LMC is very proud to offer for sale this very special 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO
The original, immortal 250 GTO had been developed for the FIA GT Championship, duly taking the manufacturer's title for Ferrari in 1962, 1963 and 1964; clearly, any revival of the 'GTO' name could only be permitted for a very special car indeed. Enter the 288 GTO. Like its illustrious forebear, the 288 GTO (the initials stand for Gran Turismo Omologato) was conceived as a limited-edition model, just 200 units being planned to meet the then-existing Group B homologation requirements for international sports car racing. Styled by Pininfarina's Leonardo Fioravanti, creator of the awe-inspiring Ferrari 365GTB/4 'Daytona', the 288 GTO was based on the 308 GTB (another Fioravanti creation) and made its public debut at the Geneva Salon in February 1984. Fioravanti later recalled Enzo Ferrari's original design brief. 'There was no specific instruction, just to produce a car based on the 308 GTB that could be used for racing.'
Although superficially similar to the contemporary 308 GTB Quattrovalvole, the 288 GTO was radically different beneath the skin, mounting its V8 engine longitudinally rather than transversely, a change that necessitated a new chassis with a wheelbase extended from 234cm to 245.1cm. This new frame was constructed of steel tubes in the traditional manner while incorporating the latest in Formula 1-derived composite technology in the form of a Kevlar and Nomex bulkhead between the driver and engine. The alteration in engine layout had been made to accommodate twin IHI turbo-chargers and their associated Behr inter-coolers and plumbing; the adoption of forced induction requiring that the quad-cam, 32-valve V8 be downsized from 2,927cc to 2,855cc to comply with the regulations. Ferrari's considerable experience gained from turbo-charging its Formula 1 engines was deployed in adapting the 308 unit, the latter in highly modified 288 GTO form producing 400bhp at 7,000 rpm and a mighty 366lb/ft of torque at just 3,800 revs. Top speed was a staggering 189mph.
Its three rear-wing cooling slots deliberately recalling the earlier GTO, the 288 body likewise benefited from the adoption of F1 technology, being constructed of glass fiber and a mixture of the lightweight composite materials Kevlar and carbon fiber. Aerodynamically refined in the wind tunnel, the 288 GTO sported flared wheelarches, larger front and rear spoilers, taller door mirrors and four additional driving lights in the front grille, these subtly altered looks combining elegance with muscularity in equal measure. Given its race-bred, state-of-the-art technology and drop-dead gorgeous looks, it is not surprising that the 288 GTO appealed to Formula 1 drivers of the day, with Ferrari's Michele Alboretto and René Arnoux, and even McLaren's Nikki Lauda, numbered among its owners. In the event, the 288 GTO never contested the races for which it had been conceived, as the FIA axed Group B, citing lack of manufacturer interest as the reason.
Testament to its relevance in reviewing the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB, Road & Track chose to compare it with a 288 GTO, producing many memorable quotes, from author Chris Chilton: 'The 288 GTO's blistered fenders and quad headlamps are pure lust', 'If there's one thing that really dates the 288, it's the steering because it's finger-tingling spectacular. Short on kickback but big on the richly textural feedback that reminds you how sanitized most modern systems are' 'While the GTO wasn't Maranello's first boosted mid-engine road car, it's the first one you should care about.' and 'There are no disappointments with the GTO; you make no excuses for its age. You drive it, abuse it like a new car. And then you get out wondering how it must have felt in 1985 to experience something so brutally rapid as its 189-mph top speed.'
With total production amounting to only 272 cars, every one of which was sold prior to the start of production in July 1984, these cars have been covetable ever since the production ceased in 1986. Priced at $85,000 new, within the next three years asking prices for the few that had made their way to North America were pushing seven figure sums. The modest number built particularly compared to all subsequent Ferrari flagship supercars has ensured that today it is truly a worthy successor to the 250 GTO and remains one of the most desirable and sought-after Ferraris of recent times.
Four months after first bursting to life in Ferrari's Maranello workshops, this coveted Ferrari 288 GTO arrived in the United States through Daytona Imports in May of 1985. The original owner who managed to secure one of the just 272 examples built was an Orthopaedic Surgeon from Texas. He would retain ownership of this powerful Ferrari until just recently. Boardwalk Ferrari in nearby Plano, Texas was called upon to service this potent supercar during his stewardship, keeping it in fine working order. On August 24th, 1994, this 288 GTO was shown at the 31st annual Ferrari Club of America Concours in Monterey. Finished in timeless Rosso Corsa paint over a Nero leather interior and fitted with air conditioning and power windows from the factory, this well-optioned 288 GTO is a very good example of Ferrari's second model to bear the GTO designation.
This numbers-matching Ferrari recently underwent a major service performed by an authorized Ferrari dealer. Overall, this 288 GTO is in great condition, having benefitted from one long-term owner. The original interior, trimmed in black leather, has an even, gentle patina throughout.
The original books and tool kit accompany the sale of this excellent GTO, as does a copy of Marcel Massini's history report further adding to its already strong appeal. With just 272 examples produced and fewer still delivered to the US, this great example offers a rare opportunity to add one of these coveted, turbocharged Ferraris to your collection.