Throughout the 1950s, Ferrari’s 250 series of road and racing cars had all but dominated that area of the market. The natural next step was the introduction of a 2+2 in order to broaden Ferrari’s customer base and therefore further fund the all-important racing activities. Once again, the Paris Salon was used for the unveiling and in 1960 the 250 GTE appeared. Based on the earlier 250 GT coupe, this Pininfarina-designed steel-bodied four-seater had the same Colombo 3.0-litre V-12 engine and 102-inch wheelbase as the earlier car.
The styling, though, was questioned at the time by many for its unusual roof line and slab sides. The same complaint was levelled years later at the 308 GT4, and then again with the Mondial 8 in 1980. Practicality and usability for four people takes up space, and compromise is the rule. Today the Ferrari 250 GTE displays an elegance that just wasn’t appreciated at the time.
Controversial styling notwithstanding, it was still unmistakably a Ferrari, and one that offered some practicality in the form of rear seats. That practicality did appeal to buyers, and the model set a sales record for the 250 series cars with 950 sold from 1960 to 1963. Ferrari 250 GTEs were typically sold in 235hp tune and all had disc brakes.
The production run can be divided into roughly three different series. Series 1 cars had fog lights in the grille, Series 2 cars had a different interior center console from the previous series, and Series 3 cars can be identified by their fog lights being positioned outside the grille.
At the conclusion of the 250 GTE production run, Ferrari built just under 50 330 America 2+2s, which had a 4.0-litre version of the GTE's V-12 and which were identical to the GTE in most every other way.
Like many other Ferrari 2+2 models, the Ferrari 250 GTE is not as collectable as its berlinetta or Spider siblings and is priced accordingly. For today’s enthusiast, the car offers the least expensive route into Ferrari 250 ownership. Few equivalent cars exist--the Aston Martin DB4 Vantage and the Maserati 3500GT offer some of the refinements but not as much space.