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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

1964 Ferrari Lusso

By Miguel Caparros

I look at the Pininfarina designed Ferrari Lusso 250 GT as not only the most beautiful Ferrari but the end of an era, the last great race cars that could be driven to the race and then home.  Available as a GT/L, sold as a road-going car and directly benefited from the successful line of Ferrari 250 GTs. It was developed from the dual-purpose 250 GT Short Wheel Base (SWB) which was delivered as both as a full-on competition or a steel-bodied grand touring car. When the SWB's time was up, its road-going version was replaced in 1962 with the smoother more shapely 250 GT Lusso.

Introduced at the Paris Salon in October of 1962 and created a stir of interest with its flowing proportions. Think of how other cars of 1962 looked, the Lusso became instantly recognizable. Slim, almost dainty roof pillars, a cropped tail and the unique three piece integrated bumper that foretold of things to come.

If you are a fan of the 250 GTO the Lusso shared many chassis and mechanics. By moving the engine forward they provided for a comfortable cabin with out compromise to the dynamics of the handling. When the GTO was no longer available many racers did like the owner of the car in this video, bought a Lusso and went racing.

Ferrari has always offered customers personalized building services of their production car and with the Lusso some  350 cars were built with the same steel body designed by Pininfarina and made by Scaglietti with aluminum doors, trunk and hoods. A few cars received custom rear end ratios, 5-speed gearboxes and competition spec carburetion and many more were modified after delivery. Custom body and interior alterations were available by Pininfarina, including faired-in headlights, extra vents and air conditioning, these factory modifications were rare.

We were fortunate enough to have both a 250 GTO and a Lusso at our store at the same time. For me two related cars could not have been more different. The GTO a retired race car that hat been slightly civilized for street duty where the Lusso had been outfitted with equipment for club racing.

The 250 GTO is a racing legend and it was built to race, Driving it on the street you are constantly reminded of that fact. The engine was finely tuned to give maximum performance and was not happy at much below 3500 rpm. But once on the cam and heading towards 7000 rpm everything starts to work as it was meant to.
The Lusso on the other hand, even in race prepared tune never lost its primary purpose, to transport two in relative comfort very quickly.

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