Home Automotive RM Sotheby’s Monterey: 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO

RM Sotheby’s Monterey: 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO

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Presented by RM Sotheby’s.


The legendary progenitor of a lineal tradition of boutique modern hypercars that continues to this day, the 288 GTO can be viewed as the forefather of such highly desirable models as the anniversary-celebrating F40 and F50, the groundbreaking Enzo, and today’s peerless LaFerrari. The 288 was famously born of the FIA’s Group B race and rally homologation regulations introduced for 1984, built to ferocious specifications for a series that was ultimately cancelled before the car could even prove its mettle. It was inarguably a true supercar designed without compromise.

Built on a sturdy tubular steel chassis with a wheelbase longer than the production 308 GTB, the GTO boasted four-wheel independent suspension and large ventilated disc brakes to deliver competition-worthy handling quality. The new longitudinally mid-mounted Tipo F114B V-8 engine featured four valves per cylinder, and utilized Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection, twin IHI turbochargers, and dual Behr intercoolers to develop a robust 400 horsepower and 366 pound-feet of torque, capable of launching the car to 60 mph from standstill in just 4.9 seconds.

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Major body panels were fashioned from lightweight fiberglass, while the hood and roof were woven from carbon fiber and Kevlar, foreshadowing the carbon fiber bodies soon to dominate supercar production. The coachwork design may have superficially resembled the 308 GTB, but it boasted aggressive flared wheel arches that accommodated eight-inch-wide front and 10-inch-wide rear wheels, and larger spoilers were fitted fore and aft, the result of extensive wind-tunnel testing. The rear fenders featured three cooling slots behind the wheels, in a fitting tribute to the original Gran Turismo Omologato, the 250 GTO.

A direct competitor to the Porsche 911 Turbo and Lamborghini Countach, the 288 was capable of a top speed of 189 mph, making it a veritable rocket ship for the road. Yet, it was also quite well appointed, with leather-upholstered seats, optional air conditioning, and electric windows. Despite the creature comforts, an instrument panel dominated by a large 10,000-rpm tachometer, a turbo boost gauge, oil temperature and pressure gauges, and a water temperature gauge subtly implied the model’s true identity as a competition-specified sports-racer.

1985 Ferrari 288 GTO1278127


Completed in mid-1985 and reportedly equipped with a special factory engine, this 288 GTO was finished in the classic Rosso Corsa paint (300/6) over a Nero leather (VM 8500) interior, and equipped with factory air conditioning and power windows, amenities not often found on other 288 GTOs. The berlinetta was sold new by official Ferrari dealer Cris Vandagriff’s Hollywood Sports Cars in Los Angeles, California, and Vandagriff reportedly kept the GTO as his personal car for a number of years.

After displaying the Ferrari at an FCA meet at Lake Lanier Island, Georgia, in June 1989, winning first in class, Vandagriff eventually sold the car in 1994 with only 1,000 kilometers showing on its odometer. Sold in 1994 to Roy Polatchek of Orange, California, the 288 won a class award at the FCA’s International Ferrari Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California, in August 1994, and two days later the car was exhibited at the Concorso Italiano staged at the Quail Lodge. For two consecutive years (1995 and 1996) the GTO was exhibited at the Skeets & Sharon Dunn Picnic at Osuna Ranch, California.

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In 1996 the Ferrari was purchased by A.S. Fisher of Greenwich, Connecticut, and he presented the car at the FCA Annual Meet at Lansdowne Resort and Summit Point in Leesburg, Virginia, in May 1997. After being sold from Mr. Fisher’s collection in 1999, the 288 passed a year later to Bruce Lustman of Aspen, Colorado, and he exhibited the car at the Rosso Rodeo Concours d’Elegance staged on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, in June 2001. In February 2007 the GTO was sold to Tom Horan of Denver, Colorado, and when it was offered for sale two years later, the odometer still displayed a desirably low figure of 14,441 kilometers (~8,973 miles), clarifying that the car continued to enjoy sparing driving use.

After being acquired by a New York-based collector in 2009, the 288 was issued a Ferrari Classiche Red Book in February 2010 that certified the continued presence of all the matching-numbers mechanical components. In 2011 the GTO was acquired by The Pinnacle Portfolio Collection, and over the past 11 years the car has been optimally maintained and enjoyed occasionally, accruing only minimal additional mileage. Displaying 15,004 kilometers (~9,323 miles) at cataloguing, this wonderfully maintained Ferrari supercar was treated to a $30,000 service in 2011 by the specialists at Continental Ferrari of Chicago, Illinois, and in preparation for the current offering the car was submitted to Ferrari of Central Florida for a comprehensive servicing including the all-important timing belt replacement. It is reported by the consignor to currently be in optimal operational condition, suggesting that miles of exhilarating driving enjoyment lie ahead for the future caretaker.

1985 Ferrari 288 GTO1278128

In addition to its significant exhibition resume, this Ferrari is one of the better-known 288 GTO examples, having been featured on the cover of Automobile magazine and within the pages of Playboy. Documented with Ferrari Classiche Red Book certification, and desirably optioned with air conditioning and power windows, this modestly driven 288 GTO is an extremely attractive example of Maranello’s groundbreaking mid-80s supercar. It invites the next owner to present the car with confidence at regional concours d’elegance or to enjoy the race-ready drivetrain at events like the Ferrari Historic Challenge.

Whatever the occasion, this scintillating berlinetta beautifully fulfills the model’s original performance-oriented design brief, more than justifying its legendary three-letter suffix, GTO.

This vehicle will be offered at our forthcoming Monterey auction, 18-20 August. See the entire catalogue online and register to bid today.

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