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.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:Ferrari 250 GTE
Years Produced:1960-1963
Number Produced:955
Original List Price:$10,000
SCM Valuation:$30,000-$40,000
Tune Up Cost:$200-$2,000
Distributor Caps:$250 two required
Chassis Number Location:Plate in engine compartment and left front cross member
Engine Number Location:Horizontal boss, right side of engine below cam covers
Club Info:Ferrari Owners Club, 8642 Cleta Street; Downey, CA 90241. 562/861-6992; Ferrari Club of America, 15812 Radwick Silver Springs, MD 20906
Alternatives:330GT 2+2, Lamborghini 400

This example, estimated by Brooks at $35K and $40K, failed to sell at the October 8, 1999 auction held in Hershey, Pennsylvania at a high bid of $27,000.

The 250GTE was Ferrari’s first commercial success during the early ’60s. It was obvious that a market existed for the wonderful 3-liter V12 coupled with the added practicality of the 2+2 seating. The 250GTE has room enough for four adults or a couple and two children. With its V12 and Ferrari styling you could go on family outings and still feel like Nuvolari.

Produced in record numbers from 1960 to 1963, the GTE was and is a handsome, elegant and high-performance motor car. Due to the weight over the front wheels, a GTE can be a tad ponderous around town, but the handling and responsiveness improve dramatically on the open road.

Many people refer to these cars today as “starter” Ferraris—they are affordable in comparison to other high-performance

Ferraris like the 365GTB, but also offer the excitement and power of owning a 3-liter V12. The engine alone is a direct link to Ferrari’s astounding competition record.

Since the market value of GTEs doesn’t support the cost of a full-bore restoration, they should only be bought in restored condition.

The most likely reason for this car to go unsold was simply that the right buyer wasn’t in the room. By all accounts, this is a good 250 and if the seller has patience, the right buyer, in the high $30K range, will come along.—Bob LeFlufy

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