Launched in 1954, the 250 T featured a lighter and more compact Colombo-designed 3-liter V12 in place of its Europa predecessor’s Lampredi unit. The 250GT chassis followed Ferrari’s established practice, being a multi-tubular frame tied together by oval main tubes, however, the independent front suspension now employed coil springs instead of the transverse-leaf type. A four-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox transmitted power to the live rear axle, while braking was looked after by hydraulic drums all round. Late in 1959, disc brakes were added and a four-speed plus overdrive gearbox was added the following year.
The 250GT provided the basis for the first four-seater Ferrari, the 250GTE 2+2. The 250GTE was intended to extend Ferrari’s appeal to a sector of the market that was already contested by its rivals Aston Martin and Maserati. It debuted in the summer of 1960 and became the most commercially successful Ferrari of its day.
Pininfarina’s challenge had been to produce a 2+2 without sacrificing the 250’s elegant good looks or sporting demeanor, and the master carrozzier succeeded brilliantly with the GTE. By moving the engine, gearbox, and steering gear forward and the fuel tank back, sufficient room was created for two occasional rear-seat passengers within the 250GT’s 2,600-mm wheelbase. The type 128E outside-plug engine’s 240 bhp insured that there was no reduction in performance despite the inevitable gain in weight.
A wonderful provenance accompanies the 250GTE pictured here and still retains its black California license plates. It was refinished several years ago and is currently red with a tan interior. This 250GTE comes with numerous receipts testifying to the quality of its care and maintenance.