The 250 LM exploded onto the scene at the Paris Automobile Show in October 1963. It was built as the replacement for the 250 GTO, and it was intended to compete in the GT category of sports-car racing. Yet, Ferrari did not produce the mandated 100 examples for it to compete in the GT class and the 250 LM was forced to compete as a sports-prototype. Nevertheless, it proved to be an excellent competitor on the race track, and, a 250 LM was actually the last Ferrari to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, taking the crown in 1965, which would cement its place into Ferrari history for eternity.
Certainly the defining decision that affects the 250 LM's shape is the mid-engined configuration, which allowed the artisans at Scaglietti to wrap the bodywork around the chassis in a heretofore unseen manner. At just under 44-inches tall, the car is low, sleek, and menacing. The voluptuous fenders over the rear wheel arches flow beautifully to the kammback tail, a feature that linked the LM to Ferraris of years past, and also to Ferraris of years to come. Add to that the state-of-the-art mechanical specifications of 320 hp, a rip-snorting Ferrari V-12 engine, a five-speed gearbox, four-wheel suspension, and disc brakes, and the resultant combination sees nothing but checkered flags whenever it takes to the track.
Only 32 250 LMs were built – making them rare and highly sought after by collectors. The majority went directly to race teams for competition around the world, a select handful made it into the hands of private owners to see road use. Many would have argued that a car that won overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans would be simply unsuitable for road use, but for the few well-heeled enthusiasts that could afford to purchase a 250 LM for street use, there was nothing better. Ferrari clients could order a hand-built 250 LM and a small number did, the cars weren’t designed to be all that comfortable and Ferrari’s “official” GT cars were far more suitable for prolonged use on the road.
According to figures from Sports Car Market, RM Auctions has handled the top five highest-grossing 250 LMs of all time, including the 1965 Le Mans winner that sold in New York in 2013 for $14.3 million and another that sold August 2014 in Monterey for $11.5 million. (rmauctions.com & autoblog.com)
(Photos from autoblog.com & rmauctions.com)