There are six Ferrari GTO Evoluziones in existence. Typically when there are only six of something, the value of the item in question tends to be pretty high. We’ll all get to observe how high when one such Evoluzione chassis hits the block later this month in Germany, via RM Sotheby’s.
The story around the GTO — or 288 GTO as it’s actually not officially named — is that Ferrari created the car to campaign Group B road racing. That never came to pass because Group B was canceled before it had the chance to start an event. The Porsche 961 — the road racing counterpart to the 959 — very nearly suffered a similar fate, although that car actually made it to Le Mans in 1986. Lancia ditched some rally plans too, for similar reasons. Group B left a wake of race cars that never raced.
However, the GTO’s actual story is a little different, according to its engineer, the recently-passed Nicola Materazzi. It wasn’t built for motorsport at the outset; it was built simply to be the rawest, most capable street car Ferrari could deliver at the time, at the behest of Il Commendatore himself.
During development, Maranello recognized the GTO’s competitive potential, and the race-ready Evoluzione came out of that initiative. Though it never saw action, it did inform the lineage of Ferrari apex supercars that followed: the F40, F50, Enzo Ferrari and La Ferrari.
If not for the GTO Evoluzione, the F40 (and certainly the F40 LM) probably wouldn’t have ended up what we know it to be today, as the listing explains:
Pininfarina reworked the cars bodywork using Kevlar and fiberglass to reduce weight as much as possible, and the car’s rear wing was made of carbon fibre. Fitted with larger turbos and further refined engine tuning, the car’s Tipo F114 CK engine produced a monstrous 650 bhp, an increase of over 60% from the road car’s 400 bhp. Tipping the scales at just 940 kg, performance was truly astounding with top straight-line speed published to be 229.9 mph. The 288 GTO Evoluzione has a power to weight ratio of 1.61 Kg which would out perform any rival in this period. While this incredible car never saw competition, the 288 GTO Evoluzione proved pivotal as a test bed for developing the F40, Ferrari’s next in line, and arguably most visually iconic, in their supercar series. Place the two side by side and the resemblance is instantly apparent and is more than just skin deep.
This particular Evoluzione — number four out of five in the line, chassis No. 79888 — has passed through several hands since it was built in 1988. Most notably, Aston Martin Executive Chairman and Netflix villain Lawrence Stroll. Recently the car was repainted in Rosso Corsa and given a comprehensive service inside and out totaling €133,000, covering everything from drivetrain components to interior materials.
If you have the means, I highly recommend throwing your hat in the ring come October 19, when this Evoluzione will go under the hammer. It’s hard to pin down what the winning bidder should expect to cough up, because RM Sotheby’s isn’t disclosing that. If you want a very vague idea, this less-rare Pilot-liveried F40 LM went for just under €5 million in 2019. That could very well end up a steal compared to this GTO.