Throughout its 68-year history, Ferrari has made some of the greatest cars the world has ever known. But if you had to pick the greatest era, just one period where the company could do no wrong, it would have to be the ’50s and ’60s. No disrespect to the La Ferrari, Enzo, F40, Daytona, Dino, or any of the mid-engined greats that have come since, but no company before or since had a run quite like Ferrari at mid-century. Back when every car it built was sexy and chrome-bumpered, the line between road cars and racers was permanently blurred, and every car that rolled out of Maranello was beautiful. When cars like the Testa Rossa, California, GTO, and Lusso weren’t just museum pieces for billionaire collectors, but real machines driven by movie stars, and world-class racers alike.
They were the cars that gave the Ferrari brand its beguiling sense of romance, and effortlessly capture an essence that the company has tried to hold onto in the six decades since. And while these mid-century cars might not look like they have much in common, many of them are variations on a common theme. For as different in style and temperament as they all were, many were built on either a long-wheelbase (LWB) or short (SWB) chassis, had the legendary Colombo V12, which was the jewel in Ferrari’s crown from 1947 to 1986, and were all sold under the “250″ model designation.