Journal: What Is The Greatest Ferrari Ever?

What Is The Greatest Ferrari Ever?

By Yoav Gilad
October 6, 2014
58 comments

Photography Courtesy of Ferrari North America, and by Yoav Gilad

Ferrari was founded in 1947, and now they’re in the top tier of auto manufacturers when it comes to heritage, racing, and style. There is also a mystique about them. Is it the sounds their wonderful engines make? Or the feeling of a well-timed shift when the shifter clinks home through the gates? Or simply the rush under full gallop?

It is all of it. Over the years, a small-ish factory in Maranello has consistently cranked out hit after hit and any must-drive list should include at least a couple of il Commendatore’s cavallinos. So we’d like to know what is the greatest Ferrari ever? Please limit your replies to cars built by Ferrari SpA, not cars built for others prior to the incorporation of Mr. Enzo Ferrari’s carrozzeria.

Join the Conversation
Related
0 0 votes
Article Rating
58 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gary Micallef
Gary Micallef
3 years ago

250 swb berlinetta is my favorite. However the 250lm or lusso is also magnificent.

nicola zurlo
nicola zurlo
3 years ago

250 GTE

David
David
3 years ago

Having studied this question for a while now, there are to me, three answer possible depending on the budget.

The”reasonable” budget best Ferrari would be the 365 GT4 BB. It is underrated, lighter and more powerful than a 512, looks stunning, and quite rare (387 examples built).

The “expensive but realistic” budget best Ferrari would be the F50. It is also underrated, mid-V12, much more driveable than a F40, much better built too, and more analog than the Enzo. It’s quite rare too compared to the rest of the big 5 Ferraris, only 349 were made. It is overall, the modern non assisted V12 screaming Ferrari that is the most enjoyable to drive in my opinion.

The “I will never be able to pay for it ever” is the 1964 275 GTB4 competizione. This car is truly the next generation GTO. Underrated too, because not known by everyone, unlike a 250 GTO, it is much rarer (4 built in 1964 and then 12 in 1966 for clients, the 1966 is much more 275 looking), and looks stunning. For a 1964 example, you can expect to pay up to 20M€ (up to 7M€ for a 1966), which is approximately 40% of the price of an average GTO: it is great value in a sense.
People proposing non V12 Ferraris as the best greatest Ferrari are missing the point of a Ferrari itself to me.

Manos Stefanakos
Manos Stefanakos(@manos_stefanakos)
3 years ago

Having only ever driven a 599, and finding it somewhat heavy at slow speeds, all I am left with, by way of personal criteria, is what Ferrari made me want a Ferrari. That honor would go to a 1967 330 GT 2 + 2 Series II. I do have to say, that for me, the styling the last 15 or so years has become too aggressive, too race car like, with the F12 being a gorgeous exception.

Frank
Frank
3 years ago

It shout be the 250 275 late 60’s era. Barchetta’s are cute early 50’s but not the grown up machines of the 60’s

Montgomery
Montgomery
4 years ago

250 GT California – Prove me wrong.

Francois Swart
Francois Swart(@fb_10153058177456396)
6 years ago

288 GTO True spirit of Ferrari with modern tech but still allowing the driver to control everything

Chris Dyer
Chris Dyer(@dyerhaus)
6 years ago

[b]1975 Ferrari 308 GT4[/b]

How did I come to that conclusion? Well, obviously, this was not an easy question to answer. There’s been so many amazing, incredible, beautiful and historically significant cars made by Ferrari it’s hard to choose just one. I determined my choice by thinking of how I would actually use the car.

I enjoy driving. A lot. Any car I own must be driven—I don’t believe in garage queens. I also don’t want a car with a price tag that has anything to do with millions. I currently own a mid-engined car, and that’s where the engine should be as nothing handles better. I almost chose the [b]Dino 246GT[/b] as I think it’s one of the most beautiful cars ever made… but decided against it since it never actually carried the Ferrari badge.

So, that’s how and why I chose the Ferrari 308 GT4. It’s a drivers car.

It also helps that I have a soft-spot in my heart for classic wedge-shaped cars… and that I find the 70s the greatest era in car making. But, trust me, that decision wasn’t reached lightly.

