Showing posts with label Ferrari Sports Cars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ferrari Sports Cars. Show all posts

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB 1960s Italian classic sports car

The Ferrari 250 GT was the base model for the most expensive car ever made. That was the Ferrari 250 GTO which sold at a Sotheby's auction for silly money. Actually, $48.4m - in California, in 2018. It is easy to see where the GTO got its chops from. In the case of the Berlinetta, bodywork was by Scaglietti. He styled the 250 GT-based competition cars - and their sports siblings. The 'short wheelbase' SWB, for instance, fell within his remit. Pininfarina helped sort less race-oriented versions of the 250 GT - like the 'long wheelbase' LWB. Felice Boano - celebrated Italian coachbuilder - likewise contributed to the GT's design.

The Berlinetta was launched in '61. It was not just its looks that came out of thè top drawer. Its 3.0-litre V12 motor was also hand-crafted. The man responsible for it - Gioacchino Colombo - was an industrial designer at 14. When most young men his age were gluing pictures of cars to bedroom walls, Colombo was engineering them. Suffice it to say, then, he was a child prodigy. At one point, he drafted a supercharger for homework - as you do. Subsequently, it was shown to Alfa Romeo. Alfa must have graded it A+, since he was offered a job on the strength of it. Several engines later, Colombo was approached by one Enzo Ferrari. The maestro was managing Alfa's race department, at the time. By then, Colombo was aged 34.

When Enzo set up his own car company, Colombo was one of his first hires. The motor man arrived in Modena in '45. Whereupon, he set about adding his own input to the 250 GT project. With such a wealth of design talent dedicated to it, it is little wonder the GT soared to the heights it did. In short, Ferrari's 250 GT Berlinetta SWB was as iconic as a sports car gets. Apart from the Ferrari 250 GTO, of course. Sorry, Sotheby's!

Ferrari California

Ferrari California 2000s Italian sports car

The Ferrari 250 California - released in '57 - was one of the most iconic cars ever created. A tad over half a century later, came another California. Designed by Pininfarina, seamless aerodynamics were key to the new car's styling. And the 2008 California was light. Both chassis and body were aluminium.

The F1-style steering-wheel featured Manettino dials. They modulated the gearbox, suspension and traction-control settings. The latter came in the form of the F1-Trac set-up. Should those systems' limits still be exceeded, an automatic roll bar was deployed. As well as front and side airbags. The California could be set to Comfort or Sport mode, too. At track-days, however - or, indeed, at any other time - the safety controls could be switched off. Apart from ABS braking, that is.

Ferrari's 4,300cc V8 engine made 460bhp. That catapulted the California to 193mph. Torque was on tap from way down low. The 7-speed semi-automatic transmission saw to that. Unlike some supercars, the California's cabin was roomy and comfortable. There was a retractable top. And plenty of luggage-space was provided. So, the Ferrari California was built for speed. To that extent, it echoed its fabled 250 predecessor. But - in common with that design classic - it was kitted out for cruising, too, if required.

Ferrari 250 GTO

Ferrari 250 GTO 1960s Italian classic sports car

The Ferrari 250 GTO was about as focused a car as has ever been built. Designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, everything about it was geared to speed. Its cabin, for instance, was conspicuously spartan. The GTO - Gran Turismo Omologato - was made to win races, not comfort contests! Specifically, races in the World Sportscar Championship. The Ferrari 250 GT had been struggling in said series - mainly on account of poor aerodynamics. Which is where Bizzarrini came in. His brief was to draft a more slippery shape. One that could deliver more than 150mph, at any rate ... which was what the GT was currently mustering. Bizzarrini went to work. The grille was made smaller. The headlights were faired in. A foreshortened rear end now sported a spoiler. Ferrari were pleased. The GTO's top speed was clocked at 173mph.

But, Bizzarrini's bodywork was just for starters. The GTO had other weapons in its race armoury. Like a 3.0-litre Tipo 168/62 Colombo V12. The 300bhp it produced took the Ferrari from 0-60mph in 6.1s. That called for a stiff chassis. An alloy-tubed frame was duly installed. The aluminium V12 engine was suckled by six twin-barrel Webers. Because it was dry sump, the motor sat lower - as did the rest of the car. More grist to the aerodynamics mill. A 5-speed gearbox turned the rear wheels. Only suspension let the side down a tad - being somewhat outdated. Saying that, it clearly did not hamper the whole package too much. In '62, the GTO won the World Sportscar Championship. And again, in '63 and '64. At Le Mans, in '62, while it came second in the overall standings, it took the coveted Group 3 GT class.

