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One Horse Race with 50 Thoroughbreds Company History

Published: 3rd Nov 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

One Horse Race with 50 Thoroughbreds
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Over its 70 years Ferrari produced some of the greatest classic cars ever made – here’s a full rundown along with our personal thoughts on all of them



Although a handful of racers and bespoke cars had already been made, the 166 was the first true road Ferrari, sporting a 2-litre V12 and a very modest 110bhp and transverse leaf springs. Bigger engines followed in the (2.3) 195 and the 2.5-litre 212 and the car marked the start of the long association with a certain Mr Pinnin Farina who came up with elegant coupés and roadsters; around 200 were made.



A model that’s chiefly aimed at the American market which was the final fling for the 166 chassis coping with a 4101cc, 220bhp V12 which was made to 4.5-litre and up to 200bhp. The work of design studio Pininfarina, the car came on the back of winning the 191 Mille Miglia (340) and bodies by Vinnale and Ghia were also offered on the later 375. AM 340 version saw five-speed transmissions for the road cars.



Widely regarded as Ferrari’s first genuine stab at a volume produced GT, first with the Europa (1953, pictured) followed by the GT Boano (1955) and Scaglietti-bodied Tour de France a year later, all powered by the iconic Lampredi/Columbo 3-litre V12 producing 200-260bhp depending upon model. Four-speed transmissions and drum brakes on all too. Known to be heavy to drive, it’s really for the purists.


410 Superamerica/Superfast

The 410 was the replacement for the earlier 340/342/375 America. The long block V12 is now taken to 5-litres; 340bhp 360bhp for ’56 and up to 380bhp for racing version but the chassis was hardly advanced even for the 50’s sporting a solid axle and single rear leaf spring. Heavy-handed styling was aimed at US customers as was suspension setting. A heavy car to drive making it more a cruiser, less than 40 made.



The 250 really put Ferrari on the map and bedroom walls and as the 50’s progressed, it evolved into the touring cabriolet and the 250 GT Coupé (Pininfarina) although the line is best remembered for the glorious GT and Spyders, no more so than the 1957 California (LWB and SWB) and the SWB Berlinetta GT of 1959, the latter being an Enzo great. Range revise for ’60 saw disc brakes and overdrive for the four-speed transmission.


250 GT/E 2+2

The first Ferrari for families using the now familiar 240bhp V12 sitting in the regular 250GT platform and while enthusiasts may have bemoaned a blunting of the performance and certainly the handling, it was very popular with around 1000 made – two for the Italian Flying Squad – and excelled as a GT despite no overdrive. ‘E’ designation stems from the 128E engine code.


250 GT/E 2+2

The first Ferrari for families using the now familiar 240bhp V12 sitting in the regular 250GT platform and while enthusiasts may have bemoaned a blunting of the performance and certainly the handling, it was very popular with around 1000 made – two for the Italian Flying Squad – and excelled as a GT despite no overdrive. ‘E’ designation stems from the 128E engine code.


250 GTO

A legend even among Ferraris, the GTO remains one of the most iconic road racers ever with less than 40 made with value to reflect this (£40m it is reported). Berlinetta Lusso was the final curtain call for the 250 using the GTO chassis – with styling from Scaglietti – and the engine detuned to 250bhp. Odd interior layout with centre mounted speedo and rev counter, but oh so beautiful on the outside!


330 America/330GT 2+2

Still using the America name, although this one is based upon the respected 250GT/E platform but with a new 4-litre V12 engine, good for 300bhp. A short run model, lasting only a year before the 330GT replaced it, which was mechanically as before but restyled. Like the GT/E, this 2+2 was popular as a GT and 1100 were made before making way for the 330 strain of familyfocused Ferraris in 1967.


