To many sports car buffs and aficionados who take serious “Supersports Cars” and sport scars of merit seriously; the early Ferrari models – especially the 250 series involve among some of the greatest, fast, sleek and nimble fine motor cars and certainly among the highest levels and greatest of Ferraris altogether.
Early Ferraris were all identified by a number which represents and represented the capacity of a single engine cylinder. Accordingly a Ferrari 250 was thus identified as a V12 engine with a capacity of 3 liters in its engine – by simple multiplication of its numbers – that is 12 x 250 cc. Basically put until the development and introduction of what became to be known as the Ferrari “V6 Dino engine types”, all other produced cars from this Italian auto maker all used the balanced V12 engine. That is except for the Grand Prix racers which used a simpler, less complex and technical layout of what were described and termed in the auto racing circuits as “In line racing 4’s”- that is four-cylinder engine types.
What made and still makes the Ferrari 250 among the most desirable and collectible of the run of the stable was that it was first to employ the new 3 Liter V12 engine. Yet it was not a straight Italian line of the development of the 3 Liter V12 from its original base and source – the 1.5 liter power plant that powered up the original Tipo 125 sports car of 1947. There was also a much bigger engine – referred to as the “long engine” among the Ferrari factory (or better described craftsmen as the production rate was not mass production but rather one hand-made unit at a time). This “long engine” was essentially a 4.5 liter Grand Prix unit. Yet it required a much heavier and sturdier chassis to carry, support and restrain it.
In the end for various reasons – including those above what was finally decided on for the landmark Ferrari 250 was the short engine – bored out and expanded to reach the 3 Liter size designation. That is not to say that any a number of different sizes and varieties of the 2 engine types – including the more massive and heavier 4.5 Grand Prix “long” engine type were slotted in and tried for tests and more testing of the upcoming 250 model series.
Yet it was this lighter and smaller engine series that allowed for the significantly better handling that resulted in the trophy winning of a number of landmark auto races against such formidable competitors as the Mercedes 350 SL.
Thus started the ongoing march of Ferrari fine sports automobiles and the legend of the Ferrari 250 itself.
Robert B. Horseman