Introduced in 1984, the 288 GTO was built for Group B racing, though most of the 272 examples made for homologation were in road-going trim. As happens occasionally, some lucky customers were able to buy a superb road car because others wanted to go to the track.

In standard form, this engine produced a massive 400 bhp with 365 ft/lbs torque at 3,800 rpm. Top speed was 190 miles per hour and 0 to 62 miles per hour could be achieved in less than five seconds. Even so, it was a perfectly tractable road car and even air conditioning was an option.

Moto-Technique was responsible for fitting air conditioning and also for repairing the bodywork when, in April 2001 this car had an argument with the side of a cliff in southern France, fortunately at low speed. The repairs were undertaken without regard to cost and the fastidious vendor describes the condition of the body, and every other element of the car, as "excellent." It is, naturally, finished in Rosso Corsa while the seats are upholstered in black leather. Current mileage stands at just 17,000 kilometers.

Ferrari is jealous of its heritage and only an outstanding car would be allowed to inherit a designation as glorious as "GTO." With only 272 examples of the 288 GTO made, it is the rarest road-going Ferrari of the past 35 years and one of the most desirable of all times.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1985 Ferrari 288 GTO
Years Produced:1984-85
Number Produced:272
Original List Price:$80,000
SCM Valuation:$275,000-$375,000
Tune Up Cost:$1,000
Distributor Caps:$125
Chassis Number Location:Under engine cover on right rear corner of frame
Engine Number Location:On top of block, toward the front
Club Info:Ferrari Owner's Club, 8642 Cleta St., Downey, CA 90241; Ferrari Club of America, PO Box 720597, Atlanta, GA 30358
Alternatives:Porsche 959, Jarguar XJ220
Investment Grade:B

This vehicle sold for $223,797, including buyer’s premium, at the Bonhams Gstaad sale, held December 18, 2001.

The Group B class was a series dominated by well-funded factory teams and followed by a hard-core, mainly European fan base. How well the 288 might have done will never be known as the series was discontinued before the car had a chance to run.

The 288 project started with a new frame and the car was designed from there. The twin-turbo engine was mounted longitudinally with the transmission attached to the rear. The body was formed from composite material. Virtually every part on the car is unique to the 288, including the suspension, gas tanks, mirrors and all of the trim.

The elegant styling of the 288 retains the delicate lines of the 308 GTB, yet adds a degree of no-nonsense performance. Unfortunately, the similarity leads some enthusiasts to the incorrect conclusion that a 288 is a 308 in wide-body disguise.

Driving a 288 GTO is, for an automotive enthusiast, one of life’s ultimate pleasures. It has a fully finished interior with comfortable seats and good air conditioning. The steering is light, the interior noise level is acceptable and the suspension is well suited for grand touring. The engine starts easily, idles smoothly and glides effortlessly throughout the rpm range. Floor the throttle and the 288 emits a scream that goes from mild to hair-raising as the rpms increase and the turbos reach full boost. The tires rip at the pavement, barely retaining adhesion, and scenery turns to a blur. The sensation is a combination of brute force coupled with the taut control offered by the excellent Ferrari tubular chassis.

The “argument with the side of a cliff” history of S/N 55683 significantly hurts its value. Selling the car in a public forum with the accident damage announced, while the proper thing to do, may have hurt its value. Ferrari collectors covet virgins and 55683 is now a deflowered maiden. While it may have been repaired “without regard to cost,” money cannot buy originality. The owner choosing to sell the car so soon after its repair was not confidence-inspiring.

In the late ’80s, the value of 288s exceeded the million-dollar mark. It quickly dropped as the market receded and has stabilized in the $200,000 to $300,000 range.

With this car, if the accident damage was truly repaired to as-new condition, it could bring the new owner a nice profit if hand-sold in an environment where a proper examination of the car could be performed.

The 288 GTO will never achieve the value and notoriety of the 250 GTO due to its absolute lack of competition heritage. And, as mentioned above, their visual similarity to the mass-produced 308 doesn’t do their prices any favors. Nonetheless, the 288 GTO is a rare factory supercar that was in fact built to go racing.

The combination of low production numbers, competition intent and prodigious performance has kept the value of the 288 GTO steady. While it’s unlikely that prices for these cars will soar, it is equally unlikely that they will ever be worth significantly less than they are today.-Steve Ahlgrim

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