Intended to extend Ferrari’s appeal to a sector of the market already contested by rivals Aston Martin and Maserati, the 250 GTE 2+2 debuted in the summer of 1960. Ferrari’s first four-seater, the 250 GTE 2+2 was directly descended from the most commercially successful Ferrari of its day, the 250 GT. Launched in 1954, the latter featured a lighter and more-compact Colombo-designed 3.0-litre V12 in place of its Europa predecessor’s Lampredi unit. The 250 GT chassis followed Ferrari’s established practice, being a multi-tubular frame tied together by oval main tubes, though the independent front suspension now employed coil springs instead of the transverse-leaf type. A four-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox transmitted power to the live rear axle, while hydraulic drums looked after braking all round. Disc brakes arrived late in 1959 and a four-speeds-plus-overdrive gearbox the following year, and both were features the 250 GTE enjoyed from the start of production in 1960.
Pininfarina’s brief had been to produce a 2+2 without sacrificing the 250’s elegant good looks or sporting demeanour and the master stylist succeeded brilliantly with the GTE. By moving the engine, gearbox and steering gear forward and the fuel tank back, sufficient room was created for two occasional rear seats within the 250 GT’s 2,600mm wheelbase. The Tipo 128E outside-plug engine’s 240bhp ensured that there was no reduction in performance despite the inevitable gain in weight. A popular and highly profitable car for Ferrari, the 250 GTE evolved through three series, changes being mainly confined to the dashboard layout and exterior lighting arrangements, remaining in production until 1963.
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