250 Europa: the core of the Cavallino production from Vignale to Pininfarina

The Ferrari 250 Europa of 1953 represents, in its various models, the result of a project born from minds that have written an important page in road motoring.

The first specimens of the Ferrari 250 Europa are made by Vignale, inspired by the 340 Mexico. Subsequently, thanks to Pininfarina the production of this model had the chance to go on, making this model a two-seater convertible. It is easy to see the similarities with the older sister 375 America, which, due to its size, is more suitable for the type of engine adopted.

The 250 Europa GT, officially presented at the 1954 Paris Motor Show, takes over from the 250 Europa model, initially maintaining the latter's name, and then adding the suffix GT, which allows the two cars to be better distinguished. In reality, the new Ferrari product becomes known simply as 250 GT. Broadly speaking, the shape of the three-light coupé bodywork is very reminiscent of the original 250 Europa, designed by Pininfarina. In fact, it is no coincidence that, to better distinguish the two models, a flexible meter is essential, because the substantial difference between the two models consists in the different distance between the front fender and the windscreen pillars.

Of course, total uniformity in the aesthetic lines of the various cars has not yet been achieved: for example, an example for the Princess of Belgium Liliane De Rethy, has a special Vignale body, and seven cars will be built by Pininfarina with various car bodies. in aluminum, also of the Berlinetta type.

The latter, according to many, act as prototypes for future Tour de France berlinettas, produced between 1956 and 1959. It is also possible to find differences even on some examples of standard coupes, which may have different details. from each other; in doing so, some changes requested by customers are satisfied.

Even the bodies may vary, since some are built in aluminum, while others are fitted with a steel sheet. As with the 250 Europa series, some cars are equipped with a rear bench which basically consists of a padded platform, originally designed for luggage.

The most marked and interesting differences between the 250 Europa and the 250 Europa GT can be found under the engine hood. The V12 engine designed by Lampredi for the previous model is replaced with a new V12, shorter in size, made by Colombo and already tested on the 250 MM.

Thanks to this improvement, the wheelbase of the car is reduced by 200 millimeters, reaching the value of 2.600 millimeters, without affecting the space available in the passenger compartment.

At the same time, the front and rear tracks are increased by twenty-nine millimeters, and the frames, with the internal designation 508, are identified with odd numbers, typical of road cars followed by the suffix GT. The construction of the frame foresees two main tubulars arranged longitudinally, with transverse cross reinforcements, and external supports on which the bodywork was laid.

The main tubulars of the frame, instead of passing under the rear axle as on the 250 Europe/375 America series, in the case of the 250 GT it passes over. The front suspension is independent, initially with double wishbones, hydraulic lever shock absorbers and transverse leaf springs, later replaced during the production period by individual coil springs.

The rear rigid bridge is supported by semi-elliptical leaf springs, and is also equipped with hydraulic lever shock absorbers. The mounted brakes are drum brakes and operate hydraulically; the handbrake, on the other hand, acts on the rear wheels and is controlled by a cable. Except for a single model, all built examples have left-hand drive.

The engine, still a three-liter V12 unit, is totally different from that of the 250 Europa, and represents a development of the short V12, designed by Gioachino Colombo. The displacement of this engine reaches 2,953 cm³, while the bore and stroke are respectively 73 by 58.8 millimeters.

The engine features a battery of three Weber 36 or 42 DCZ double-barrel carburettors, a double coil, and horizontally mounted front distributor. The declared power is 220 horsepower.

The latter is combined with a four-speed gearbox, all synchronized, and through the transmission shaft the movement is transferred to the rear axle, for which a range of different ratios is available.

But why are we talking about a short V12 and a long V12? It is therefore right to open a parenthesis, specifying the peculiar features that distinguish the two projects: the long V12, designed by Aurelio Lampredi, has the cylinder liners screwed into the head, which is why it is necessary to provide more space between a piston and the other than the short V12, designed by Colombo. The latter drive unit, in fact, has a more conventionally inserted cylinder liner, with a standard head gasket, making the overall assembly much more compact.

This model becomes an important point of reference in the history of the road cars produced by Ferrari, as it leads the Cavallino to the most significant quantity of almost homogeneous examples produced up to this moment. Pininfarina thus becomes the only official designer of Ferraris destined for mass production.ù

Thanks to its engine / chassis combination, which obviously needs to be updated and modified appropriately, Ferrari finds a backbone capable of supporting car production, valid for about ten years, which, in this period of time, will dedicate itself to churning out various 250 GT models.



Front, longitudinal, 12V 60°

Bore and stroke 68x68 mm

Unit displacement 246.95 cm³

Total displacement 2963.45 cm³

Compression ratio 8:1

Maximum power 147 kW (200 hp) at 6300 rpm

Specific power 67 hp/liter

Distribution single shaft, two valves per cylinder

Power supply: three Weber 36 DCF carburettors

Ignition mono, two distributors

Lubrication wet sump

Clutch double disc


Tubular steel

Front suspension independent, transverse wishbones, single transverse leaf spring, Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers

Rear suspension rigid axle, longitudinal semi-elliptical leaf springs, Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers

Brakes drum

Gearbox four ratios + RM

Steering worm and sector

Fuel tank 140 liters capacity

Front tires 7.10x15

Rear tires 7.10x15

Car body

Coupe, convertible, two seats

Length 4178 mm

Width 1549 mm

Height 1013 mm

Wheelbase 2800 mm

Front track 1325 mm

Rear track 1320 mm

Weight 1150 kg unladen (coupé)


Top speed of 218 km/h

Simone Pietro Zazza