Just the name Ferrari brings to mind elegance, speed and racing legends. Enzo Ferrari began building cars in 1929, and his legacy tattooed itself on the minds of three generations of supercar enthusiasts. Among all the incredible Ferrari cars ever built, which ones are the best of the best?
Ferrari 250 GTO
GTO stands for gran turismo olomogato which means “fast everywhere.” Actually it means that the GTO is suitable for a race track and the road. No matter where it was driven though, it was driven fast. The legend is that this car was built in complete secrecy in response to competitor Jaguar’s plans to release a new racing machine.
In 1962 the GTO ended up with a monstrous 2953 cc V-12 with larger valves and six double barrel carburetors. The end result was a 300 horsepower rocket that placed its race drivers upon many championship podiums. The car was so well engineered that it simply made you drive better. If you want to buy one of these today it will cost you a cool $10 million. You better have rock solid car insurance coverage for that type of investment (find out how much it’ll cost you here).
The car was debuted in 2002 and only 40 were made. Named after the founder the Enzo just had to be great. It was a forward swinging wing-door beauty that had the heart of a beast. With a 6.0 litre V-12, this 660 horsepower time machine could reach a top speed of 211 mph. It was not for the faint of heart, and it was the first Ferrari to carry continuously variable exhaust valve timing.
A huge amount of technology went into the engineering with a multitude of sensors to keep the engine, wheels, brakes and suspension all working in perfect harmony. Carbon fiber was used liberally in the construction for lighter weight and increased strength.
Ferrari 250 SWB
This car was the epitome of cool. You could pull it out of your garage and drive yourself to the racecourse where you could completely thrash the competition. Yet the 250 SWB had such good road manners and was so stylish you could stop at the coffee shop on the way home and be comfortable. That is if you didn’t mind the jealous stares along the way.
This car was released in 1959 and was the last of the hand built Ferraris. The artistic lines were seductive to say the least. There were two versions built; one with leather interior and a more refined 240 horsepower engine. The other was more race track worthy with a more powerful engine and aluminum instead of steel body.
Ferrari 250 Spyder California
In 1958 Ferrari released this dream machine. Graceful and polished, this convertible was the ultimate 1950s street car. Yes, it could be raced, but it was meant to be seen on the streets. Not that it was timid; the Spyder carried a 2953 cc V-12, and although not designed for racing, the cruiser performed well at the races. In 1959 the Spyder California even took a respectable 5th place at Le Mans.
Radio DJ Chris Evans infamously paid a record £5.6 million for his in 2008. He certainly must agree that with the tail fins cutting the wind and the top down, you could not have a more invigorating driving experience on the track or out on the open California highway. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, try the second-hand listings on Carandclassic.co.uk.
Perhaps the last model built during Enzo Ferrari’s life is what we all think of when we hear the name Ferrari. Muscular and sleek yet somehow elegant, the F40 rides low and roars to life with 478 horsepower. This was the first road legal Ferrari to top the 200 mph mark, and it was the fastest car of its kind when released in 1987.
The truth is the F40 started out to be a race specific car, but in mid-development it went street legal. The racing pedigree, however, stuck with lots of composite materials, twin turbos and twin intercoolers. The car didn’t even have carpeting showing its loyalty to its racing roots. Mercifully the builders included air conditioning perhaps to cool of the overheated response of excited drivers.
When you got behind the wheel of the F40 and put the pedal down, you saw 100 mph in eight seconds, and a quarter mile was ticked off in less than 12. Legendary.