Four seats and a Ferrari V12 engine. What else do you need in a police car?
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The Ferrari 250 GT 2+2
Rather than unveil it at a major car show, Ferrari chose to introduce the 250 GT 2+2 as course car during the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, in October of that same year, Ferrari did bring a definitive version of the car to the Paris Motor Show.
This was a big moment in the history of Ferrari: It was the first four-seater they produced on a large scale. Production of the 250 GT 2+2 lasted from 1960 to the end of 1963, with a total of 957 examples released. The last 50 cars were fitted with the 4.0-L V12 engine from the 330 America rather than the 3.0-L V12 that was installed in the first 900.
The 250 GT 2+2 course car. This example was a prototype and wore s/n 1287 GT.
The large production run of the 250 GT 2+2 was a major contributor to Ferrari's financial well-being in the early 1960s. An important note to make is the difference between the names 250 GT 2+2 and 250 GT/E. The letter E in GT/E came from the new chassis type (508E) and engine type (128E) and has no specific meaning other than the continuation of chassis/engine types that were specified with letters in alphabetic order. This name has never been officially used by Ferrari.
Photo: Jules Capdeville
Ferrari produced the 250 GT 2+2 in three series:
- Series I cars can be recognized by the front headlights with the fog lights inside the grill.
- Series II cars look the same as Series I cars on the outside but have an air vent in the centre console and the radio is not flush with the dash.
- Series III cars have the fog lights placed outside the grill.
During an awards ceremony attended by Italian president Giovanni Gronchi and police chief Angelo Vicari, a discussion about the growing crime in Rome came up. Someone in the room jokingly said they needed a Ferrari. During that time, the Italian police already used fast cars such as the Alfa Romeo 1900 and Giulia 1600 to fight crime, but they were not as effective as they would have hoped.
Photo: Girardo & Co.
The Italian government commissioned Ferrari to build two 250 GT 2+2 cars. They were fitted with flashing lights, a radio, siren and the Squadra Mobile livery. The first of the two – s/n 3363 GT – was delivered in 1962 but heavily damaged in a road accident during a car chase. The second one – s/n 3999 GT – was delivered in 1963 and wore the license plate POLIZIA 29444. This car was a Series II car and in service until 1968.
Photo: Girardo & Co.
It was not an uncommon sight to see the black Ferrari patrolling Rome during the Dolce Vita era.
The official driver of the 3999 GT car was Armando Spatafora – a "flying squad" officer who achieved legendary status thanks to the car chases he pulled off in the 250 GT 2+2. Together with three colleagues, Spatafora took a driving course hosted by Roberto Lippi in Maranello.
There are many stories about the car chases with this particular 250 GT 2+2. One of those stories is the one that happened in 1964, where Spatafora drove his car down to the iconic Trinità dei Monti stairs.
Beating Spatafora became a true challenge for the Roman criminal underworld. The Italian cop’s success rate was incredible, thanks to his knowledge of the city, experience and driving skills.
The car retired from police duty in late 1968, but it didn’t retire from fast driving. The car’s next task was reportedly to deliver emergency blood to Naples and was rumoured to cover the 200 km (124 miles) route in under an hour.
In 1972, it was sold during a police auction to an Alberto Cappelli. Cappelli restored the car and drove it extensively over the next four decades. He also lent it to the Museum of Police Vehicles in Rome, where the General Chief allowed the car to drive in its original livery with sirens and blue lights in full use. It’s currently the only private car in Italy to hold such a special exception.
In April 2020, the car was offered for public sale with copies of the original build sheets and period Polizia documentation, early 1960s photos of Spatafora with the car, and a Ferrari Classiche certification.
Source: Automotive Masterpieces
Written by Max Lammers.