The Ferrari 250 LM that never raced
There are only two Ferrari 250 LMs that have never raced – and this is one of them. Simon de Burton presents a pristine original
If you are reading this month’s issue hot off the press and you’re a fan of classic competition Ferraris, you might want to book a last-minute ticket to Paris in order to be able to bid for what is likely to be the auction highlight of this year’s Rétromobile show.
The snag is, we reckon you’ll need upwards of £17m to buy this remarkable example of Ferrari’s 250 LM which, of the 32 cars built (this was the 10th), is one of just two never to have been raced.
The 250 LM fascinates Ferraristi for a variety of reasons, not least since it was the successor to the celebrated GTO which won the GT title in 1962, ’63 and ’64.
Enzo Ferrari famously bent the rules in order to enable the GTO to compete and tried the same trick with the 250 LM.
Apart from the fact that an insufficient number had been built to qualify for homologation, Ferrari’s claim that the car was a ‘development’ of the GTO was clearly false – not only was it mid-engined, it was virtually new from the ground up.
On top of that, it shouldn’t really have been called a ‘250’ LM (signifying 12, 250cc cylinders giving 3 litres capacity) since all but the first prototype had 3.3-litre engines.
This time the rule makers didn’t fall for Il Commendatore’s tricks and forced him to run the cars not as GTs but as prototypes competing against Ford’s more capable GT40s – which totally outclassed the 250 LM.
In a surprise twist, however, Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory were entered for the 1965 Le Mans 24 Hours in a 250 LM run by Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team (NART) – and, following the gradual failure of the faster Ford GT40s and Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupés, the pair took the chequered flag to record Ferrari’s last outright win at La Sarthe.
NART then entered this 250 LM (chassis 5901) as a reserve car for the 1966 Daytona 24 Hours, but it went unused.
Its easy life continued when it became the star of various private collections (including that of Massimo Ferragamo, son of shoe designer Salvatore) during which time it was treated to a two-year restoration by UK specialists DK Engineering.
In the hands of the same French owner for the past 20 years, it remains 100% original in terms of its chassis, body, engine and gearbox.
And it must be crying out for a new owner who is brave enough to finally put it where it belongs – on track, ideally at the Le Mans Classic.
1964 Ferrari 250 LM
On sale with Artcurial, Rétromobile, Paris. February 3. Estimate on request.