Steve Bisel
Steve Bisel(@sbisel)
6 years ago

The 330P4 … only 4 or 5 ever made … but, the most beautiful race car ever produced. Three of the cars finished 1 – 2 – 3 at 24 hours at Daytona. In that year, Ford beat Ferrari in Le Mans, but … I think … Ferrari won the Manufacturers Championship.

Steve
Steve
7 years ago

Enzo, the man, not the car!

Patrick Frawley
Patrick Frawley(@fastpatrick)
7 years ago

Never an easy question, made ever more difficult by the passage of time and the difficulties in comparing what was great in one era to another. Still, a few reasonable nominations and a few dismissals:

Not the F40, not the 365GTB/4. The F40 in its garish excess and insincere pandering to a misconstrued ideal does not measure up at all well against its immediate predecessor, the far more elegant and civilized 288 GTO, or its ancestors such as the 250 GT SWB. Hugely fast, sure, but so is a tuned Fox-body Mustang. The Daytona…I would love to own one, even as I accept that it is in some ways inferior to those same (much closer) ancestors: not as nimble, not as adroit.

Not inclined to pick a Formula 1 car; those are almost the perfect example of planned obsolescence, of a machine that must give way to something better as time goes on. Rule changes may give an emotional preference to certain eras, but as a whole – well, I’ll quote Enzo: The best car is the next one.

Greatest? Impossible question. Top five? Better, if still ridiculously exclusionary. Top five, three racers and two street cars:

1. 412 MI. The super-Testa Rossa with the Lampredi “big-block” four-cam V-12. The swan song for the age of open-road racers; Taruffi drove one to victory in the last Mille Miglia. Phil Hill said it was his all-time favorite. Strong, fast, perfectly resolved.

2. 330 P4. Perhaps the best endurance racer ever produced by the Scuderia. Fast, reliable, wonderful handling (Jackie Stewart said it was the only car he ever drove that really worked right at Brands Hatch), styling that fifty years on still looks otherworldly.

3. 212 E Montagna. One car (chassis Dino 020) with one motor (Tipo 232, a unique two-liter flat-12) run for one season (1969) with one driver (Peter Schetty). It was entered in seven races, it won seven races, it set six course records. The racing equivalent of a pitcher starting once and throwing a perfect game. The pinnacle. Slightly eccentric in terms of size and weight compared to standard Ferrari practice, but in what it did it stakes a serious claim to not only the greatest Ferrari, but the greatest racing car of all time.

4. 250 GT SWB California Spider. The soul of a racer, the character of a Renaissance bon vivant. Everything one could want in a sports car.

5. 550 Maranello. In which righteousness is grasped again and held firm. An identity statement: We are Ferrari, we build the best and greatest Grand Touring cars on Earth. Pointed the way for the company to build success upon success to the current day. Not the most obvious answer, but as time goes on I believe it will make a very strong case for itself.

And I want to include the 312Pb and the 288 GTO and the 500 Superfast…like I said, impossible question. But plenty of wonderful answers.

Matthew Haber
Matthew Haber(@mhaber9)
7 years ago

I think that the TR should be on the list, mostly because it was visually as wild as the 80’s actually were(when it debuted) I think that the early 90’s models were better though

I think the F40 should be on the list, well, you all know why

I think that the F355 should be on there simply because I love it and my god it sounds amazing
I suggest the 458 as well simply because it was just so damn good when it came out

But the best of the best I think is probably the 250 california, it is so iconic, beautiful and just dreamy

Shawn Bosarge
Shawn Bosarge(@shawn-bosarge)
7 years ago

The Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Spider! An absolutely amazing car with an amazing history to boot.

http://www.rickcarey.com/Catalog\%20Descriptions/RM\%20330\%20TRI-LM\%200808/RM_330_TRI-LM_0808.htm

Jan-Michael
Jan-Michael
7 years ago

288 GTO. Blends the best of the classics with relatively modern touches. Fast but not overly so. Just perfect.

Duncan
Duncan
7 years ago

the 250 GT series. As the bread-and-butter of both the showroom and the customer racing sides during the late ’50s and early ’60s when Ferrari grew into what it would become, this car was the base upon which all else became possible. It paid the bills and put trophies in the cabinet. The other cars were the window dressing.

