The Ferrari Issue
By Amos Kwon
on 8.11.14
There is no more illustrious brand in the history of automobiles than Ferrari S.p.A. From its humble beginnings in 1929 to its current $7.3 billion valuation, Ferrari has always produced the world’s most scintillating cars, both to drive and to ogle. To see even a modern Ferrari on the street, much less a pristine F40, is to have captured a glimpse of automotive heaven.

This is a company whose artistic sensibilities pass on from car to car. The famous eggcrate grille that showed up on the 1948 166 Inter still lives today in the monstrous V12 F12berlinetta; the quad circular taillights that bowed on the 1972 Dino 246 GTS live on through the 2009 F430. There’s virtually no car in the company’s history that doesn’t display clean design — even the interminably wide 1984 Testarossa, with its cheese grater intakes, qualifies. Only a few could be considered ugly by Ferrari standards — and by any other standards, they’re masterworks.

On the other end of the spectrum — Ferrari, perfected — are the most stunning cars ever to put rubber to pavement. These ten pageant winners out of Maranello stir the soul and make car lovers out of hotwheels-vrooming youths.

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1949 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta

Specs

Year: 1948
Type: 2-seat spider
Engine: V12
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Horsepower: 140
Top Speed: 136 mph

The 166 MM is one of the earliest Ferraris to ever grace the earth, and it’s also one of the rarest. The MM stands for the famous Mille Miglia race, and the Barchetta name stands for “little boat”, which is an open-top design for two-seat Ferraris. A scant 25 versions of Barchetta were made, which means even if you’re loaded, you’re not an automatic shoe-in as an owner. Design-wise, this is the iconic early-generation Ferrari. The 166 MM’s large eggcrate grille leads to a long raised hood, punctuated by a beautifully executed small vent. Flanking the striking fascia are two of the longest, sexiest front fenders the world has ever seen. And though the 166 MM is powered by a 160 horsepower V12, it maintains a high degree of performance thanks to its structural rigidity and light weight. It even took first place at its racing debut at the 1950 Mar del Plata in Argentina. Racing pedigree is imperative for vintage Ferraris — but the 166 MM’s stunning simplicity alone gets it onto this list.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Specs

Year: 1962
Type: 2-seat berlinetta
Engine: V12
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Horsepower: 300
0-60: 6.1 seconds
Top Speed: 174 mph

This rare racer might garner over $52 million at this year’s Bonhams’ Quail Lodge auction at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours. It’s understandable; the 300 horsepower V12 250 GTO is an icon among icons, and it’s widely considered the most coveted and most valuable car on earth. Though it was primarily built for racing, and in fact birthed generations of Ferrari race cars, it also owes its place in the pantheon of great Ferraris to its functional beauty: its striking elliptical grille, topped by unmistakable triple vents; its hulking rear fenders and interminable quad exhaust pipes; the vents aft of the front and rear wheels, and the large integrated spoiler, like a ramp off the GTO’s perfectly executed fastback. Finally, in today’s age of low-profile tires and big diameter wheels, the GTO’s tall black sidewalls and Boranni wire wheels are a thing of beauty. Each one of the 36 250 GTOs produced between 1962 and 1964 still exists today, which is one of the automotive world’s biggest blessings.

1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

Specs

Year: 1957
Type: 2-seat spider
Engine: V12
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Horsepower: 300
0-60: 6 seconds
Top Speed: 167 mph

This might just be the most curvaceous Ferrari ever created, and it also happened to destroy everything in its wake on the track. It won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1958, ’60 and ’61 and stands as the last front-engined car to win the storied race. The 250 Testa Rossa, or “Red Head”, was so named for its painted red valve covers. Designed and built by Scaglietti, the body of the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa was most noted for its big pontoon fenders that stretched all the way to the base of the front windshield, giving the 250 TR both a muscular and artistic flair. It’s considered the second most valuable Ferrari (after the 250 GTO), with prices approaching $20 million.

250 GT California Spyder LWB

Specs

Year: 1958
Type: 2-seat spider
Engine: V12
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Horsepower: 228
0-60: 4.5 seconds
Top Speed: 145 mph

If there’s a Ferrari Spyder to covet, it’s this one. The California name simply means Ferrari created it for wealthy Americans to drive and flaunt. Scaglietti designed the California Spyder as a convertible interpretation of the iconic 250 GT, and he kept it light with aluminum in the hood, doors and the trunk. The long wheelbase design and long hood give it supreme elegance, especially with the top down — and the fact that only 50 were made make it a true collector’s prize.

1968 Ferrari 365 “Daytona” GTB/4

Specs

Year: 1968
Type: 2-seat berlinetta or spider
Engine: V12
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Horsepower: 352
Top Speed: 174 mph

Don Johnson had great taste, at least in cars. His black Daytona upstaged even the white Testarossa on any given night. And there’s good reason for that: the 365 GTB/4’s slick wedge shape boasted virtually no angularity, with a neatly curved front end flanked by big yellow parking lights. The long, grand touring-style hood boasted nothing dramatic, but it gave the Daytona its sleek shape. Under that smooth hood snarled a big 4.4-liter V12 engine fed by 6 Weber twin-choke 40mm carburetors, which, together with great weight balance, made for some impressive driving dynamics for such a potent GT car. Though the Spider version was Don’s car of choice, the hard top is a worthy option with its long, sloping roofline.

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