Vintage Ferrari – A Look Back at Classic Ferrari Models

Classic cars remain popular among enthusiasts and collectors. But some say nothing is more impressive than a vintage Ferrari. The Italian automaker might have designed its first Prancing Horse to be a racing legend in the 1940s. But no one could predict the high demand that would ensue for these now-iconic cars.

Vintage Ferraris command a following and are highly desirable in many circles. Here, we look back at several sought-after classic and vintage Ferrari models. You might even decide to become a collector yourself.

How much is a vintage Ferrari?

A red 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in February 2005
1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa | Gail Oskin/WireImage

If you’re new to the world of classic Ferraris, there’s one thing you should know first. There’s no such thing as a cheap variation of any of these cars, GQ reports. Even if you have your eye on a not-so-impressive model, any vintage Ferrari price can easily start in the six figures. Even entry-level models come with a $75,000 to $125,000 price tag.

Restoring and maintaining one of these legendary Ferraris will cost a pretty penny, too. Be prepared to spend $1,000 every year on oil changes alone. An engine belt servicing will set you back anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000. And even if you manage to save a little on the vintage Ferrari price at purchase, you can prepare yourself to spend thousands on repairs and upgrades. 

What is the best old Ferrari?

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When it comes to crowning one model considered the best classic or vintage Ferrari, it’s really a personal preference and varies by expert. But GQ shares a list of those most sought-after by enthusiasts. And it certainly represents some of the most impressive classic models.

Though not technically vintage, a soon-to-be classic Ferrari model is the LaFerrari. Its inception in 2013 was groundbreaking because it was unlike any other Prancing Horse that came before it. It represents the first hybrid, equipped with a 6.3-liter V12 and an electric energy recovery system. This beautiful beast harnesses 950 bhp, allowing it to hit 124 mph in a mere seven seconds.

Another car considered among the best vintage Ferrari models of all time is the F40. This streamlined stunner was the fastest of its time in 1987, with its 470 hp and Pininfarina-designed body. It was more than just a 40th-anniversary introduction for Ferrari, and this car continues to be highly desirable.

But you can’t have a “best vintage Ferrari” list without honoring the iconic 12-cylinder Testarossa. This ’80s gem is the last Prancing Horse to harness the flat-12 engine configuration, making it extra-special among collectors. It was no slouch either, with 390 bhp.

As GQ points out in its list of the best vintage Ferraris, the 288 GTO was a mighty and magnificent contribution. Having similarities with the 308 GTB, this “featherweight racer” offered 400 bhp from its turbocharged V8. According to Robb Report, the automaker produced only 272 examples, making them even more desirable. 

But some consider the absolute finest ever made and the best vintage Ferrari of all to be the 250 GT. This memorable introduction could be seen racing on the track one minute and pulling up to the neighborhood gas station the next. The V12 under the hood promised performance in any driving scenario.

If you have the budget and the desire, you might be ready to start your own vintage Ferrari collection. In the next segment, we’ll share what collectors say are the best classic Ferrari models to add to your list.

What every collector should have in their vintage Ferrari collection

If you’re ready to start adding vintage Ferrari models to your collection, you can always refer to some Ferrari collectors’ lists. Anyone who seriously considers themselves to be any kind of classic Ferrari aficionado likely has one or more of these in the garage.

Collecting vintage Ferrari models should start with the 365 GTB/4 Daytona. According to Robb Report, this car was Ferrari’s answer to the Lamborghini Miura. Ferrari gave the 365 GTB/4 Daytona a V12 to power through the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1967 and branded it with the name it still holds today. Only 1,200 were made, and buying one now will cost you at least $700,000.

Before that, between 1957 and 1961, the automaker unleashed only 34 of the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. And it did not disappoint on the track, with multiple podium wins.

This unicorn of a vintage Ferrari is one with a hefty price tag. In 2011, an unrestored 1957 model rolled through auction and reportedly sold for $39 million.

In addition, any self-respecting vintage Ferrari collector would appreciate owning a Dino 246. Enzo Ferrari‘s son, Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, took the reins on creating a more attainable sports car with a more modest price.

This 2.0-liter V6 achieved his goal, but don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s not up to Ferrari standards. The Pininfarina body design makes this vintage Ferrari one of the brand’s most beautiful.

However, if you want to go really rare, consider finding a Ferrari 330 P4. Only four were ever produced, so you’ll have a challenge ahead of you. But if you’re lucky to have one, you’ll get an exclusive vintage Ferrari model like no other, with its 450-hp V12.

Making things even tougher, one of these race-winning cars was scrapped due to an incident at Le Mans. The remaining three will command a high price from their respective owners in France, Germany, and Canada.

