After the original and formidable Ferrari 250 GTO, any use of the 'GTO' name could only be applied to the very best of the breed. Like its formidable forebear, the 288 GTO was intended as a low volume model (just 200 units were planned) to meet the then-existing Group B homologation requirements for international sports car racing. Group B was incredibly popular following its introduction in the early 1980s, and Ferrari was very keen to be involved. However due to several fatal accidents Group B was short-lived, leaving a fully developed and homologated car, but no series to compete in. Yet the anticipation for this no-holds barred supercar was such that Ferrari pressed on and put the GTO into production.
Styled by Pininfarina's Leonardo Fioravanti (of the legendary 365 GTB/4 'Daytona'), the 288 GTO was based on Fioravanti’s other creation, the 308 GTB, and was launched at the Geneva Salon in February 1984. Whilst superficially the GTO shared the design concept of the 308 and later 328, the finished product different in a number of significant ways. The bodywork was constructed not of steel, but of fibreglass and carbon, with lightweight alloy doors, rear decklid and bonnet. The GTO was wider and also longer than the 308. The GTO sported flared wheel arches, larger front and rear spoilers, taller door mirrors and four additional driving lights in the front grille. Its three rear-wing cooling slots recalled the earlier GTO, a deliberate link to its ancestor.
However the appeal of the GTO was as much as a result of its mechanical underpinnings as the potent appearance. The new body was formed following the traditional method of space-frame tubing, but adopting F1 technology in the form of a Kevlar and Nomex bulkhead between driver and engine. Ferrari's considerable experience gained from turbo-charging its Formula 1 engines was deployed in adapting the 308 unit into a firebreathing twin turbo-charged V8 producing 400bhp and over 360lb/ft of torque. In order to comply with Group B regulations, the quad-cam, 32-valve V8 power unit was reduced in capacity from 2,927cc to 2,855cc, mated to two IHI turbochargers. With the associated intercoolers and pipework the V8 motor had to be mounted longitudinally rather than transversely, which necessitated development of a new chassis with a 110mm longer wheelbase.
In terms of performance, the 288 GTO could hit a top speed of 189 mph, making it the fastest road car ever produced at the time. Not only that, the car could reach 60 mph from a standstill in 4.8 seconds and 100 mph in a shade over 10 seconds.
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.
The 288 GTO was the first in the lineage of modern Ferrari supercars, and it remains incredibly rare. This worthy successor to the 250 GTO remains one of the most desirable and sought-after Ferraris of recent times.
This fabulous original example was collected from the factory by its first owners John and Beverley Oates on 2nd February 1985, returning to the UK where it has stayed ever since. The Oates enjoyed their Ferrari supercar for over 10 years before passing it to its second private owner, Mr. Nigel Labram, in 1996. Mr. Labram owned the GTO for 7 years before selling to a Mr. David Gill in 2003.
Having travelled a mere 22,700km during its lifetime, chassis #207 has been serviced and maintained by either main dealers such as Maranello or Graypaul, or well-regarded marque specialists Talacrest, TDH Classics, Nick Cartwright, Bob Houghton, Italia Autosport and Hoyle Fox. Notably the last major service was conducted by Hoyle Fox in August 2016, at a cost of over £12,000.
Supplied with the relevant stamped service book, owners manuals, current and over 20 previous UK MoT certificates, this is very well-documented example of one of the most iconic supercars of the 20th Century.
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