The Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2, unveiled in 1960, aimed to broaden Ferrari’s market share against rivals like Aston Martin and Maserati. As Ferrari’s inaugural four-seater, it directly descended from the highly successful 250 GT, launched in 1954 with a lighter Colombo-designed 3.0-litre V12. The 250 GTE maintained Ferrari’s multi-tubular chassis tradition, with coil springs replacing the transverse-leaf type in the independent front suspension. Equipped with a four-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox and hydraulic drums initially, the model embraced disc brakes in 1959 and a four-speeds-plus-overdrive gearbox in 1960.
Pininfarina successfully achieved the brief to create a 2+2 without compromising the 250’s elegance and sportiness. Unveiled at the 1960 Le Mans 24 Hour Race and later at the Paris Salon, the 250 GTE marked Ferrari’s first series-production four-seater, avoiding the compromises of previous attempts by Ghia, Touring, and Vignale. Collaboration with Pininfarina ensured the 250 GTE seamlessly integrated rear seats without sacrificing aesthetics.
With a 2,600mm wheelbase, the multi-tubular chassis echoed the Pininfarina-designed 250 GT ‘notchback’ Coupé, accommodating two rear seats by moving the engine forward and widening the rear track. Despite increased length, the body retained Pininfarina’s classical proportions. The chassis featured independent front suspension, a live rear axle, all-round disc brakes, and a four-speed manual/overdrive gearbox. The Tipo 128E engine’s 240bhp maintained performance despite inevitable weight gain, achieving a top speed near 140mph. The 250 GTE, a profitable endeavor, progressed through three series before production ceased in 1963, with 950 units sold, marking Ferrari’s most popular and commercially successful model to date.