275 GTB/GTB/4

A quantum jump for Prancing Horse designs, ushering in all independent suspensions, four-wheel disc brakes and five-speed/ diff transaxle format but was also Ferrari’s last purpose built racer. Columbo V12 remained albeit radically altered to 3.2-litre for 275bhp and 300bhp in GTB/4 tune (‘4’ denoting number of camshafts); Spyder versions always had less power and sloppier handling. Some coupés made with (Scaglietti) alloy bodies.



New breed of two-seaters in either open or closed format using that trusty 4-litre V12. With their Superfast looks they survived until 1968 before being overhauled by the outwardly similar 365 GTC/GTS which had 4.4-litre firepower but, again a low build car with 150 Coupés (half the 330’s production) and less than 20 Spyders until end of run in 1970. Pininfarina designed all of them that are said to be vastly underrated machines.


365 GT2+2

Looking like the GTC, the 365 GT2+2 was the logical replacement for the old 330 model and boasted 275-like independent rear suspension albeit self-levelling and there’s power steering to go with the luxury GT experience that’s now 4.4-litre, 320bhp powered. California is 500 Super successor and the 365 GTC is essentially a bigger-engined replacement for the 330 model. All were dropped in 1970.


DINO 206/246GT

Never officially badged ‘Ferrari’ (and the first non V12 as well), the Dino line was in honour of Enzo’s late lamented son who championed the V6 engine. Initially in 2-litre 206 guise, but the later 195bhp 2.4 is better known in coupé and targa-topped GTS form. A lovely looker that perhaps never went quite as good as it looked (still wonderful though!), it was a massive seller for Ferrari (over 3700 made) and now are hugely collectable.



Grandaddy to the modern 599 the 365 (Daytona was the unofficial title) was the logical evolution of the 275 GTB now packing 4.4-litres for over 350bhp. Transaxle means excellent weight distribution but it’s a brute and a heavy car to handle albeit it’s one of the last great front-engined V12 supercars. Vast majority were coupés (Berlinettas) as only 122 of the 1400 made were convertible Spyders. All bowed out in 1974.


365 GTC/4

Essentially it’s a softer take on the Daytona (which always overshadowed it) with smoother styling, a slightly detuned V12, power steering and a softer personality but with decent 2+2 accommodation. Puzzlingly, it sold very well with over 500 finding homes yet was canned by 1972. “Probably the most underrated Ferrari of all” wrote one guide 15 years later and, in Ferrari terms, they remain a bit of a bargain.


365 GT4/400/412

Another overlooked, misunderstood dark horse but fantastic tourers and still bargains. First came the 365 GT4 that morphed into the 400 and then 412 that saw the V12 engine grow to 5-litres before the range bowed out in 1989 after over 2900 were made. First Ferrari to be offered as an automatic and also the first to employ fuel injection during the 1970s. Complex and expensive to maintain but a GT joy as well as being a bargain.


308 GT4

A 2+2 replacement for the original Dino complete with 70’s sharp-edged (Bertone) styling and V8 power (a first for the company) with the Dino name dropped for a fully fledged Ferrari badge in 1976. A more civilised car than before which some say also handles nicer and is the better, if slightly softer, all rounder. And while prices are fast rising, it costs pennies compared to the universally loved earlier 246GT.


365GT/4 BB

Eagerly awaited successor to the Daytona, it was arguably the most radical Ferrari yet, having a new flat four ‘Boxer’ 12 cylinder engine (mid mounted) that also went on to be used in competition and Grand Prix racing. BB stood for Berlinetta Boxer but it could have meant Brute and Brawn for this ‘bigger up Dino’ that needs some taming but nevertheless became a benchmark for 70’s supercars.


308 GTB

Closely related to the Dino and sharing the same engine (losing 40bhp due to fuel injection in 1980), this strictly two-seater space-framed supercar silenced 246GT lovers. It was Ferarri’s first fibreglass car although costs meant a swift switch back to steel after 712 examples (so they are most coveted) with 154 fibreglass and 211 steel-bodied UK cars – better protected against the elements just before model’s 1985 demise.