Roland Söderlind
Roland Söderlind
7 years ago

The greatest Ferrari ever is the 275GTB/4 short nose. After that the FXX and third the F40 even though I´m tired seeing pictures of it. Just seen a You Tube- clip with Jaques Laffitte driving one at a racecourse. WHAT A SOUND!! Thats what a car should sound like!

samir shirazi
samir shirazi(@samirshirazi)
7 years ago

250 GTO
the ultimate true GT car ever

Jono51
Jono51(@jono51)
7 years ago

250GTO – the market does not lie.

And nothing without a V12 engine should even make the shortlist.

Tom Faires
Tom Faires
7 years ago

Old, 335 S/TR 250. Modern, 288GTO. Both sets defined the next 20 years of respective top designs. My favorite is the 412S/MI.

ADRIAN H. OSKAM
ADRIAN H. OSKAM
7 years ago

MOST DEFINITELY THE GREAT 250 GTO. BEFORE THAT THE 250 SWB AND AFTER THAT THE DAYTONA

Gomes
Gomes
7 years ago

1st – F40
2nd – F40
3rd – hmm….. F40!

And then you can argue about the rest of the list! 😉

Yes, I know I’m being very biased! But reason is simple… First I knew the F40… and then the others!
I guess that finding the greatest ever is a bit of a strech. However, I’m not seeing no other Ferrari to be so iconic, so full of character as the F40.
Of course there are others that are master pieces of engineering… and others that are sheer class! (V12’s… the GTB Lusso… etc)
But for me, the one that embraces everything a Ferrari should be is… ok… you know it by now! 🙂

GregS
GregS
7 years ago

I believe the correct answer would be the 1957 Ferrari 250 TR.

PeterV
PeterV
7 years ago

288 GTO Evoluzione,
check it out, it’s the predecessor and study-model for the abovementioned F40’s !!

mtdrift
mtdrift(@mtdrift)
7 years ago
Reply to  PeterV

True, but the 288 was so limited in its production that it barely made the ripple it should have. F40’s weren’t exactly produced in great numbers, but it captured the imagination in ways the 288 didn’t – I think a lot of the of love we have for the 288 (me included) is retrospective. In its day, it was mostly ignored.

Gil Folk
Gil Folk(@gilfolk)
7 years ago

The Ferrari F40, in my opinion, is the greatest Ferrari ever made. The car is now over 20 years old and is STILL recognized as one of the greatest supercars ever made; that, alone, speaks volumes. Truth be told, there almost isn’t a single Ferrari that isn’t great; the 250 series was incredible, the 246 Dino (yes, that’s a Ferrari too), the 3×8’s, the Enzo, the 458…all are truly incredible in their own right. But if there was to only be one to claim the top tier, it would be the F40. As Enzo Ferrari said, “I don’t care about the panel gaps or looks, I just want the driver to $#!* his pants when he steps on the gas.” Believe me when I say that the F40 fulfills that quote, even in today’s world.

mtdrift
mtdrift(@mtdrift)
7 years ago

Uh, how is the F40 not dominating this discussion?

Ferraris have always been beautiful, exclusive, and fast, but the F40 launched the company into the stratosphere as the leader in the business of building dreams and spurring the revolution in supercar manufacturing – especially after the awkward and sad period of the early 80’s (Testarossas and the 288 notwithstanding).

The BBs were solid performers, the Testarossa raised Ferrari’s profile in the popular imagination via [i]Miami Vice[/i], and the 308 was an important presence on [i]Magnum PI[/i]- but none of the cars themselves could hold a candle to the otherworldly performance and panache of the F40. It’s the bar by which all past and future Ferraris are measured.

Second place? The FF.

Paul Glyde
Paul Glyde
7 years ago

The ‘greatest Ferrari ever’ is the one you actually own and drive

Pedro Rocha
Pedro Rocha
7 years ago

may be betwin 250 GT Lusso or F40!

Gonzalo
7 years ago

250GTO

Rolf Sigrist
Rolf Sigrist(@rolfsigrist)
7 years ago

I’m only able to judge for street Ferrari cars:
365 GTB/4 and 250 SWB in the classic sector; F40 and F50 for the more modern (although by now classic’s as well) F-cars.

Frantisek Simon
Frantisek Simon(@frantisek)
7 years ago

250TR + f40 + 360 CS

MOI
MOI
7 years ago

250 SWB what else?

frontkratzer
frontkratzer
7 years ago

testarossa

AndyB
AndyB
7 years ago

Now that I am older than 13, I am a little bit bored with what is the greatest *** EVER? What are the 10 best **** EVER?
Why can’t it just be what is your favourite Ferrari? Or 10 classics that are good for a budget enthusiast?
Maybe we should have another discussion on who has the greatest dad? Or why Superman is better than Batman.

