The production of the 250 GT began in 1954 and continued into the early 1960's. A variety of body styles, engines, and coachbuilders were used. Keeping with the tradition of Ferrari, the coachbuilders were Italian. Ferrari provided the chassis and the engines, the coachbuilders provided the body and the styling. Most of the production of these vehicles were done by Pinin Farina. In 1957, however, production was taken over by Scaglietti.
Many of the early models of the 250 GT were 2+2 styled. They had tiny back seats which double as luggage space. The later versions were 2 seaters with a luggage shelf behind the seats.
The average price for the 250 GT was about $12,500 and $14,000 for the California version. About 2,500 Type 250 GT's were produced over the full model run. A total of 16 Series 1 models were built in 1956, six Series II were built in 1957 and 12 Seres III were built in 1958-1959.
The 250 is also recognized as the first Ferrari to ever recieve Disc brakes. This did not take place until the end of the 1950's. Also, the 250 was the first four-seater, and the first commercially available mid-engined Ferrari.
The front suspension was independent with double wishbones and coil springs. The rear suspension was a live axle.
The Ferrari 250 GT used a Colombo 60-degree single-overhead-cam, 'vee' type 12-cylinder. There were two valves per cylinder, single overhead cam. The engine had aluminum alloy block and heads with cast-iron cylinder liners. The horsepower produced was in the neighborhood of 220-260. In 1960-1962, the horsepower was increased even more for the short-wheel base (SWB) version to 280 bhp. Seven main bearings and three twin-chose Weber carburetors were used.
When 250 GT production began in 1954, a variety of body styles, engines, and coachbuilders were used. Ferrari provided a chassis and an engine, the coachbuilders provided the body and the styling.
There are three Ferrari 250GT Speciale with Pinin Farina-designed coachwork built for European Royalty. The first two were built for Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and Princess Liliane de Rethy of Belgium and were shown together at Pebble Beach in 2001. The third, this car with chassis number 0853, was built for Prince Bertil of Sweden in 1958 who kept the car in the south of France. After three years the Prince moved the car to Paris and put it away and there it stayed for over 40 years. After 3 European owners it was brought to the United States in 2009 to join the Ferrari collection of its current owner. During its Paris sojourn the car had its engine swapped with a standard 250 GT from chassis 1301. Having subsequently bought this car as well, the current owner has returned the two engines to their proper chassis.
Built specifically for Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands, this unique Ferrari 250 GT Speciale (chassis 0725GT) shares several styling details with the 400 and 410 Superamericas designed by Pinin Farina. These large-displacement Ferraris were produced in strictly limited quantities for important clientele. This is one of two 'Royal' Ferrari 250 GTs now owned by its current owner.
About 22 of the Series 1 Europa were produced in 1954. The vehicle was displayed at the 1953 Paris show. Also at the show was the Ferrari 375 America. Both vehicles had the same chassis and wheelbase.
Many Italian coachbuilders were given the opportunity, as was the style of early Ferrari, to provide the body-work for the cars. However, the majority of the coachbuilding was done by Pinin Farina. Vignale did atleast one cabriolet and four coupes.
The 205 Europa recieved the smaller of the Lampredi engines. The V-12 engine produced 2963cc. It was a 60-degree, single-overhead-cam, 'vee' type 12-cylinder with aluminum alloy block and heads. With the backing of a 200 horsepower engine, the vehicle was able to muscle its way to a top speed of around 135 mph. Similarly to the 342 America, an all-syncromesh four-speed transmission was used.
Almost all the Europa's were sold in America.
Gioacchino Colombo started out being the primary builder of Ferrari's engines in the late in 1940's and a major contributor to the success of Ferrari. Aurelio Lambredi became his assistant in 1947. Lambredi soon became convinced that a large engine that was naturally aspirated would have better fuel economy and provide more power. Colombo was of the belief that smaller engine compiled with a supercharger would produce the better results. Ferrari tested Lambredi's idea and proved it to be successful. Lambredi was promoted to chief design engineer and Colombo returned to Alfa Romeo. The Lambredi engines were used in the ladder part of the 1950's. By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2011
The Pinin Farina-bodied cabriolet that Ferrari introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1957 marked an auspicious mile-stone in Ferrari history as the company's first series-built open top sports car.
This 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series 1, chassis #0777GT, is built on a 508C type chassis. The 3-liter engine is a type 128C V-12 producing approximately 225 horsepower. The Cabriolet body created for this car by Pininfarina is based on a small series of prototypes built and shown at various auto shows in 1957. It is the tenth built out of a production of forty Cabriolets.
This car was delivered on January 3rd, 1958 to Georgio Fassio, a Genovese shipping executive and friend of Enzo Ferrari. Its second owner was the New York Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti. It arrived in the United Sates in 1959 and was immediately used by Chinetti's son Luigi 'Coco' Chinetti Jr. on his honeymoon. During the car's early life the original engine was changed, but engine and body were reunited by the current owner in the early 1980s. During its restoration the original charcoal grey paintwork was repainted in Ferrari dark blue, and the black interior was replaced with striking red upholstery. The car is easily identified because it has unusual and distinctive outside vents and a stainless steel mirror finish inside the headlight buckets.