Second thoughts on the BB saw an increase in power as the Boxer engine was stretched to 5-litres for easier drivability rather than outright performance (fuel injection for 1991) plus the twitchy handling was largely addressed (a lower nose with chin spoiler helped aerodynamics). A little under 200 were built before being discontinued in 1985. Slightly ‘cheaper’ than 365 model with values much on a level with the Dino 246GT.



Carrying on where the Dino 308 left off, Mondial used the same configuration on a stretched platform now back with Pininfarina for styling which now included both coupé and cabriolet bodies. Initially 214bhp until a quad cam engine boosted power to around 240bhp and upped tp 270bhp for much improved 3.2 which employed revamped chassis and transverse mounted transmission. A tad lukewarm as Ferraris go but all are grossly underrated.


288 GTO

Another landmark Ferrari and the return of the GTO badge because, as before, it’s a special build to enable it to qualify for Group B racing. The 308 was its base – but clothed in a Kevlar body – with a stretched spaceframe platform and its V8 – now mounted longways – is twin turbocharged for just under 400bhp. As only 272 were made, GTOs are priceless today – think £2-3m at least. Just about every Ferrari GP driver had one at the time…



The name is Italian for ‘redhead’ and the range replaced the BB with a swooping new style that was so 1980s. The flat 12 engine was carried over, gaining four valves per cylinder in the process, and despite its added size weighed slightly less than the old 512BB plus was more practical and usable with far superior visibility. The production run ran for 12 years with improved 512TR and F512M variants along the way with a total of 439 UK cars.



After the success of the 308, it would be folly to mess with the mix and so Ferrari came up with a clever revamp that included the 3.2 Mondial engine, good for extra 30bhp. Some cute styling cues, no doubt as a result of GTO experience, gave the car a meatier look but with better aerodynamics. The interior was refreshed although the introduction of more common Fiat switchgear rather sullied it.



The model name was to mark 40 years of the marque and if anything, a step up from the fabulous 288GTO of which it shared many similarities, such as a spaceframe chassis topped with a composite body. The turbo’s wick was turned up a bit as well for an added 78bhp. Less is more and the interior was kept to the minimum with not even carpets included in the £193K asking price that now runs to millions…



Final fling for the brilliantly successful 308 range although while it didn’t end in a whimper certainly didn’t go out with a bang as intended. This is blamed on a modified chassis to turn the engine to be mounted longitudinally to accept the (300bhp 3.4-litre) Mondial-derived powertrain, thus spoiling the once fine handling. Testarossa-like looks and Spyder of ’93 was first pure drophead from the company for many years. Cheapest classic ‘308’.



A rising star, the 456 didn’t just replace the old 400 range but rekindled the looks and allure of the Daytona. The 5.4 V12 gives rousing performance yet the car is best as a GT, even though one lapped the Fiorano test track faster than the mid-engined 512BB! And the automatics (GTA) are as good… Later 456M had modified active ride suspension and detailed styling changes. Modern classic Ferrari bargains from around 30 grand.



After the disappointment of the 348, Ferrari got right with the F355 and it showed as almost 10,000 were sold up until 1999. The 4-litre V8 now sported five valve heads upping the power by a massive 75bhp, marshalled by a new six-speed transmission that also ushered in F1-style paddleshift plus electronicallycontrolled dampers for the chassis. Add great looks and it became an instant classic in coupé and Spyder forms.



The F40 was a tough act to follow but Ferrari not only managed it but topped it with the F50, a fitting supercar to mark the half century mark. Relying upon Grand Prix Ferrari knowhow, such as a carbon fibre tub, the whole world could see its 4.7 V12 (513bhp) engine thanks to a transparent engine cover. F50 was the first open-topped supercar to top 200mph and less than 350 were built.



If the 456 brought back memories of the Daytona then the 550 took them a stage further – albeit with a strictly two-seater format. A revised V12 delivered almost 480bhp and there was also a striped-out WSR (World Speed Record) coupé. With values firmly in six figures, it’s clearly a relatvely affordable modern classic, albeit one that’s expensive to maintain with even routine replacements like clutches costing a cool £2500.



