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1984 Ferrari 288 GTO by Pininfarina

The 250 GTO is considered the best of the many great Ferraris built. No other model bearing the prancing horse badge combines class, style, and racing pedigree as well as the 250 GTO. Twenty-two 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 used the contemporary 308 GTB model lines. Subtle changes to the GTB's design gave the GTO a more aggressive overall look. Under the fiberglass and kevlar body panels, very little reminded of the GTB it was styled after.

The most noticeable 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, but the addition of two IHI Turbochargers more than makes up for this. The 308's Naturally Aspirated 3-liter engine was good for "only" 240bhp. With a modest 0.8 bar boost, the engine was good for 400bhp.

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

Like its illustrious 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 a total of 273 GTOs were built in the end.

An evolution version with a hugely revised bodywork was first shown in 1986. This was to be Ferrari's entrant for 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 were ever entered in a rally. After several horrifying accidents, Group B was canceled for 1987, effectively cutting the lives of many great racing cars short, including the 288 GTO.

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 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 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 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.

Source: 1984 - 1986 Ferrari 288 GTO - Images, Specifications and ....

Images: Ferrari S.p.A.