Pinin Farina was selected to build the first 250 GT Cabriolet on chassis 0655GT. It was destined for the 1957 Geneva Motor Show. It was well received and laid the groundwork for the series of 39 more cabriolets that followed. The design included traits that would later be included on Series I bodies such as a long hood, covered headlights, rear fenders that kick-up, wind-up windows, recessed rear tail lights and a simple raked windshield without vent windows. After a brief ownership by a navigation company in Genoa, this car was refurbished for Ferrari Grand Prix driver Peter Collins. Collins modified the car in 1958 switching to Dunlop disc brakes from the original factory drums. Mike Hawthorn, a fellow driver with Collins persuaded Enzo Ferrari (after Collins' death) to authorize a similar switch for his next race. To that extent, 0655GT was instrumental in leading the Ferrari migration from drum to disc brakes.
Production of the 250 Series began in 1954 and continued on through the early part of the 1960's. There were numerous variations of the 250 and would ultimately become Ferrari's most successful line of vehicles to date. The 250 is also recognized as the first Ferrari to ever receive disc brakes. This did not take place until the end of the 1950's. Also, the 250 was the first four-seater.
Ferrari's were custom built cars. They were not mass-produced. Ferrari provided the engine and chassis while Italian coach builders provided the body. This meant the specifications varied. Engines also varied in horsepower rating, torque, and displacement. This was no different for the 250 GT which saw many different variations in body style and body types.
Ferrari built the road-going Ferrari's to fuel his passion for racing. Many of the vehicles he built for the road had a competition model. That is, a modified version of the road-going model. An example of this was the 1959 short-wheel base (SWB) Berlinetta (Berlinetta which means coupe) and given an aluminum body. It was debuted in October 1959 at the Paris Salon. GT cars were road-legal vehicles that could also be taken to the track and compete without the need for modifications. Although this was their purpose, Ferrari realized that many customers would not race their vehicle, but rather wanted the power and performance that sports cars offered. To comply, Ferrari built these cars to be powerful and luxurious. The vehicles could still be run on the track, mostly on requiring the adoption of stickers and complying with any safety requirements.
The 250 road-going vehicles mostly shared two wheelbase sizes, a 2400 mm and 2600 mm. The 2400 wheelbase were referred to as the SWB (Short wheel base) while the other was the LWB (long wheel base).
The base engine was a Colombo 60-degree, single-over-head cam, 'vee' type 12-cylinder, with aluminum alloy block and heads, and cast-iron cylinder liners. The displacement was 180 cubic inch (2953 cc). Horsepower production was around 220-260. The front suspension was independent with double wishbones and coil springs. The rear suspension was a live axle.
The first 250 introduced was the 250S and available in either berlinetta or spider configuration. Introduced in 1952, they were powered by a 3-liter Colombo engine producing about 230 horsepower.
At the 1953 Paris Motor Show, Ferrari introduced the 250 Europa and Export. These were the only models in the series that were powered by a Lampredi v-12 engine also seen in Formula 1. The 250 Export had a 2400 MM wheelbase, similar tot he 250 MM. The 250 Europa had a larger, 2800 mm wheelbase which allowed more interior room. During their short production lifespan, only 18 examples were produced. Pininfarina and Vignale were tasked with creating the coachwork.
In 1954 four specialty built 250 Monza were built for racing. They shared many similarities with the 750 Monza's, but were equipped with the 3-liter Colombo engine.
At the 1957 Geneva auto show, Ferrari displayed their 250 GT Cabriolet. Coachwork was courtesy of Pininfarina; the wheelbase was 2600 mm in size. In 1959 the second in the 250 GT Cabriolet series production began after only 36 examples being produced.
From 1957 through 1959 Ferrari produced the 250 GT Berlinetta 'Tour de France' (TdF). The name had been given for the 10-day automobile race. Originally the engine produced 240 horsepower but was later modified to 260 horsepower. Carrozzeria Scaglietti was responsible for creating the bodies based on Pinin Farina's design.
Scaglietti was responsible for constructing the 1957 250 GT California Spyder. These sat atop a long, 2600 mm chassis and aluminum was used throughout the body in efforts to reduce the overall weight. In total, around 45 examples were created before they were replaced by the SWB version in 1960.
There were 250 examples of the 250 GT Berlinetta SWB produced. Production began in 1959 and used the shortened, sportier wheelbase. Giotto Bizzarrini, Carlo Chiti, and Mauro Forghieri were responsible for the development. Some were built for racing while others were meant for daily transportation. Horsepower ranged from 240 to 280. Steel or aluminum bodies were used. The steel bodies were suited for the road-going vehicles, also known as Lusso. The racing trim vehicles were powerful and had low weight. They were vary competitive and are regarded as the most important GT racers of its time. In 1961 the SWB Berlinetta captured the GT class of the Constructor's Championship.
