Leno Meets Ferrari's Original Supercar For The First Time

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The 288 GTO was far rarer than the top-of-the-line Prancing Horses that followed.

Ferrari, suffice it to say, has produced its fair share of supercars. But it's only made five iterations of its flagship line. And this is not only the first of them, but the rarest. We were a little surprised, then, that Jay Leno had never had one down to his garage. But he's fixed that in this latest episode.

The predecessor of the F40, the 288 GTO was nominally based on the 308 GTB – the precursor to today's F8 Tributo. But as close as it may have looked to its donor, it was a vastly different machine.

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Enzo and company initially developed the 288 for Group B racing, to be offered in stradale spec only to satisfy homologation requirements – hence the Omologato designation. But after that class was discontinued, it was produced into a road car instead. And the rest, as they say, is history.

It was one of Maranello's first turbocharged road cars, its 2.9-liter V8 boosted with dual spools to 395 horsepower – a mind-blowing figure in the mid-1980s when the Porsche 911 Turbo boasted 300, the C4 Corvette was only producing 250 hp, and even the ZR1 that followed offered "only” 375 hp.

The Prancing Horse marque only made 272 of them, leaving it far more scarce than the models that followed: over 1,300 of the F40 (that was closely based on the 288), 349 of the subsequent F50, 400 of the Enzo, and 500 LaFerraris (plus another 210 Apertas).

That leaves them hard to come by these days – especially in the United States – with their values capping $3 million. But noted collector David Lee managed to get his hands on one, and bring it over to Jay's shed. And glad we are that he did.

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