The Ferrari 250 Europa GT made its debut at the 1954 Paris Auto Show.
The Ferrari 250 Europa GT's debut at 1953’s Paris Auto Show demonstrated Enzo Ferrari’s determination to cost-effectively produce a greater range of cars.
Built on the robust tubular chassis of the Ferrari 375 America, the Paris Show Ferrari 250 Europa GT had spectacular Vignale coachwork and a 2963cc V-12 based on Lampredi’s long-block engines. These Lampredi 250 engines were quite “square,” with bore and stroke being identical at 68mm.
Though Vignale made the body for that first Ferrari 250 Europa GT, Pinin Farina’s work dominated the series, with all but two coming from Ferrari’s new favorite carrozzeria. Pinin Farina also made the lovely one-off Ferrari 250 Europa GT convertible shown at the 1954 New York Auto Show.
A year after the Europa’s introduction, the Ferrari Europa GT made its debut at Paris. The model was once again dominated by Pinin Farina’s coachwork and was underpinned by a new chassis with a wheelbase shortened from the Ferrari Europa/375 America layout by about eight inches, to 102.3 inches (2600mm). Track was widened. And starting with chassis 0387 GT, the front suspension’s leaf springs were replaced with coil springs, giving the model more precise handling.
The Ferrari 250 Europa GT coachwork was styled by Pinin Farina.
An even bigger change was under the hood. The Ferrari 250 Europa GT’s V-12 measured 2953cc, 10cc less than the Europa’s. But the difference was greater than the displacement indicated, for the Lampredi long-block had been replaced by a Colombo-designed V-12. Bore and stoke were the classic Ferrari 250 measurements of 73 and 58.8mm, identical to those in the race-winning Ferrari 250 MM competition models.
Most Ferrari Europa GTs had coachwork nearly identical to that of the Ferrari 250 Europa. But starting in early 1955, Pinin Farina made a number of Speciales on the Europa GT chassis. Among the first was chassis 0385 GT, with coachwork identical to Pinin Farina’s Ferrari 250 and 375 MM berlinettas. Chassis 0407 had more-traditional front styling on a body quite similar to the “production” Ferrari Europa GT.
That summer, Pinin Farina developed a styling theme that greatly influenced future Ferraris. Europa GT chassis 0393 GT had a striking long-nose coachwork with a fulsome sail panel, a cue carried through on chassis 0425 GT.
Pinin Farina’s themes were clearly evolving. Pinin, his son Sergio, and the talented craftsmen that worked alongside them were establishing a lasting design language.
Stylist Francesco Martinengo was in the thick of things during this yeasty period. Business was rapidly expanding, so “we were often working on the razor’s edge,” he recalled. This led to continual experimentation and refinement of design themes. A wooden body buck would be modified slightly. Or the men might take the buck, or the resulting metal form for a certain body piece or design element, and use it on another car.
“It was really due to the panel beaters that Pinin Farina was able to make the forms that set the world on fire,” Martinengo said. “Some of the areas, like where the windshield meets the hood and fender line, they were delicate sections that were hard to design. We would do it in wood and then fill it in with some material by hand, usually clay. That is how we developed some very intricate details, especially where the windshield meets the roof and where sharp curves would meet flat surfaces.”
Such complexity started to become a thing of the past with chassis 0429 GT. It marked a leap forward for the design theme, one that made the coachwork easier to produce. This Ferrari 250 Europa GT’s silhouette was generally the same as 0393 and 0425, but the rear roofline dropped in front of the trunklid, and the rear wheel arches were all but eliminated. Louvers by the engine compartment and on the greenhouse disappeared, and the grille was less ornate. Restrained, sleek and elegant, the car lacked the flamboyance of the earlier Europa GT Speciales. In all, Pinin Farina built five Ferrari 250 Europa GTs, the last being chassis 0447 GT.
The 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT Coupe Speciale had a more traditional front styling.
Learn about these other great Ferrari Road Cars:
For more fantastic Ferrari information, check out:
- How Ferrari Works
- Ferrari Cars
- Other Cars with Ferrari Engines
- Ferrari History and Biographies
- Ferrari Pictures
- Ferrari F1
- Ferrari Sports Racing Cars
- Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano