Car of the Week – Ferrari 288 GTO

Car of the Week – Ferrari 288 GTO

The winner of this week is one of the best and fastest cars produced in the 80’s, the Ferrari 288 GTO. While the production story of this beast is rather straightforward compared to the last car of the week winners, it is still a classic that is worth mentioning. Let’s dig in without further ado to find out why this glorious classic Ferrari is selling for millions of dollars.

Born from a Racer, Stayed on the Road

Assembled and produced in Maranello and designed by Pininfarina, the Ferrari 288 GTO (Gran Turismo Omologata) was introduced in 1984 and immediately caught the gaze of the press. The car was already foreshadowed in 1977 Geneva Auto Salon with a 308 GTB design exercise, and distinguished itself enough to be a standalone model even though it is based on one. What makes the 288 GTO so special is that it is essentially a homologation version of the 308 GTB, which raced in Group B rally class of FIA by private teams. 288 GTO, on the other hand, was never designed to go rallying in the first place. Despite this, the investment Ferrari did on the GTO is nothing short of immense, as they kept innovating themselves throughout the production phase of the 288 GTO. It was bigger, wider yet lighter as a result of heavy usage on molded fiberglass on body panels except bonnet and roof, which were made with kevlar and carbon fiber. Steel was only used for the doors, dropping the curb weight to just 1,160 kg (2557 lbs) making it one of the lightest sports cars of its time. To compare, its rival Lamborghini Countach weighs at least 200 kilograms more while producing the same amount of power.

While it weighs as much as a medium-sized pigeon, the numbers keep getting better and better. As it was based on 308 GTB, the 288 GTO is powered by the same F114 B 000 V8 engine but with 2.9L of displacement and two IHI turbochargers strapped to it, producing 395 HP and 496 nm. The engine was mounted longitudinally in contrast to 308 in order to gain more space for the turbochargers. GTO was then fitted with a 5-speed racing manual gearbox that offered smoother and quicker gear changes than any other car at the time and allowed for a 0 to 60 time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 304 km/h (189 mph), basically making it one of the fastest cars at the time. The car was also widened to accommodate the wider Goodyear NCT performance tires, which also helped for the stopping power. 272 models were made in total between 1984 and 1987, and famous Ferrari drivers like Keke Rosberg, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher also owned the last few built GTO’s. While it never raced unlike its sibling 308 GTB, Ferrari briefly had plans to put 288 GTO on the circuit racing scene with a Group B prototype, known as 288 GTO Evoluzione.

The 288 GTO Evoluzione was a rather displeasing car to look at unlike its road version, but it had big punch under the bonnet. The power of the 2.9L V8 was increased to 650 HP and 649 nm, exactly at the limit of Group B regulations. As it weighed only 940 kg (2072 lbs), the Evoluzione showed great promise on paper, but sadly, Group B was axed in 1986 after Henri Toivonen’s devastating fatal crash, ending 288 GTO Evoluzione’s career before it even began. Ferrari simply couldn’t fit it in any other discipline, therefore, only 6 were built rather than the planned 20 cars. One of the six is known to be in posession of Ferrari, and the remaining five is claimed to be still out there. Thank you for reading our new car of the week winner and we’ll see you on the next one.