Replacement for the excellent F355, Ferrari went high tech and lightweight with an all aluminium construction and electronics galore yet has regularly been mooted as one of the most usable Ferraris around and you can find a very nice example for around £70,000. Big seller wth over 20,000 made – mostly coupés rather than Spyders – but all are tipped to be modern classics to watch.



A logical development of the 550 now with 508bhp and F1-style gearbox option plus adaptive suspension, all necessary as it was reported good for a shade over 200mph. The 575M sold almost as well as its predecessor during a four-year run but it’s a more complex car. In 2004, a ‘Handling GTC’ was introduced which essentially relied on Grand Touring Trophy race series experience with 515bhp and the carbon ceramic brakes taken from the Enzo.



Not so much an ordinary supercar but the fast growing breed of Hypercars, the Enzo relied heavily on F1 technology such as an electro-hydraulic gearshift and special silicon carbide ceramic brakes – but the Enzo also boasted features not allowed in Grand Prix racing like active aerodynamic aids and traction control. New too was the F140 six-litre V12, rated at 650bhp. If that wasn’t enough, the Enzo FXX and Evoluzione were harder core versions.



This racer-edged evolution of the 360 was in production for just a year and yet it amassed well over 1100 sales. Much more than merely a hotted up version of the 360, the Challenge Stradale was intended originally for a one-make racing series; 100kilos and 20bhp to the good (420bhp from the 3.6-litre V8) and a retuned chassis – plus a centre-striped body livery if you want. Naturally, highly prized today.



Named in honour of the famous coachbuilder who was linked to Ferrari since the beginning, the 612 Scaglietti was bigger than the 456M, chiefly to appease rear seat passengers. Sorted – but while doing so, it did little for the essential style that any Ferrari must have. At least it meant that the 612 was a genuine four-seater which drives a good deal better than it looks, however. Over 600 were made, it will follow the path of the 400/412 as a classic so watch the prices tumble before returning.



Taking over from the 360 – Ferrari’s best selling car with more than 16,000 made – the F430 had to go some and it did, thanks, in part, to the new (F136) 483bhp 4.3 V8 that was ably harnessed by a road car first by Ferrari: E diff (an electronically controlled rear axle) plus special Brembo brakes. The rest of the car remained mostly 360 although looked appreciably different. Spyder has two-stage roof action.



Enzo engine, albeit downrated to 611bhp, was one of the highlights of the replacement for the 575M that Autocar said was possibly the best Ferrari of its generation. The 599 – so named for its total engine displacement of 5999 cc – had a lot in common with the 612 new for this two-seater GT was ’Super Fast’ semi-automatic transmission and an all new F1-trac traction control. Only 10 manuals were made and just one for the UK.



Going one better than the 360 Stradale, the 430 Scruderia posted faster lap times around the famous Fiorano test track than the extreme Enzo despite its V8 having some 150bhp less – no doubt the improved Super Fast 2 transmission and E-diff all helping here. A (16M) Spyder version arrived in 2008 plus there were also several completion spin offs such as the Challenge.



Still in production, but due to be replaced next year by the Portofino, this (mid) front-engined 2+2 underwent a fundamental change in 2014 when the original trusty 4.3 V8 was replaced by a 3.9-litre twin turbo unit – in 2012 it was refreshed and made lighter. Said to have been initially pencilled in as a new Maserati, the name revived an all-time Ferrari great, with the HS (Handling Speciale) pack optional.



With this 430 replacement, Ferrari started with virtually a clean sheet, once again using all the experience it gained in F1. The F136 V8 was stretched to 4.5-litres (562bhp) mated to a new dual-clutch seven-speed transmission and is the First Ferrari not to be offered in manual gearbox form. Electro magnetic dampers was part of a new chassis aided by clever controlled aero aids. Convertible for 2012 has a retractable aluminium hardtop.



