When Bonhams sold the ex-Nigel Mansell Ferrari F40 recently the GRR office looked it over and we reckoned amongst ourselves that, without question, it was the mid-engined Ferrari to have.
Of course, there are recent contenders which are significantly faster and may be held in similar esteem one day, but ultimately we couldn’t see past the F40. We’re not alone in that assessment either, but after seeing this immaculate 288GTO which will cross the block at Bonhams’ Bond Street sale at the end of the month we’re having one or two pangs of doubt.
It’s not that we overlooked the GTO in our assessment of the F40, but faced with the prospect of this one-owner car in such wonderful order one or two of us have had a change of mind.
The car itself was sold new to a gentleman in Turin who owns it to this day. It has apparently been maintained correctly including being re-commissioned by Monaco firm Cavallari in 2013 and is expected to receive Ferrari Classiche certification any day. Bonhams has placed an estimate on the car of £1.4 million to 1.6 million.
It’s remarkable to think that the car was never used for the purpose it was built for, which was Group B racing. Unlike Group B rallying, which was canned due to well-publicised safety issues, Group B racing never happened because of a ‘lack of manufacturer interest’ (Porsche was the only other firm to build a suitable car in the form of its 959.) This must have irked Ferrari no-end, having built 272 cars by the time the fateful decree came.
Despite the lack of any competition history the 288GTO has found a place in the hearts of Ferrari lovers and is, to us, the most-desirable mid-engined Ferrari.
Or perhaps the F40.
No, the 288GTO.
Wait a minute …