From late-1954 to 1960, Ferrari did not produce a four-seat model. That changed with introduction of the Ferrari 250 GT 2+2, commonly known as the Ferrari 250 GTE.
The Ferrari 250 GTE was the personal choice of founder Enzo Ferrari.
Such a lengthy gap was surprising, given Enzo Ferrari’s preference. The two-seat models “were not my father’s favorite to drive,” said Piero Ferrari. “He loved the 2+2 … this was his personal car. My father was normally driving himself, but he always had a driver with him, and a little dog. So for him, a two-seat car wasn’t enough.”
The first prototype was made in the first half of 1959, its coachwork designed and built by Pinin Farina. The Ferrari 250 GTE’s development also marks the increasing influence of Sergio Pininfarina, for a scale model was tested in the Turin Politechnic Institute’s wind tunnel.
“I was an assistant there in the aerodynamic branch before I got my degree,” Sergio Pininfarina recalled. “My father gave me the task to test and develop the Ferraris, (and) aerodynamics had a tremendous importance for noise, for rigidity, for the glass. To have a glass in the right position, it is not an effort (for airflow). To have a glass in the wrong position, the strength of the air is against you. It makes an impression and then a noise.”
The Ferrari 250 GTE was the most commercially successful Ferrari of its day.
Ferrari combined wind tunnel research, more prototypes (four) tested for more miles than ever before, and the well-proven 250 drivetrain and underpinnings to create what would become by a substantial margin its best-selling car thus far.
“A not only grand, but glorious, touring car,” Road & Track called the Ferrari 2+2 in its 1962 road test. Enzo Ferrari certainly thought so — he was one of the model’s 954 owners, using it as his personal car.
A version with more power was introduced in 1963. Called the Ferrari 330 America, it used a detuned edition of the 4.0-liter V-12 from the 400 Superamerica. Different carburetors dropped horsepower to an even 300. Despite the additional muscle, the only external difference from the Ferrari 250 GTE was the “America” badge on the trunk of some Ferrari 330 Americas.
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