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Last, the Ferrari 288 GTO intended to explore an entirely new category of racing from 1984 through 1987. The Group B Circuit Race was the goal, but the 288 GTO went on to be more than just a race car. 

In fact, Magnum, P.I.’s iconic ride was a 288 GTO. And back then, you’d be hard-pressed to find a garage or kid’s bedroom without a photo of this vintage Ferrari.

It came with a turbocharged V8 and harnessed 400 horses for incredible performance. It’s what most call a proper Ferrari supercar and might be the most challenging to add to your classic Ferrari collection.

The ’80s Ferrari Testarossa

There isn’t a classic Ferrari list out there that doesn’t include the legendary Testarossa. Earlier versions were called “Testa Rossa,” others refer to it as the “TR,” and the ’80s iteration was “Testarossa,” but any version of the name means “redhead” in Italian.

The critics at Autoweek spent some quality time with a 1986 Testarossa, which might help shed some light on why this ’80s supercar is such an icon among collectors.

Replacing the Berlinetta Boxer, the Ferrari Testarossa made its grand debut in 1984. It packed a 5.0-liter flat-12 producing 380-hp. Autoweek says seeing one in person looks smaller than in pictures. But you’ll be surprised with its roomy cabin and comfort features. Oh, and stomping on the gas will show you what it feels like to go 180 mph.

Finding a Ferrari Testarossa today is relatively easy because the automaker produced almost 10,000 examples between 1984 and 1991, including the 512 TR and F512 M revision models. But you can expect to still pay around $65,000 to $85,000 for an older model showing its age, Autoweek reports. However, Classic.com auctions show you should expect to pay closer to $120,000 to $160,000.

Diving back in time to find some of the most sought-after vintage Ferraris also means remembering some of the rarest models. And there were a few convertibles along the way, too. In the next section of this classic Ferrari review, we’ll touch on both types worthy of any collection.

The best vintage Ferrari convertible

Ferrari was and is still known for developing race cars with hand-crafted style and high-quality materials. But the Prancing Horse has never overlooked the fun side of driving, either. The top-down variations of several Ferrari models tend to top the must-have lists for enthusiasts. 

One of the most successful convertibles Ferrari brought to life was the 365 California Spyder. Only VIP clients were allowed first dibs on this car, with its V12 engine and Pininfarina body design, Money Inc reports.

Another iconic Ferrari convertible is the 330 GTS. It hit the world stage at the Paris Auto Show in 1966. The automaker produced only 100 examples with V12 engines before switching to a 4.4-liter. 

Also among notable Ferrari convertibles is the California T Hardtop Convertible, the Portofino Hardtop Convertible, and the Ferrari F430 Spider Soft Top Roadster. But many still suggest one of the most legendary models is the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina, with its front-engine, V12, and two-seater design. Released in 2000, this limited-edition roadster is a favorite among collectors.

The Ferrari Scuderia Spider 16M Soft-Top Roadster is one of the more popular later models designed to celebrate Ferrari’s 16th championship victory. It came with a 4.3-liter V8 capable of 503-hp, which is pretty impressive for an open cockpit experience. But Money Inc. says the top three convertibles have to be the Ferrari F8 Spider, the Ferrari 328 GTS, and the Ferrari 812 GTS. 

The rarest vintage Ferrari collections

When it comes to discovering some of the rarest collections of vintage Ferrari modelsHotCars did some auction homework. This roster shares some of hardest-to-find Ferraris ever to roll through the auction lane, along with some of those through-the-roof price tags. Like the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, one of only 36 released, sold for $48,405,000 at the Monterey Car Auction.

Other rare vintage Ferraris sold at auction include the 1961 Ferrari 400 SuperAmerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico, another Pininfarina-designed masterpiece. As one of only 17 in existence, it was even rarer because of its Ferrari Classiche certification. This certification ensures the car has its original gearbox, engine, and rear differential. A 1963 model of the same caliber, with LWB Cabriolet treatments, sold for $2.8 million.

Also on this list of rare auction finds is the Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Tre Posti Speciale, with its ultra-rare three-seater design. It was supposed to sell that day for $23.5 million, but no buyers came through.

In a separate sale, a stylish 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa sold for a whopping $39.8 million. And in 2012, a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Speciale, one of only four, sold for $1.4 million with its Ferrari Classiche paperwork.

And one of the absolute rarest to change hands at auction is the 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder, sold in 2012. This model was one of 106 examples but also one of only 37 models with the covered headlight design. It sold for $8.5 million.

If you think you’ve been bitten by the vintage Ferrari bug, you might start with this look back at the classics to help create your must-have collector’s list. Just make sure you get your budget ready for some hefty check writing. And whether you start with classics, super-vintage, ultra-rare, or convertibles, Ferrari doesn’t disappoint.

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