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288 GTO
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  Ferrari 288 GTO      

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1984 - 1986
Numbers built:273
Introduced at:1984 Geneva Motor Show
Designed by:Pininfarina
Successor:Ferrari F40
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 02, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionOf the many great Ferraris built, the 250 GTO is considered the best. No other model bearing the prancing horse badge combines class, style and racing pedigree as well as the 250 GTO. Exactly 22 years after the first GTO was launched in 1962, Ferrari announced a new model with the legendary GTO badge, the 288 GTO.

For the 288 GTO's design Pininfarina clearly used the lines of the contemporary 308 GTB model. Subtle changes to the GTB's design gave the GTO a more aggresive overal look. Under the glassfibre and kevlar body panels very little reminded of the GTB it was styled after.

Most noticable difference between the 308 and the 288 is the engine layout; the V8 in the 308 is mounted transversely whereas the 288's V8 is mounted longitudinally. The displacement of the 288's engine is slightly smaller as well, but this is more than made up for by the addition of two IHI Turbochargers. With boost at a modest 0.8 bar the engine was good for 400bhp. The 308's Naturally Aspirated 3 litre engine was good for 'only' 240bhp.

Lightweight materials were used throughout, many of them only used in Ferrari's F1 contenders. The entire body was made of kevlar, fiberglass and aluminium, except for the doors which for safety reasons were made of steel. Kerb weight was low at 1160 kg, which was 115 kg lighter than the less powerful 308.

Like its illustrous name-sake Ferrari built the 288 for one reason only; to homologate it for racing. The 'O' in GTO is taken from the Italian word 'Omologato' or homologation in English. GT racing was the perk of the 250, but for the 288 Ferrari had other plans. The hugely popular Group B rally class would be the playing field of the 288. This meant Ferrari had to build a minimum of 200 road going GTOs to get it homologated. Production commenced right after its 1984 Geneva launch. Ferrari planned a run of 220 cars, but in the end a total of 273 GTOs were built.

An evolution version with a hugely revised bodywork was first shown in 1986. This was to be Ferrari's entrant for in the Group B events. Under the streamlined body a more powerful (600 bhp) version of the Turbo V8 was found. Five cars were constructed but none of them were ever entered in a rally. After a number of horryfying accidents Group B was cancelled for 1987 effectively cutting the lives of many great racing cars short, including the 288 GTO's.

This is not the final chapter of the 288 GTO as its huge influence on Ferrari's 40th anniversary model must not be forgotten. Launched in 1987, the F40 was clearly styled after the 288 GTO Evoluzione and used a slightly larger version of the Turbocharged V8 engine used in the 288.

Today the 288 GTO remains as one of the most sought after 'modern' Ferraris. With only 273 288 GTOs produced, it has the smallest production figure of any road going Ferrari built in the last 30 years. Many 308 owners have 'modified' the appearance to resemble the GTO, a genuine GTO is a rare sight these days.

Ferrari could not have chosen a better model to bear the legendary three letters as type indication.

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  Article Image gallery (144) Chassis (8) Specifications User Comments (15)