Andy B
Andy B
7 years ago
Reply to  Yoav Gilad

512 bbi, thanks for asking. I generally really enjoy your articles.

T.G.
T.G.
7 years ago

Those who drove the big engine 340, 375mm/plus were true heros

Alvaro
Alvaro
7 years ago

Any of the 250 series.

ronaldin
ronaldin
7 years ago

250 swb

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani(@ben-shahrabani)
7 years ago

For me, and even though it is a little before my time, the 275 GTB. It was probably the last of the Ferrari’s that was built as a dual purpose sports car in that very cool and romantic period where you could drive to the office during the week, and then take it to the track. They don’t make them like that anymore.

JB21
JB21(@jb21)
7 years ago

Because I’m a child of 70s and 80s, I’d say 512BB is right up there, along with 308/328. Everybody knows though, it’s kind of gotta be F40 (/288GTO, I kind of think of them as a pack). For me though, 348 is probably the greatest Ferrari – it totally ruined my childhood Ferrari dream. Never thought that would be possible.

Ulf Poschardt
Ulf Poschardt(@fb_100003190471296)
7 years ago

250 GT Pininfarina Coupé. Minimalistic hyperelegance.

Nick Ayrton
Nick Ayrton(@nschots)
7 years ago

There are lots of variables on this. There are F1 cars, there are GT cars, competition cars, barchettas, berlinettas, road cars, elegant cars.. Also, and not less important, we have to say that in the words of Enzo, he started building cars for costumers JUST for having money for the competition, so saying this, all the efforts from Ferrari in the 50s it was just for racing. And hell yeah, the 50s are the BEST decade ever in Ferrari. So.. Of course that there are the most stylish cars on the history (on my opinion) like the 250MM, the Passo Corto and the 250TR, but also there are amazing competition cars like the 375MM or 375PLUS which should be here also. Leaving the F1 cars, becouse in my opinion they would be in a different thread, i would say that the best Ferraris ever are the 250TR, 250SWB, 330LMB, 375MM/PLUS, and of course and not from the sixties, the 275GTB/4 Alloy.
I let you choose whatever from those that i named haha

Fellali
Fellali
7 years ago

250 GT TDF.

Perfect in all respects

Fernando Bunster
Fernando Bunster(@fernandobunster)
7 years ago

330GTC

Giovanni La Monica
Giovanni La Monica(@fb_100000206843119)
7 years ago

Hard question …. But for me the 250 GTO 🙂

JOE
JOE(@sonimod)
7 years ago

The best Ferrari is the testarossa by far, the one with the two flying mirrors, the last of the old school by Enzo without the electronics you see in modern Ferraris of today. A true icon of the 80’s the first true supercar.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

Matthew Lange ;

I’ll take issue with you on several points ; 1) None of the recent F1 cars could ever be considered the best . Fact is when Ferrari was winning no one else was even in the game … not to mention the FIA showing extreme bias towards Ferrari doing all they could to make sure the competition wouldn’t stand a chance [ Dominated in the Courts and Boardrooms being more the actual fact of the matter ] And when they were not winning .. they were absolute dogs 2) The Maranello twins 550/575 . Both are pigs around town … boring as nails to drive at anything even remotely approaching legal speeds and at above those speeds are a royal pain in the buttocks to drive on public roads . On track both are a joke . .As well as both being uglier that the south end of a north bound mule and the beginning of the end of the ‘ Beautiful ‘ Ferrari era … both ushering in the ‘ Cosmic Jellybean ‘ design zeitgeist Ferrari is still in today 3) The 250 GT SWB needed a five speed about as much as Bill Gates needs a few billion more dollars . Sure it’d be nice .. but hardly necessary 4) The 288 GTO is a cinch to drive in the wet . This I know personally .. not from internet mythology 5) The 250 GTO is worth exactly what the market says its worth . Period !