It’s those three initials once again – the difference here that this GTO is a road version of a track (599XXX) rather than pure race car. No matter, as it was still an impressive 100kg lighter than the regular 599 and 50bhp better off all resulting in yet another contemporary car that trounced the iconic Enzo around the Fiorano test track. Aptly, only 599 were built and you’ll rarely find one for less than £600K.



Possibly the most radical Ferrari ever and yet arguably the most practical… FF (standing for Ferrari Four) is four-seat, four-wheel drive sport hatch that took over from the 612 Scaglietti. Massive 6.2-litre pumps out 651bhp via a unique semi-automatic that drives through a twin-speed second gearbox, at the front of the engine. It’s a Ferrari-patented system first designed in the 1980s that’s revolutionary as Jensen’s FF was 50 years ago.



After the FF the F12 seems orthodox despite briming with high tech driving aids such as computer controlled aero aids, alloy spaceframe (Scaglietti) chassis, seven-speed transmission as found in the 458 but with punchier ratios, alloy spaceframe (Scaglietti) chassis and an FF-based cabin. Spin offs include F60 America, an exclusive run to mark 60 years of the brand in the United States.



Mimicking Formula One, Ferrari added KERS (regenerative energy recovery) among a host of other technological wizardry to the hybrid La Ferrari hypercar; 789bhp normally but 950bhp with it all hooked up. Initially a coupé (50 made) before becoming open topped (called Aperta) for a run of a further 209. Around a million quid to buy when new, the last one sold at auction went for five times the amount…



The now usual ploy of making a more focused Ferrari culminated in the 458 Speciale. Power from the 4.5 V8 now almost touched 600bhp and by shaving off 90kg in weight along with a retuned chassis, it was certainly a fitting way to end the life of this particular V8. Special A stood for Aperta (open) and so the car was never called a Spyder. All were discontinued in 2015 to make way for the 488GTB.



The 488 harked back to the halcyon days of the 308 with this newcomer that was broadly based upon the 458, albeit larger all round. Power came from the twin turbo V8 first seen in the California but revised and refined for 661bhp. The car’s body was styled in Ferrari’s own studio but apart from looking absolutely fantastic, was also claimed to generate up to 50 per cent more downforce. Along came a Spyder for 2106.



If the road tune 730bhp wasn’t enough, then only the F12 tdf (standing for tour de France; a very famous road race of the 1950/60s) was the only answer. It’s another hard core, lightweight, track-based variant that Ferrari was fast becoming popular at producing, now packing 769bhp which even state-ofthe- art driving aids couldn’t completely tame. Less than 800 were produced and were priced at £339,000.



On the face of it, the GTC4 looks like a straightforward evolution of the FF but the changes – which now included four-wheel steering – were deemed so fundamental that a new – albeit old – name was considered essential. Later Lusso T stood for ‘twin turbo’ and was a relation to the unit found in the 488GTB but rated at 602bhp. In contrast, the normal breathing 6.2 V12 pushed out a rousing 680bhp!



Hailed the fastest Ferrari ever, Maranello’s newest makes the F12 redundant. A 6.4-litre V12 just pips the old 6.2 unit found in the F12 by 20bhp (789bhp) to claim to be the most powerful, naturally aspirated production car engine ever made – no wonder Ferrari re-introduced the Superfast name. Among the many advancements, electronic power steering features for the first time in a Ferrari and is already a classic in every sense.



Next year sees the launch of what is claimed the “affordable Ferrari” with prices expected to be below £150,000. Replacing the California, it carries on the mid-engined tradition started by the 308 and boasts an entirely new aluminium chassis as well as a 3.5-litre twin turbo V8. The car’s name is closer to Ferrari’s native Italy as Portofino is a small fishing village on the north west coast ‘synonymous with elegance’ goes the claim. And who are we to argue judging by this picture?


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