Showpiece of the Week: Ferrari 400i Speciale

Before you rush to the phone to put a six-figure deposit down on what looks like a bargain 250 GTO, know that this is no ordinary version of the 'world's most expensive car'. It is a one-off creation, produced for the race track by the motorsport engineering experts at Will Tomkins, using the base of a 400i coupe and powertrain of 575M Maranello. As the wide-track 250 GTO-mimicking body suggests, those ingredients have been suitably upgraded so this 400i Speciale has more power than a 458 and better weight distribution, too.

But first let's examine why this car looks like a 250 GTO. We all know the original was produced because motorsport - though you could argue all Ferraris were, since the road car projects funded racing - with it being homologated in 1962 to the FIA's Group 3 Grand Touring Car regulations. The rules for which dictated that 100 road going examples of cars in the class had to be sold in order for them to qualify. Ferrari, however, had other ideas.

For whatever reason, Enzo didn't want to build that many cars, so he is said to have shuffled cars around different locations and fiddled with chassis numbers to fool the FIA's inspectors. Naughty, naughty. He got away with it, of course, and Ferrari would go on to top the over 2,000cc class of the world GT Manufacturers championship for three consecutive years from 1962 with the model. The 250 GTO also took gold at the '63 and '64 Tour de France Automobile races, cementing its ranking in the GT racing hall of fame.

Mix this illustrious story from a motorsport heyday into car so achingly beautiful and rare - just 39 were made - and you can see why 250 GTO prices have long been stratospheric. Sales records have been broken, numbers have been smashed and, generally, 250 GTOs have remained in the very highest calibre of collectable classic cars for many years. Last year, one traded hands for $70 million, beating the previous record of $52m. For us mere mortals, it is the automotive equivalent of a unicorn.

Today's Showpiece, however, although not exactly cheap, is a 250 GTO-lookalike that's significantly more attainable. It also makes use of a far more modern setup, one that the seller claims is useable on both road and track, given that the 400i Speciale is "beautifully balanced and in skilled hands on track can be drifted though the corners."

Under the bonnet the 575M-sourced 5.7-litre V12 now breathes through independent throttle bodies and a bespoke exhaust system, helping to unlock a claimed 601hp - a leap of 86hp over standard - that, according to the ad, is said to make the car more savage than any Ferrari this side of the LaFerrari. We'll take that with a pinch of sale, given that the 488 GTB and its new successor, the F8 Tributo, make use of turbos to provide brutal mid-range punch. Then again, Tomkins' 400i Speciale will probably hold quite the weight advantage and we can expect it to feel a whole lot rawer.

No weight figure is provided in the advert, but, well, take a look for yourself. That interior is barren to say the least, with bare aluminium flooring and a distinct lack of anything not necessary ensuring this one-off is very obviously a vehicle produced with track pace as priority. There are a pair of period racing seats and a wood-rimmed steering wheel, harnesses and dials, with a metal gated six-speed manual lever. The seller claims the setup provides the car with a perfect 50:50 weight distribution - quite the achievement given the scale of the motor under the bonnet.

Actually, the 575M's V12 is said to have lowered the car's weight compared with the motor first fitted to the 400i Speciale, a dry-sumped four-cam engine sourced from a 365, thanks to the newer engine's more exotic materials. With considerably more power on offer than the oval-tubed 400i chassis was originally designed for, the structure was strengthened and shortened, while the tracks made it four inches wider than a 'normal' 250 GTO. Given the extensive modifications, it's probably better described as a silhouette racer.

Authentic Ferrari lovers need not give this creation a second look for it is most definitely not a car to enter into a concours competition. But for the rest of us, a stunning body draped over a motorsport-ready chassis and uprated atmospheric V12 that peaks at 8,000rpm sounds rather delicious, doesn't it?

Click here for the full advert

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (16) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Antony-kt93k 04 Mar 2019

    Howwwwwww much?
    Er..... it's a no from me.

  • thegreenhell 04 Mar 2019

    Hell yes to the car... but the vendor is flying a kite with that price.

  • Krikkit 04 Mar 2019

    I was thinking maybe £200k? Well over 3x more than that!

  • sparta6 04 Mar 2019

    Stunning. The best of both worlds.

  • unsprung 04 Mar 2019

    that signal yellow

    those triple NACA ducts

    and velocity stacks

    thumbup so much joy

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