Monday, 10 October 2016

Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

There's something wilfully mischievous about juxtaposing the verdant lushness of Windsor Castle's lawn with a car that's basically made of functional vents. There's no earthly reason for this machine to be here which, of course, is what's so brilliant about the contemporary concours scene.

The 288 GTO was effectively the car that spawned the F40. Crafted for the Group B regs that were almost immediately then taken behind the barn and terminated with a shotgun, the mid-eighties turbonutter became essentially a race car without a race series - a sad state of affairs. But Ferrari don't like to give up on such things. They'd already built five production 288 GTO Evoluziones along with a prototype before Group B was canned, and they didn't want the whole endeavour to be pointless. Cars like this are expensive to develop. So they took all of the basic architecture - the tubular steel spaceframe and aluminium floor, the notion of crafting the bodywork from carbon-Kevlar, the eminently shouty 2.9-litre twin-turbo V8 - and they reworked one of the Evoluziones into a prototype for the F40 road car. And that's proved to be quite popular, hasn't it?

This, then, is a car that came perilously close to being sidelined as one of automotive history's errors. But then, brilliantly and unexpectedly, it gave birth to arguably Ferrari's greatest success. Nice when things work out, isn't it?

Spotted at the 2016 Windsor Concours - more pics here.

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