 mm. In 1960 Scaglietti revealed the 250 GT Spyder California SWB at Geneva, its body pulled more tautly over this updated chassis. Like the 250 GT Berlinetta SWB on which it was based, the revised Spyder also received disc brakes and a 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) version of the three-litre V12 and fitted 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67). About 55 were built.

A fiberglass-bodied replica of a 1961 250 GT Spyder California, based on an MG, was featured in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off.[5]

A record price for a 250 GT at auction was set on May 18, 2008 when a black 1961 SWB example that had been owned by James Coburn was sold for £5.5 million. The buyer was the radio DJ, Chris Evans.[6][7][8][9]

250 GT/E[edit]

1963 250 GTE #4823 GT

The LWB 250 GT theme was expanded with the 2+2 model 250 GT/E. The first large production four-seat Ferrari (earlier four seaters were made in very small numbers). Interior space was increased by moving the engine forward in the chassis. The rear seats were ideal for children but rather tight for adults. The 250 GT/E originally fitted Pirelli Cinturato 185VR15 tyres (CA67) when leaving the factory.

Engine output was listed at 240 PS (177 kW; 237 hp).

Almost 1,000 GT/Es were constructed by Pininfarina with prototypes starting in 1959 and continuing through three series until 1963. The model was followed by the visually similar 330 Americas.

The large production run of the GT/E was a major contributor to the financial well being of Ferrari in the early 1960s. MSRP of the GT/E was $11,500.

A 250 GT/E can be seen in The Wrong Arm of the Law, a film starring Peter Sellers.

250 GT Lusso[edit]

Main article: Ferrari 250 GT Lusso
1964 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta

Pinin Farina updated the 250 GT with the GT Lusso or GTL. Introduced at the 1962 Paris show, the car sported flowing lines and a fastback shape typical of the GT cars of the mid-1960s. Under the hood was the 250 GTO's Tipo 168 engine with 240 hp (179 kW; 243 PS) and three Weber 36DCS carburettors. It originally fitted 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67).

Scaglietti handled construction of the Lusso which lasted through 1964 with few modifications.

Rock star Eric Clapton owned one, and an example that had been owned by Steve McQueen was sold at auction for $2.3 million on 16 August 2007.[10]

A replica of the 250 GT Lusso "... owned by Steve McQueen ..."[citation needed] was featured in the 2011 film Tower Heist.

In 2004, Sports Car International placed the 250 GT Lusso tenth on a list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s. Steve Boone, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the group the Lovin' Spoonful owned one that was stolen from a repair shop in Queens, New York and never found, #4237.

330 America[edit]

A 250 in all but name, the 1963 330 America shared the outgoing model's chassis but not its engine. Powered by the new 4.0 L engine of the later 330 cars fifty 330 Americas were built, originally fitting 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67) before moving on to fitting 205VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CN72) after 1964. Likely the most famous 330 America is that belonging to California socialite Sandra Ilene West. Mrs. West was buried at the wheel of her car following a 1977 drug overdose. Her instructions specified that she be clad in her lace nightgown with the driver’s seat "slanted at a comfortable angle". The car (and driver) is interred at the Alamo Masonic Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas.[11] In the early 1990s (as reported in Classic Car magazine), a green-metallic 330 coupé was regularly abandoned, claimed and then re-abandoned in Melbourne over the course of 4 years. Its ultimate fate is not known.[citation needed]

Place in Lamborghini history[edit]

Tractor manufacturer Ferruccio Lamborghini owned at least three Ferrari 250s: a 250GT Coupé by Pininfarina, one or two 250 SWB Berlinettas by Scaglietti, and a 250GT 2+2 by Pininfarina. Frustration with Enzo Ferrari's response to his complaints of frequent clutch problems was a key part of decision to make his own cars.[12] Lamborghini later hired ex-Ferrari engineers to design and develop his Lamborghini cars.[13]

See also[edit]

Ferrari 250 GT Drogo - the "Breadvan", a 250 SWB modified by Giotto Bizzarrini and Piero Drogo for Giovanni Volpi.



  1. ^ "Dave Williams' Engine Weight Chart". Retrieved July 25, 2006. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Ferrari 250 LM". Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  3. ^ Ahlgrim, Steve (November 2012). "1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB TdF". Sports Car Market 24 (11): 34–35. 
  4. ^ "1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB 'Tour de France' Berlinetta". RM Auctions. Retrieved 2012-11-11. 
  5. ^ IMDB. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Trivia". Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  6. ^ Pollard, Tim (2008-05-19). "Chris Evans buys Ferrari 250 GT California for £5m". Car Magazine. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  7. ^ English, Andrew (2008-05-19). "Chris Evans pays £5m for vintage Ferrari". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  8. ^ "King of the road: Chris Evans splashes out £5.5m on James Coburn's 1961 Ferrari". Daily Mail. 2008-05-19. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  9. ^ Phillips, Drew. ""1961 Ferrari California Spyder sells for record $10,894,900" retrieved: 19 August 2008". Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  10. ^ ""McQueen's Ferrari sells for $2.3 m" retrieved: 17 August 2007". BBC News. 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Copy of Interview with Ferruccio Lamborghini, page 2
  13. ^ "Modern Classic: Lamborghini 350 GT". Retrieved 2011-09-28.