It’s the question every petrolhead must ask themselves when confronted with a display of exotic motor cars: given the opportunity, which would I take home? A decision invariably fraught with conflict and complexity but surely never more so than when presented with over 20 of the finest road-going Ferraris representing eight decades of production from the magnificent Maranello marque.
Bonham’s Ferrari specialist, Jakob Greisen, gave us some insight into the history and importance of some of the models displayed, their values and impact on the marque’s legacy, but the ultimate decision is not a dispassionate review of facts and figures, it is a subjective, emotive and inherently personal one. The only way to find a winner is by democratic process (let’s be honest, in this company there is no loser, ed).
Each visitor to the Earls Court Motor Show at the Revival is given the opportunity to cast a vote for their favourite car and in doing so support the chosen charity. This year, in keeping with the commemoration of 75-years since the Battle of Britain, the Revival leant its support to the RAF Benevolent Fund, which supports serving and former members of the RAF in the UK and around the world.
But which is it to be? How does one simply choose the greatest Ferrari? It’s a choice loaded with complexity. Perhaps the best is the most evolved? Then surely the 488 GTB – with all the best bits from the LaFerrari and 458 Speciale packaged together with a brand new 3.9-litre Turbo-charged engine? Maybe it’s the one that hung on your bedroom wall when you were 12, like the heart-stopping 200mph F40? If usability is key, then maybe the Dino or the 355. Perhaps style and grace are the determining factors both of which the 250 PF Coupe has in spades. The pioneering and spectacular 250 LM? The iconic Testarossa? The outrageous Enzo?
The ballot, however, is closed, the votes are counted and we can now proudly reveal that the winner is… the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.
It is perhaps not a complete surprise that the 250 GTO topped the public vote, with its effortless Pininfarina style, glorious howling Colombo V12 and distinguished competition history the GTO epitomises the GT Ferrari and embodies everything that was so special about that golden era of motoring. The result undoubtedly helped in no small part by the beautifully original presentation of Paul Vestey’s example. A worthy victor.
The 250 GTO was kept honest by one of Ferrari’s latest creations. The ground-breaking and world-beating LaFerrari came a very close second to the GTO. Infused with F1 technology the LaFerrari is the most extreme road-going Ferrari to date. It might be the HY-KERS hybrid technology that pushes your buttons or it might possibly be that it hits 125 in a matter of seconds! Either way this machine is destined to remain a firm favourite.
Purist? Fear not, third place is proudly occupied by the elegant and evocative 1950 166 MM. Regarded as the road car that put Ferrari on the map, the gloriously simple styling by Touring mated to the 2.5-litre V12 made it both desirable and effective. Victory in the 1948 and 1949 Mille Miglia secured its place in the annals of Ferrari history. The public vote proving that despite its age it rests comfortably among such vaunted company.
So there we have it, the unmistakable and irresistible epitome of 1960s GT driving, a 21st Century hyper-car and the car that set the ball rolling back in 1948. We salute your choice. Final and absolute. Although the 250 SWB should be in there somewhere, and what about the Daytona or that incredible ‘Tour de France’, or ..?
Photography by Tom Shaxson