And as far as the 365GTB/4 of which you own one . Point blank .. its younger [ and prettier IMO ] sister the 365GTC/4 [ of which I owned one ] is twice the joy to drive on public roads … can take on an equally driven 365GTB/4 on the road or track and come out on top [ been there .. done that … several times ] and .. was a better bargain to purchase [ used ] along with appreciating more consistently as well . Where as the GTB/4 has , is and always will wax and wane according to the latest whims amongst the collectors crowd

Finally …as to the 365GTB/4’s competition history . Without delving into all the details .. suffice it to say your revisionist version of the 365GTC/4’s racing success does not match up to the actual history of the Daytona’s rather limited and fairly unimpressive results in the overall scheme of things [ ” Daytona ” ; Braden & Roush ]

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
7 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

I’ve driven the GTC/4 many times (my Dad owns two right now) and in my opinion it does not hold a candle to the Daytona as a drivers car. It’s a lovely GT car although I find the seats uncomfortable and lack support. The 250SWB does need a 5 speed in my opinion which comes from doing many continental tours in my Dad’s old one. He investigated putting one in but there was not a way to do it without a modification to the chassis which he didn’t want to do.

It’s not a revisionist version of the Daytona’s competition history they are statements of fact that it won the GT class 3 times at Le Mans. I also have the Braden & Roush book you reference although I cannot find your particular quote in the chapter on the race cars which I have just re-read. I much prefer the quote , “In all the Daytona class victory and index of energy victory at the 72 Le Mans was evidence that the car needed very little modification to be truly competitive. The sweep at Le Mans (it took the first five places in GT that year) also attested to the ultimate reliability of the design.”

Andy Subbiondo
Andy Subbiondo(@andys120)
7 years ago

The [b]250 Testa Rossas [/b]in the hads of Phil Hill, Olivier Gendebien and others had a string of victories and high places at LeMans that arguably did more to establish the legend of Ferrari than any other model.

Foad
Foad
7 years ago

A tough question, and likely why people end up collecting Ferraris as each model has its own undeniable sweet spot. However, if I had to pick one car the captures the sound, the feel, the style and the performance that is Ferrari, it would be the 512 TR – soul stirring sounds from the flat 12, striking looks without equal before or since, with modern performance, and most of all, a sense of engagement that you cant get in newer (faster) cars. 512 TR all the way!

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
7 years ago

Greatest race car is easy the Ferrari F2002 and F2004 F1 cars. While it’s easy to get romantic about the older racers these two destroyed the competition in 2002 and 2004 respectively. Both won an equal number of races but considering the F2004 is probably the fastest F1 car ever made (it still holds the lap record at most of the tracks that have been unaltered since 2004) I will go with that one as the winner.
Road car is tougher and requires a bit of a split between best and greatest. The best for me is the 550/575 Maranello, it strikes the perfect balance between GT and sportscar and isn’t crazy fast as the more recent cars so it actually isn’t boring at legal road speeds. The 288GTO is beautiful but lacks luggage space and is a handful in the wet. The F40 is too uncivilised for me great car though it is. The 250SWB handles superbly but needs a 5 speed gearbox so that 3.0 engine isn’t being worked so hard on long runs. The 250GTO is beautiful and fantastic but it cannot be so great as to be worth 10 times more than many of the other 60’s Ferraris.
No for the greatest I’m am going to go with the one that sits in my garage the 365GTB/4 Daytona (did anyone at Petrolicious expect me to say anything other than that 🙂 ). The fastest production road car of all in it’s day, and far more usable (and safer) than it’s arch rival the Lamborghini Miura. The big 4 cam V12 still screams at the top of the rev range but unlike the earlier smaller capacity V12s in the 275 and 250SWB, it has plenty of torque when you just want to cruise along in top gear. It also has a very good competition history even though Ferrari never had any intention of using it as a race car. The Daytona scored 3 consecutive class wins at Le Mans wins at Le Mans and would have had a fourth if it had been correctly homologated in 71. Daytonas also finished 1-2 in the 72 Tour de France. It’s greatest result though was a 2OA at the 1979 Daytona 24 hours six years after the Daytona went out of production.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
7 years ago
Reply to  Yoav Gilad

Only if by greatest you mean worst in ever single way 🙂

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle(@mosler)
7 years ago

This was a really hard choice to make i must admit but im gonna settle on the Ferrari Daytona. You have the long hood mixed with almost a slick wedge styling and add the snarling v12. It made a very impressive GT for its time.

Pierro
Pierro(@pierroldingo)
7 years ago

Not the easiest question you’ve ever asked us ! I would go for the 288GTO… Legend !