The Ferrari 250 GTO VS Ferrari SF90
There are many ways to compare the old and the new, even though the only thing the two cars share is the Ferrari name, an engine, and four wheels. Here are some of the primary areas we drew some comparisons.
There is no question that the 250 GTO helped forge the Ferrari name. Even though it was only produced between 1962 - 64, the 250 GTO has built such a tremendous following that it is considered among the elite pieces in a car collection. Several magazines list the Ferrari 250 GTO among the most significant sports cars of all time, and the value of these cars fetches into the tens of millions of dollars. In fact, in 2018, David MacNeil (WeatherTech) paid $70 million for one to add to his garage).
The Ferrari 250 GTO debuted at the 12 Hours of Sebring, where it caused quite a stir by finishing second behind another Ferrari product (Testarossa). The Ferrari would go on to win FIA’s International Championship for GT class for the next three years (1962, ‘63, and ‘64), beginning an almost decades-long dominance of the racing world. Since FIA regulations required a homologation of whatever car was on the race track to be made for the street, Ferrari set about to produce a goal of a hundred 250 GTOs. They ended up making 36.
The Ferrari SF90 began its journey into electrification in 2019. The car was developed in honor of the 90th anniversary of Scuderia Ferrari racing and based on its vast Formula One experience. Ferrari intended to make a limited number of SF90s each year (less than 500). However for 2024, the company has indicated that 799 Stradales and 599 Spyders will be built ready for delivery in the final quarter of 2024. (Every unit is already spoken for).
Ferrari has been dabbling in the electric-powered vehicle segment since 2013. One of the first supercar companies to embrace the new technology and apply it to high-performance applications.
The 250 GTO was powered by a 3.0L V12 that, for its day, was a screamer, producing 296 hp and 217 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a five-speed manual transmission, the car could post a 6.1 second 0 - 60 mph time and had a top speed of 174 mph. The Ferrari was built to compete with the Jaguar XK-E (which had come out the previous year). The 250 GTO was faster than the XK-E and matched the Aston Martin DP214’s track time (although the AM DP214 was a smidge faster).
The SF90 has come a long way since the days of the early Ferrari. The plug-in hybrid supercar is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 engine that produces 767 hp and is aided by three electric motors that formulate another 217. The 2024 SF90 generates 986 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Its 0 - 60 mph time would leave the 250 GTO in the dust since it can accomplish the feat in 2.5 seconds. (The SF90 XX version boosts the horsepower to 1016 and can do it even faster at 2.3 seconds). The SF90 has a top speed of 217 mph.
It is possible to run the SF90 in proper EV mode, although the range is limited (16 miles) with the 7.9 kWh lithium-ion battery. Charging times are improving, at about half an hour on a rapid charger but over 9 hours on a standard wall plug.
Ferrari offers an 8-speed automatic transmission, which adapts to the car's speed. Under normal driving conditions, the two electric motors power the front axle (one for each tire) and reverse, while the V8 engine powers the rear wheels. At high speeds (130 mph +), the front axle disengages, which does a fantastic job of transferring all that hybrid power to the rear wheels.
As you might expect, the interior of the 250 GTO was sparse at best, with no speedometer, carpeting, or headliner. The SF90 is minimalist as well (although light years ahead of its early cousin). The cockpit surrounds the driver with bright, illuminated instrumentation that gives reading on just about everything, from speed to regenerative braking forces. The seats are contoured to fit snugly around the body, although, at less than three cubic feet of cargo space, there isn’t much room for anything other than a driver and passenger.
While the 250 GTO would never have passed any safety regulations in the US (it didn’t even have seat belts), it did have a roll hoop, bracing bars (to add rigidity), and an aluminum shield protecting the floor. Disc brakes were installed all around, which Enzo Ferrari had begrudgingly agreed was an excellent thing to have on a race car.
The SF90 has various safety features that you might expect on a modern car. There is the standard backup camera, rear parking sensors, and available blind spot warning monitors. The car has frontal and side curtain airbags, ESC and traction control, and ABS. While there are other safety systems that other more common cars have, Ferrari has chosen not to include them. Since the car has yet to be crash tested by the NHTSA or IIHS, it is difficult to gauge how safe the hypercar truly is, although we know it has to be better than the 250 GTO.
The 250 GTO cost $18,000 in 1962 (roughly $178k today’s dollars). While purchasing one of the rare 250 GTOs will cost you a lot more than that (try millions of dollars in multiples of 10), a 2024 SF90 will still cost you enough at its starting price of $530,000.
If it is too early to tell what the value of an SF90 might be in sixty years, but it mirrors the value of an early 60s Ferrari 250 GTO, buyers are right to snatch them up. There are very few 250 GTOs left from the original 36 that were made, making them extremely valuable. When $70 million gets paid for one at a public auction, you know the car has reached into the rare air of vintage collectibles.