Ferrari 250 racing cars

Ferrari 250 racing cars and Grand Touring

The Ferrari 250 is an iconic series of racing cars and Grand Touring produced by the Italian manufacturer Ferrari in the early 1950s to the mid 1960s This term refers directly to their unusual but “prodigious mechanical” 1 for era, a V12 engine “Colombo” – named after its designer Gioacchino Colombo – with a cubic capacity of 250 cm 3 .

Inaugurated in 1952 by the 250 S , never before a motorization had dominated as long international motor racing , the Ferrari 250 winning both the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio that the 24 Hours of Le Mans or the 12 Sebring hours . This impressive domination will never be repeated by any automaker. But beyond the competition, this series also marks a turning point in the history of the manufacturer , turning it from a small car racing manufacturer to a major car manufacturer.

From 1964 , the Ferrari 250 are gradually replaced by the Ferrari 275 and 330 .


One of the peculiarities common to all Ferrari 250s (with the exception of the 250 Europa ) is their V12 “Colombo” engine , named after its designer, the Italian engineer Gioacchino Colombo . With a cubic capacity of 250 cm 3 , a total capacity of 3 liters (2 953 cm 3 ), it is also the origin of the designation “250”. This engine is in fact the V12 “Colombo” 1.5 liter – the first and smallest V12 in the history of Ferrari that equipped the 125 S – whose bore was raised to 73 mm 2 ;the race remains set at 58.8 mm .

Narrower, lower and smaller than the one designed by Aurelio Lampredi a few years later, the Colombo engine is sometimes referred to as the English short block 3 , Note 1 . From a technical point of view, this engine has many advantages for the time: the linear speed of the pistons moderated thanks to a bore greater than the stroke , the center of gravity placed low, the V-block open at 60 ° entirely composed of light alloys or the distribution provided with a camshaft head for each bank of cylinders. This V12 was also incredibly powerful – almost 100 horsepower per liter – but also reliable and enduring 2 .

The first Ferrari 250s are built on a long chassis, designated by the letters LWB for long wheel base , with a wheelbase of 2,600 mm , except for the 250 Europa whose longer “Lampredi” engine requires a wheelbase of 2,800 mm 4 . In 1960 , the 250 GT Berlinetta SWB inaugurates the first 250 short wheel base (SWB ). With a wheelbase length of 2,400 mm , this change is intended to improve the handling of the automobile, especially in bends 5 , 4, but also benefits the visual balance of the automobile 4 . The generation of the Ferrari 250 is also known for having inaugurated the disc brake systems 6 . They are finally generally drawn by the Turin coachbuilder Pinin Farina , who will adopt the name “Pininfarina” in a single word in 1961 , and bodied in Modena by Carrozzeria Scaglietti .

Racing models

Ferrari 250 S

Replacing the 225 S , the Ferrari 250 S is the first Ferrari of the lineage of 250. Mue the first by the V12 engine “Colombo”, then developing a power of about 230 hp , the 250 S has more value of experimental prototype whose best test site would be the Mille Miglia . And the result is conclusive. Committed to the Mille Miglia in 1952, the Ferrari 250 S is victorious against its main rival, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 7 .

Ferrari 250 MM

Building on the success of the 250 S , in 1953 Ferrari began production of a new model to replace it, in collaboration for the first time with Turin’s bodybuilder Pinin Farina . The Ferrari 250 MM (” Mille Miglia “), named in honor of the victory achieved on the circuit of the Thousand Miles in 1952, acquires a new tubular frame 8 on the same wheelbase of 2,400 mm as the 250 S but lightened by 50 kg .

With the V12 “Colombo” raised to a power of 240 hp , the 250 MM was certainly not a “beast of competition” – his competitive career will be long yet 9 – but its popularity was real 10 . Overcoming the “excesses” of the 250 S , it sports the first grille grille, taken over and reviewed by all 250 9 . Fifteen copies of the berlinette and an equivalent number of Spider assembled by Vignale on a drawing of Giovanni Michelotti , will be made 8 .

Images of the Ferrari 250 MM Vignale in SCCA races in the USA can be seen in the 1954 movie The Bolides of Hell

Ferrari 250 Monza
The Ferrari 250 Monza is a car a bit special in the lineage of 250. The 250 Monza is actually a model whose mechanics comes from the 250 MM and is installed on the chassis of a Ferrari 750 Monza . This “hybrid” design, however, was at the origin of only four models. Two of them are dressed by Pininfarina with a design similar to the Ferrari 500 Mondial while the other two are by Scaglietti in the style of the 750 Monza

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

Directed by the Carrozzeria Scaglietti , the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa dominates the sport-prototypes of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Powered by the V12 engine “Colombo”, she won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1958 , 1960 and 1961 13 . These victories can be explained by the particular context in which the 250 Testa Rossa was born. Following the fatal accidents of Pierre Levegh at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1955 and of Alfonso de Portago at the Mille Miglia in 1957, the CSIdecides to limit engine displacement to three liters in order to reduce “escalation to the power of the monstrous Aston Martin , Jaguar and Maserati ” 14 . Ferrari was already ready for this upheaval as the Colombo engine has long been three liters.

Appeared in May 1957 in the form of a prototype during the 1,000 km Nürburgring , it was not until November 1957 that the production of the “client” version was started. Built from 1956 to 1961, the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa is one of the most highly rated Ferrari cars. One of them was awarded in May 2009 at a price of 9 020 000 euros, a record 15 .

The very special design of the 250 Testa Rossa is actually more useful than aesthetic. The originality of the front wings makes it possible to cover the wheels only partially to better cool the drum brakes 13 . However, this unconventional style will be softened during production, leaving the wings very cut in favor of two openings on either side of the large frontal air intake

Ferrari 250 P

Produced in 1963 , the career of the Ferrari 250 P in automobile competition will be, admittedly very short, but very prestigious. Powered by the single-shaft, 3-liter V12 engine from the 250 Testa Rossa , it won the 12 Hours of Sebring , the 24 Hours of Le Mans , the 1,000 kilometers of the Nürburgring and offered a new title of World Champion of the Year. builders at Ferrari 16 .

But beyond its success, the Ferrari 250 P turns a page in the history of the Italian manufacturer. It indeed gives rise to a “prestigious line” prototype mid-engine 16 . In its first tests, the 250 P already shows many driving qualities. Most Ferrari Touring cars are at that time equipped with engine placed in front position. Only the Ferrari Dino is equipped with a rear central position engine. The successes including the two consecutive victories won at the Targa Florio by the latter and those of the 250 P will convince Enzo Ferrarito adopt this type of engine location for the next models

Ferrari 250 GTO

The Ferrari 250 GTO , a touring car produced from 1962 to 1963 , is widely regarded as the quintessential Ferrari models of the time and one of the most famous sports cars of all time. The name GTO means ” Gran Turismo Omologata ” 17 in Italian is “approved for the Grand Tourism”. Inheriting the 300 hp V12 enginefrom the Testa Rossa prototype, lightened thanks to the use of an all-aluminum body and benefiting from a sophisticated aerodynamics, the GTO immediately outperforms all its rivals. She becomes triple world champion in GT (1962, 1963 and 1964) 18 .

Beyond its fantastic sporting achievements, the GTO has entered legend primarily for its aesthetics 18 . In total, 39 models were produced: 36 in 1962 and 1963, plus 3 others in 1964. In 2004 , Sports Car International placed the 250 GTO in eighth place in the list of the best sports cars of the 1960s . Motor Trend Classic , meanwhile, named the 250 GTO in first place on the list of “best Ferrari of all time