Bizzarrini also took care that the GTO's styling was suitably seductive. As well as being one of the all-time great racers, as a roadster its low-down looks were sublime. Ferrari played a bit fast and loose with the facts, however … in true motorsport tradition! They passed the GTO off as just a streamlined GT. That got them off the hook, homologation-wise. Otherwise, they would have had to build 100 GTOs, to go racing. As it was, only 39 were built. In truth, though, the new car was unique. While the GTO - and its GT forebear - did indeed share many components, there was enough that was fresh about the GTO to set it apart. It certainly was a streamlined GT - Bizzarrini's wind-cheating wizardry had seen to that. But - should there be any doubt that the GTO was special - a price comparison is telling. When Ferrari produced the car - between '62 and '64 - it cost £6,000. In 2014 - at Bonhams Quail Lodge auction - one sold for £22,843,633. Which made it the most expensive car ever, at the time. The Ferrari 250 GTO was a one-off, all right!

Ferrari Enzo

Ferrari Enzo 2000s Italian supercar

Technically, the Ferrari Enzo was a roadster. And 'technically' is about as far as it went. Red-blooded racing ran in its veins. Its name alone told you all you needed to know. Founder of the myth that is Maranello - and its most famous firm - Enzo Ferrari's legacy is secure. 'Professor' Alain Prost - French F1 legend - once said he did not know why racing drivers do what they do. Cars like the Enzo - with its 660bhp power output - probably provide a few clues!

There were strong links between the Enzo and the Ferrari F1 car at the time. Its CFC/Nomex body panels, for starters, bear a striking resemblance. Beneath those panels sat a carbon-fibre monocoque - similar, again, to that of the GP car. Even the Enzo's V12 engine was cut from the same F1 cloth ... in terms of layout, at least. On the underside, huge venturis mimicked 'ground effect' - the set-up by which GP cars stay 'glued' to the tarmac. The Enzo was even equipped with 'active aerodynamics' - a system not too far removed from that of the top-flight competition cars. Its brake discs were carbon-ceramic composites ... of course!

To match the Enzo's tech spec visually, then, was always going to be a challenge. Pininfarina, though, stepped up to the plate. The great Italian design house had long been associated with the Ferrari marque. They fulfilled the Enzo brief to perfection - supplying carbon-fibre solutions, inside and out. Ferrari, however, had issues when the car went on sale. Not because of any problems with the product. Indeed, just the opposite. So sought-after was the Enzo - even with its £425,000 price tag - that all 349 units sold out within hours. To try to placate frustrated would-be buyers, Ferrari scaled the number up to 400. It is unlikely that was enough. One of the most finely-wrought supercars ever made, the Ferrari Enzo was a fitting tribute to the man who inspired it!

Ferrari Testarossa

Ferrari Testarossa 1980s Italian classic supercar

The Ferrari Testarossa was released in '84. 'Testarossa' is Italian for redhead. That referenced the red cylinder head of the car's 5-litre flat-12 engine. Within the head were 4 valves per pot. They were heat-protected by state of the art nickel-alloy. That was a wise move on Ferrari's part - since there was every possibility of temperature build-up, at some point! Power peaked at 390bhp.

While the nickel-alloy valves worked a treat, yet more needed to be done to dissipate heat. The engineers had done their bit - now it was down to the designers. The Testarossa was mid-engined - to help with handling. So, cooling was moved to the rear. Pininfarina oversaw the styling mods. They drafted a wide back-end - with plenty of room for the cooling components. The side-mounted air-ducts became trademark Testarossa.

The Testarossa's top speed was 180mph. 0-60 arrived in 5.5s. Steering was superb - the smallest of inputs being sufficient. The body was, in the main, aluminium - assisting with weight loss. Aerodynamics were wind tunnel-tested - including downforce. In '92, the Testarossa 512 TR appeared. The fastest production car in the world at the time, it knocked the Lamborghini Diablo off top spot. The Testarossa F512M came along in '94. By now, it was a true 200mph supercar. Redheads are reputed to be a tad on the fiery side. The Ferrari Testarossa did nothing to debunk that stereotype!

Ferrari Dino

Ferrari Dino 1960s Italian classic sports car

When is a Ferrari not a Ferrari? When it is a Dino! How so? Well, what defines a Ferrari? Why, the prancing horse logo, of course. But the 246 only ever wore Dino GT insignia. The firm's founder, Enzo Ferrari, wanted this car to be a 'marque' all its own. There was a good - and moving - reason for that. He had prematurely lost his son Alfredino - so the car was a father's tribute. Even Enzo, though, may have conceded that the 'Dino' was a Ferrari in all but name.

Enzo had no qualms about including Fiat in such a personal project. The two firms struck a deal which enabled Ferrari to compete in the F2 racing series. To enter, homologation rules required that 500 roadsters be produced. Financially, Ferrari were not in a position to supply engines for that many Dinos. For the mighty Fiat corporation, though, such numbers were not a problem. So it was that - inside every Ferrari Dino - there lurks the spirit of Fiat.

Stylistically, the Dino was unaffected by the mechanical shenanigans. Beauty on wheels, its Pininfarina/Bertone styling was visible in every perfect curve. Of course, no car was ever going to make up for losing a son. It is to be hoped, however, that the Ferrari Dino was some small source of solace for the great man.