If you can’t afford a nice example, you really can’t afford a bad one
By the end of the 1950s, the success of rivals Aston Martin and Maserati in providing Grand Touring cars for the enthusiast with a family meant that Ferrari could no longer ignore this increasingly important market sector. There had been four-seater Ferraris before the 250 GTE, with Ghia, Touring and Vignale all producing 2+2 designs in the 1950s, but these attempts had been compromised by the necessity of using a chassis not conceived with passenger carrying in mind and were deemed less than entirely successful. Close collaboration between Ferrari and Pininfarina in the design of Maranello’s first series-production four-seater ensured that no such criticism could be leveled at the 250 GTE.
First seen in prototype form at the 1960 Le Mans 24 Hour Race, where it served as the race director’s car, the 250 GTE had its official world premiere later that year at the Paris Salon. At 2,600 mm (102 in.) in the wheelbase, the multi-tubular chassis was similar to that of the Pininfarina-designed 250 GT notchback coupe, and 200 mm (7.8 in.) longer than the contemporary 250 GT SWB’s. Moving the engine forward by 200 mm and widening the rear track by 38 mm (1.5 in.) made room for the two rear seats.
Independent front suspension, a live rear axle, all-round disc brakes and a four-speed overdrive gearbox completed the basic chassis specification, while the 240-hp engine ensured that there was no reduction in performance despite the inevitable gain in weight. Top speed was within a whisker of 140 mph. One example, driven by Ferrari works driver Phil Hill and carrying two passengers, accelerated from a standstill to 100 mph and back to rest in 25 seconds.
Completed on November 22, 1960, the car on offer here was originally midnight blue with blue leather. Acquired by its current owner in 1995, the car has since benefited from comprehensive restoration at a cost of over $85,000. The body and upholstery were refurbished and the engine, gearbox, differential and brakes were overhauled. The electrical system was rewired and a new stainless steel exhaust was fitted, while the Borrani wire wheels were returned to the factory for rebuilding.
The car is now finished in red with black leather trim, one of the finest 250 GTE Ferraris on the market