This took guts. Serious guts.
According to the Associated Press, a 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.2 million was stolen in Dusseldorf, Germany last Monday during a test drive. The identified thief was actually pretending to be an interested buyer who wanted to take the rare and iconic Ferrari out for a spin. An appointment for the test drive was previously set, so it wasn’t some last-minute thing. The guy knew what he was doing.
At some point when he and seller were out for a drive, the latter got out of the car to swap places. Once the thief was in the driver’s seat, he hit the gas and took off, leaving the seller to eat his dust. So far, police have been unable to find the red 288 GTO and are appealing to the public for help.
The fact that somebody wanted to steal a Ferrari is not surprising, but to target a 288 GTO takes serious guts. Only 272 were made from 1984 until 1987. Ferrari had to build 200 cars, as per requirements for the then new Group B rally racing series. The series never took off due to low participation, mainly because of the 200-car minimum. So Ferrari decided to repurpose all of the racing cars as road cars. None of them ever raced.
All 288 GTOs were painted red, except for one black example. The 288 GTO is actually a homologation of the 308 GTB. Ferrari deemed this new car to be special enough to warrant the coveted "GTO” moniker, which stands for Gran Turismo Omologata. ‘Omologata’ is the Italian for ‘homologated.'
Power came courtesy of a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 395 hp and 366 lb-ft of torque. One of the key ways the 288 GTO differed from the 308 was that its V8 was mounted longitudinally. It cleverly utilized the 308’s trunk space. Needless to say, all 288 GTOs go for big bucks. One sold last January at a RM Sotheby’s auction for $3.6 million.
Unless the 288 GTO in question is found soon, something tells us it’ll end up on the black market and could disappear for years.