A bit of a living in the shadow of the more popular Ferrari 250 GT’s like the Short Wheel Base or the 250 GTO, the 250 GT TdF is almost a bit unter rated. This 250 is the underdog of the long and very prosperous era of Ferrari’s 250 Gran Turismo cars.
But is this underdog image for good reasons? I don’t think so. I like this type of the 250’s series very much. It has a unique design with a kind of rear fins and the 250 GT TdF looks different to all the other Berlinetta’s of this time. I don’t really like the typical American cars with their large and sometimes ridiculous looking rear fins. At the TdF the design of the rear is the Italian and more sophisticated version of this design detail.
The basic concept of the TdF was to create a competitive and reliable race car. But Enzo Ferrari had to sell cars to „normal“ people to make enough money to keep his Scuderia running, so the design has to represent a bit of the lifestyle and the aesthetic aspiration of the playboys and the celebrities of this time, who were able to buy a very expensive Ferrari.
This challenge, to meld Italian design culture with the characteristic of real race cars was a very important part of creating new Ferrari’s and I think it is even today important and make the myth and helped a lot at creating the hype about any new Ferrari.
The official name of the car was just simple 250 GT Berlinetta as all the other cars of the 250 series until the GTO, the surname TdF, Tour de France, was given after winning the race at the Tour de France long-distance race in 1956 with the Marquis de Portago behind the wheel. The TdF won this race four times in a row, in 1957, 1958 and 1959 with Olivier Gendebien and Lucien Bianchi. In 1957 the TdF with Mr. Gendebien also won the Targa Florio and scored the third place at the Mille Miglia.
If you see the Ferrari 250 GT TdF it is very easy to know about the year of birth of this car. At the first cars were produced in 1956 there is no cockpit ventilation. In 1957 there was made 14 slots located at the „C-pillar“, followed by only 3 small air scoops and finally by only one in 1958 and `59.
The 250 GT Tour de France was an all-round talent on the race track especially at long-distance races. It has a very good driving balance and brutal power and in the wright hands this makes a winning team of car and driver.
I do like the TdF very much because of it’s very nice design details and the overall outside shape with the „brawny hips“ which are very special for classic Ferrari’s. Find out more about our photographer Ralph Lüker.
Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta TDF: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
MODEL 250 GT
YEAR OF PRODUCTION 1956 – 1959
TOTAL NUMBER OF BUILD CARS 78
ENGINE Colombo short block V12 60˚
TIMING GEAR 2 Valves per cylinder / SOHC per cylinder bank
UNITARY / TOTAL DISPLACEMENT 246,10 / 2.953,21 cc
BORE AND STROKE 73 mm x 58,8 mm
CARBURATOR 3 Weber Double Carburators Type 36 DCL
TRANSMISSION 4-speed manual, 1 reverse
HORSEPOWER 230 – 260 bhp at 7000 rpm
CHASSIS Elliptical section steel tubes
FRONT SUSPENSION Independent, double wishbones, coil springs
REAR SUSPENSION Live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs
BRAKES Drumbrakes all around
WHEELBASE 2600 mm
TRACK FRONT / REAR 1354 mm / 1349 mm
WEIGHT WITHOUT FUEL 1050 kg