In 1953, Ferrari created the first of its line of 250 cars, including the 250 Europa. These cars would become Ferrari’s most successful line of automobiles and included the iconic 250 GTO, which currently holds the record as the most expensive car ever sold at auction. An interesting side note – Ferruccio Lamborghini owned several Ferrari 250 models before growing frustrated with the brand and starting his own brand of high-end automobiles.
A Unique Engine
Ferrari’s 250 Europa used a 2,953-cc Lampredi-designed V12, setting it apart from the rest 250 series cars except for the 250 Export. These 200 bhp “long-block” engines required more space under the bonnet than the Colombo engines used in the other 250 cars. At 2,800 mm, the 250 Europa sat on a longer wheelbase than most other Ferrari 250s. As such, this was the first model within the 250 range designed for grand touring, although a long line of GT cars would follow this model, including the beautiful 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso. An independent front suspension kept the ride comfortable, while at the rear sat a live axle.
Ferrari hired Vignale to design the early 250 Europa bodies. The result was a handsome car, if a little awkward in its proportions. Later, Pininfarina began making their own bodies for the Europa, including a cabriolet version of the car. Pininfarina would end up making the vast majority of bodies for the 250 Europa, and when compared to the Vignale coupes, these models were more classically attractive. Perhaps this is why, after production of the Europa was completed, Ferrari decided to stick with Pininfarina for all subsequent series production models, save one.
Production and Legacy
Counting both Pininfarina and Vignale models, a grand total of 21 Ferrari 250 Europas were made. The subsequent 1954 250 Europa GT was built on a shorter wheelbase and used a new, more compact Colombo V12 engine design, marking a significant departure from the 250 Europa, despite the similarity in their names. Today, the Europa remains a favourite car for Ferrari collectors who relish commemorating the beginning of the grand 250 range of cars.