Cars

This Ferrari 250 LM Took 40 Years To Restore, Is Pure Sex

Ferrari was in the midst of its most dominant era of sports car racing during the mid-1960s. Designed as the replacement for the all-conquering 250 GTO, the 250 LM didn’t officially qualify as a production car; just 32 were made. That meant it had to run in the highest prototype classes for races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

It won anyway. The car you’re looking at is hitting the auction block at RM’s Monterey auction, and it’s so utterly important to automotive history that people have spent whole swaths of their careers restoring it and researching its backstory, which involves heartache, fire, and an evil twin.

The slick aero was designed to make the car blindingly fast on the seriously long Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans, but it also had the cornering ability to match.

It wouldn’t be a proper Ferrari race car without a V12 engine screaming behind the driver. And 320 hp is more than enough to jolt this car to frightening speeds.

Inside, the car has almost nothing but the bare essentials: gauges to check on the health of that beautiful engine, pedals, a gear shift, and a steering wheel.

This thing’s such a thoroughbred that there’s not even a speedometer. Wanna know how fast you’re going? Take your engine speed and do some math. You don’t get more pure than this.

The 250 LM is the last Ferrari to win Le Mans overall, which is a big deal, but this specific one never raced. It was the 19th one produced and was originally driven around on the streets of Reno, Nevada, by Bill Harrah (yep, the casino guy). After he sold it, the car’s new owner was rear-ended on Sunset Boulevard, at which point the car was engulfed in flames.

The car was so badly damaged that the beautiful bodywork in the rear melted and fused with the chassis. Over the course of the ensuing two decades, the 250 had several tubes from the frame taken out to ease in the removal of the engine. Eventually, the car was sold without the engine, and someone made a new 250 during the 1990s using the original engine and one of the tubes that contained the car’s number.

Eventually, both cars wound up with the same owner, who sent them home to Italy, where Ferrari itself did a metallurgic analysis on both cars to see which was the real one. Ultimately, they returned the original tubes to the real car, and destroyed its evil twin to prevent any controversy.

Ferrari then set about returning the car to the same condition it was in when it left the factory the first time. They only finished last year, and since then, the car has cleaned up in some of the most important car shows. It even comes with its own library of documentation. There aren’t very many cars in the world that justify this kind of time and effort, but after four decades of restoration work, this one proves just how important a classic Ferrari can be.


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. He’s trying to wrap his head around a car that spent 44 years in restoration.