In 1960 a Scaglietti 250 GT Spyder California SWB was shown at the Geneva Motor Show. Built as a replacement for the LWB and based on the 250 GT SWB, around 55 examples were produced.
The Ferrari 250TR was produced from 1957 through 1958 during which only 19 examples were created. The 'pontoon' fender body was designed by Scaglietti and the power was supplied through a Colombo 12-cylinder engine mounted at a sixty-degree angle and outfitted with six Weber 38 DCN carburetors. Power was sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual gearbox. With 300 horsepower, the 800 kg vehicle was able to achieve a 168 mph top speed. From 1958 through 1961, the 250 TR was entered in 19 championship races where they emerged victorious ten times.
The 250 in 250 TR represented the unitary displacement while the TR was an acronym meaning Testa Rossa. Testa Rossa translates to 'red head' which referred to the color of the engine's cylinder head.
The 250 TR series was built to capture the world championship which was experience questionable times. During the 1955 24 Hours of Lemans a fatal accident occurred and the Commissione Sportiva Internazionale (CSI) began investigating ways to make the sport safer for the drivers and the spectators. Their efforts were escalated in 1967 when another fatal accident occurred at the 1957 Mille Miglia. The committee decided upon a displacement limit but they were in disagreement on the size; the proposed figures ranged from 3 to around 3.5 liters.
1958 was the introductory year for the new regulations, which had been announced during the later part of 1957. Ferrari had been building, testing, and racing the 250 GT which had performed well during the 1957 Mille Miglia. The Colombo V12 260 horsepower engine received a larger bore, camshaft, and other improvements resulting in a 3.1 liter displacement and 320 horsepower. Testing continued throughout the 1957 season in both body configuration and mechanical components.
Ferrari had anticipated the new engine size regulations and thus had been sufficiently prepared to capture the world championship. Due to the potential of negative publicity caused by the fatal accidents, other manufacturers, such as Aston Martin, Lotus, Cooper and Jaguar, were hesitant to continue racing. Ferrari believed their closest competitor would be the powerful and technologically advanced Maserati 450 S which featured a quad-cam eight-cylinder engine.
Ferrari quickly began capturing victories during the 1958 season. The 250 TR was a solid vehicle thanks to the preparation and testing. The steel tubular ladder frame was of traditional Ferrari construction; a DeDion rear axle was used on the works racers. Customer cars were outfitted with a live axle. Drum brakes were placed on all four corners of the car. The engine had been modified to comply with regulations and to fit in the engine bay. In reality, the vehicle was an outdated car having only the benefit of proper planning and proven technology. Most cars featured disc brakes which provided superior stopping power. The Colombo engine dated back to the beginning of Ferrari and was antiquated in comparison to the modern power-plants.
Nearing the close of the 1958 season, the competition began to rise. Aston Martin had a lethal combination, a 3 liter DBR1 racer and Stirling Moss as the driver. Even though the Aston Martins did score a victory at Nurburgring 1000 KM, Ferrari was able to capture the World Championship. The legendary Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien easily capture a third victory for Ferrari at the grueling 24 Hours of Lemans. The 250 TR works cars were referred to as TR58, to distinguish them from the customer TRs.
For the 1959 season, the vehicles received slight modifications which made the vehicle lighter and more powerful. The big news was the use of Dunlop disc brakes. The engine received coil valve springs and the horsepower increased slightly to 306. A Colotti designed five speed gearbox replaced the four-speed unit. Pininfarina was tasked with designing a new body and the construction was handled by Fantuzzi. As a result of the improvements, the name was changed to TR59. At their inaugural race, the TR59 finished first and second. This streak did not last and at the end of the season, it was Aston Martin who emerged as the world champion. The TR59 was plagued with reliability issues mostly due to the gearbox. The vehicles were forced to retire early from races, including Le Mans.
For the 1960 season, the TR was modified slightly to comply with new regulations and to rectify the transmission issues. These vehicles are commonly referred to as the TR59/60. Aston Martin had withdrawn from the championship which left no factory opposition for Ferrari. Porsche and Maserati provided competition, especially at Targa Florio and the Nurburgring 1000 km where they scored victories. At Le Mans, Ferrari finished first and second and captured the word championship, beating Porsche by only four points.
For the 1961 season, Ferrari introduced the mid-engined 246 SP. The TRI61 was given a new spaceframe chassis and was able to capture victories at Sebring 12 Hours and Le Mans. With victories between the 246 SP and the TRI61, Ferrari once again captured the world championship.
The CSI implemented stricter rules for the 1962 season which meant the TR was unable to score points for the factory. It was still allowed to race for the overall victory. By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007
Following Alberto Ascaris back-to-back titles in 1952 and 1953 there have been no Italian Formula One World Champions. While there has been a great amount of hope throughout the years, Italians have...