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A 1987 Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione—Enzo’s Final GT Race Car—Can Soon Be Yours

This one-of-five Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione is a rare beast, born too late for the very racing series it was built for.
RM Sotheby's

If you’ve ever lusted after the Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione, one of these rare vehicles will be crossing the auction block at RM Sotheby’s later this month.

The 288 GTO Evoluzione is a rare beast from the company’s early dalliances with turbocharging. In the 1980s, Ferrari rushed the production of 200 units of the 288 GTO to allow it to join the fray of the Group B sports car competition. The following Evoluzione was intended to be built in a series of 20 units to meet homologation requirements for an “evolution” model. Sadly, it never got to race, as Group B racing was curtailed after 1986. In the end, Ferrari built just five production models in addition to a solitary prototype. As it turned out, it would be the last GT racing car that received input from Enzo Ferrari himself.

The Evoluzione was the work of the Italian racing stable Michelotto, which reworked the 288 GTO into a thoroughbred for racing. The car received new bodywork in kevlar, fiberglass, and carbon fiber, including the wildly redesigned front end. Chassis modifications helped make the Evoluzione over three times stiffer than its predecessor.

Inside, it was all business. Relays and fuses were mounted smack-bang in the middle of the dash. There was no carpet nor stereo, just the usual gauges in the dash, which itself had a bare, spartan finish. The gated shifter took pride of place in the center of the cabin, with its bare housing boldly sticking up from the floor. All up, weight savings pared the car to just 2,072 pounds, down 485 pounds compared to the original 288 GTO.

In the engine bay, new turbos and retuning netted a full 650 horsepower from the 2.9-liter V8, a truly ludicrous figure for the mid-1980s. It helped propel the Evoluzione onto a top speed of 229.9 mph. That figure was beyond any production car until the McLaren F1, though its limited run of just five cars meant the Evoluzione never held the record.

With such a short production run and with Group B dead, the Evoluzione never starred in any great motorsport successes. Regardless, it stood as a shining pinnacle of Italian engineering, while also serving as a testbed for the upcoming F40.

The example for sale is chassis number 79888. The fourth of the five remaining examples, it was built in 1988. Dealer Jacques Swaters sold the vehicle to Belgian racing driver Jean Blaton, who had a long career racing privateer Ferraris at Le Mans. The car went on to change hands several times, even passing through the collection of Lawrence Stroll, who is now the owner of the Aston Martin Formula 1 team. The car has been residing with a European owner since 2019.

The car has been given a full service by Michelotto’s technicians. Oil, fuel, and brake lines have all been replaced, with the turbos, suspension, brakes, and water pump all getting due attention as well. The gearbox also got a once-over, and new tires were fitted at all four corners. The listing notes it’s a numbers-matching vehicle where the engine and gearbox are concerned, and that it has been Ferrari Classiche certified.

Notably, the car has been resprayed in its original Rosso Corsa hue, and the heads were given a fresh coat of paint, too. Inside, the seat covers, seat belts, and dashboard cover were all replaced, as were the door windows and rear-view mirror. It’s curious to replace glass, but for whatever reason, it’s been done here. The total work bill came to a mighty 133,000 euros ($129,500 USD), but it was surely all worthwhile. After all, the auction listing notes the car is “ready to be used and enjoyed by its next owner.”

It’s not just a one-of-five Ferrari, though; it was also a model that delivered truly groundbreaking performance in its era. That pedigree means it’s worth a pretty penny, to the point where RM Sotheby’s is only offering price estimates upon request. Given the basic 288 GTO is already a multi-million dollar car, expect this price to be truly stellar. As always, if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it.

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