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Coachwork by Designed by Pininfarina, Coachwork by Scaglietti
The 288 GTO In 1982, the FIA restructured its sports car classes, effectively folding the former Group 4 and Group 5 classes into one new series called Group B. Embracing a far freer formula than the preceding regulations, Group B rules notably limited total engine displacement and reduced homologation production requirements, making entry much more feasible and consequently encouraging more manufacturers to participate.
Given this development, Enzo Ferrari saw a rare opportunity to reinvigorate his company’s sports car racing dominance and envisioned an extremely high-performance competition car. The resulting mid-engined coupe, the 288 GTO, utilized a lightweight steel-tube chassis covered with body panels of fiberglass, Kevlar, and aluminum. Pininfarina design chief Leonardo Fioravanti penned the body shell that was simply faultless in form and featured broad and curvaceously flared fenders, a deep front air dam, and a pronounced spoiler across the wide rear fascia. In reverence to the original 250 GTO, three angled ventilation holes were incorporated into the rear fenders.
The 288’s engine was precisely built to 2,855 cc to meet Group B regulations, which limited turbocharged theoretical displacement to four liters. Twin IHI turbochargers were implemented, bringing total power to an impressive 400 hp and 366 lbs. /ft of torque, and helped launch the lithe 2,560 lbs. car from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, and onto a top speed of 189 mph. The longitudinally mounted V-8 – with transaxle, turbos, and ancillaries – required a wheelbase of 2,450 mm. Introduced at the 1984 Geneva Motor Show, the new model was officially dubbed GTO – appropriate for a homologation car – though it has since become better known among enthusiasts as the 288 GTO.
Unfortunately, Group B was eliminated in 1986 following a number of fatal incidents, and as a result, the new GTO never saw competition. Still meeting its homologation minimum of 200 cars, the 288 GTO was produced in a fleeting batch of 272 examples, and the model represents the first of Ferrari’s modern, ultra-exclusive supercars – an antecedent to the F40, F50, and Enzo. The 288 is furthermore notable as a direct forebear of the soon-to-follow fortieth anniversary F40, which featured closely linked developments from the GTO’s chassis and twin-turbocharged V-8.
This Car This spectacular mid-production 288 GTO is one of the finest examples to become available in recent memory, having benefited from meticulous upkeep and a current long-term ownership period exceeding 20 years. According to the car’s data plate, chassis no. 55669 was completed in March 1985 and imported by Larry Thompson. By the early 1990s, the car was acquired by the consignor, a noted Ferrari Club of America judge, who has since treated it to a well-rounded life of spirited use, doting maintenance, and care.
55669 is notable for its extreme originality, even retaining its original fitted luggage; a set of Goodyear “Gatorback” tires; and reserve, period-correct, blue-colored NOS UFI oil filters, which haven’t been made in such a color for over 20 years. As per the consignor’s extraordinarily exacting standards, this car possesses all of the Platinum-Award-worthy hallmarks of authentic factory-correct upkeep. However, this car has never been presented for consideration at FCA events, as the owner prefers to focus on judging and leave other enthusiasts to do the exhibiting.
Used occasionally for Ferrari-sanctioned, exhibition track sessions, this 288 GTO is a splendidly maintained example that offers both strong performance and cosmetic concours appeal. Application for the desirable Ferrari Classiche Red Book is currently pending, and given the car’s matching-numbers originality – including its original engine, transmission, suspension, and brakes – there is little doubt that the esteemed factory certification of authenticity will be issued.
The consignor states that this GTO has received all factory updates and its “five-year major,” engine-out service, at a total cost of nearly $25,000 was recently perfomed. This service included new timing belts and tensioners, valve and cam adjustments, and the replacement of numerous seals and gaskets. A new clutch and throw-out bearing, and a new set of Toyo Pro Axis RA1 tires were also fitted at the time of the service. A general check was performed, that resulted in recoating several magnesium parts with zinc chromate, rebuilding the air-conditioning compressor and the alternator, as well as the replacement of numerous hoses and rubber seals. The consignor wishes to emphasize that he believes that foreseeable mechanical issues have recently been addressed, which will help ensure an easy transition for the car to its next owner.
Today, the 288 GTO shows just over 56,000 km. It is believed that when the car was originally imported, the odometer was advanced to approximately 15,000 km, as was common practice at the time to satisfy a requirement of its federalization. With this in mind, this GTO has most likely covered about 27,000 total miles from new.
The GTO is accompanied by an amazing group of spare parts and materials, most of which are all but completely unavailable. An incredibly rare set of original fuel rails with original Weber-Marelli IW-019 fuel injectors are included. Also a second set of essentially unobtainable, Speedline, center-locking, modular wheels accompany the car as do rare, factory headliner, dash and door panel materials. This sensational 288 GTO would be a crowning addition to any collection of modern supercars or Ferraris. It is a breathtaking embodiment of the GTO legend.