Ferrari 250 GT Lusso
Okay, so it’s not a roadster, but we’d be remiss if we left this beauty off our list of collectible sports cars. This is not a race winner (its name means “luxury” in Italian) and was therefore not the kind of car the competition-obsessed Enzo Ferrari cared much about. But its stylist, Pininfarina, cared, turning out a design that was arguably more evocative of a kind of high-style, high-speed touring than any car before or since.
Over the proven, short-wheelbase 250 chassis and 3.0-liter, 240-hp Colombo V-12 engine, Pininfarina stretched the sheet metal – steel for the body shell and aluminum for the hood, trunk, and doors – taut and low. The front end is particularly beguiling, with its plunging hood and wide-set lights.
It is interesting how un-Ferrari-like the 250 series appears to the modern observer. Part of this is because Ferrari, unlike, say, Jaguar or Porsche, rarely looks back when designing a car. So if your idea of a Ferrari is something that looks like a nuclear-powered anteater, the Lusso might seem impossibly old-fashioned. But check out the tight relationship between the wheels and the body, the tiny greenhouse, the car’s squat stance, and its atavistic V-12 growl, and it’s easy to understand how Ferrari got to here from there.
What to watch out for: Bills. Simple tune-ups run to $3,000. These were tube- and ladder-frame cars, unlike today’s unit-body designs, so any weaknesses in the frame system will adversely affect steering and handling. Spend the money and get a knowledgeable Ferrari person to look the car over. And make sure the engine and chassis numbers match.