Enzo Ferrari’s passion was building racing cars; however, by 1950 he had come to the conclusion that exclusive road going coupes and convertibles would have to be constructed by the company. There was demand from wealthy followers of Ferrari on the track, and construction of road cars would help fund the racing effort. Early cars were bodied by such coachbuilders as Vignale, Ghia of Turin and Touring of Milan. Ferrari believed that the success of the Scuderia on the racing circuits of the world would attract a customer base for high-performance luxury cars. He was right!
Early Ferrari road cars were built in very small numbers, usually to special customer order, and there was no attempt at standardization. A significant change occurred in 1954 when the Pinin Farina-designed Ferrari 250 Europa GT was launched at the Paris Show. It was Ferrari’s first true production model and the foundation for all of Ferrari’s future 250 models.
The second series of cars, again designed by Pinin Farina, was unveiled at the Geneva Salon in March 1956. Pinin Farina only produced the first few prototypes of this car. At this time the Turin-based coachbuilder was in the process of building a new, much larger production facility, but until it was completed the company would not have the required space to build cars in the quantities now required.
The launch of the Ferrari 250 GTE was the collaboration between Pinin Farina and Enzo Ferrari to produce the most desirable Gran Turisimo with comfort.
Space and large luggage capacity. Not a widely known fact that two-seat models “were not my father’s favourite to drive,” said Piero Ferrari. “He loved the 2+2 … this was his personal car; my father was normally driving himself, but he always had a driver with him, and a little dog. So, for him a two-seat car wasn’t enough.”
Introduced in 1958, this model was an important landmark in the Ferrari production car story, as it marked the point where Pininfarina became, with only one subsequent exception, the sole designer of Ferrari series production cars to date. The engine/chassis combination would, with upgrading and modification, form the backbone of Ferrari production car output in the form of the various 250 GT models, for a decade.
The 250 GT rode smoothly on independent front suspension and telescopic shock absorbers, front and rear. It had a four speed, all-synchromesh gearbox for greater driving ease and it stopped as well as it went thanks to its all-round hydraulic disk brakes. As a long distance “Grand Tourer” it was unsurpassed by its contemporaries. The sumptuous cabin featured swivelling quarter-lights, a large volume of glass for light and visibility and acres of leather and chrome.