Part of a series of “SP” models, the 1962 Ferrari 268 SP was just one of Ferrari’s 4 new experimental sports prototype cars. These new cars were meant to test the viability of the new mid-engine V8 design. Ferrari wasn’t exactly the leader in this arena, however, as both Cooper and Lotus had beaten them to the punch. And, while the 268 SP wasn’t a smashing success, it was not exactly a complete failure, either.
A Larger V8
Compared to earlier SP models, the 268 featured a larger, stronger engine. Stretched from 2.4 to 2.6 litres, that V8 put out approximately 265 bhp. As was the case with all Dino Ferrari models, the naming convention had been altered from the standard Ferrari practise. For the 268, the first two digits indicate the engine displacement, while the last number indicates the number of cylinders.
The chassis was a tubular steel spaceframe, which was supported by an independent suspension at the front and rear. Upon that chassis sat a fantastic Medardo Fantuzzi creation. Two large headlights swooped down towards the menacing central “nostrils” on the grill. The low windscreen and dramatic rear spoiler further enhanced the athletic appeal of the 268 SP.
The Ferrari 268 SP’s first raced in anger on 23 June 1962 at the 24 Hour of Le Mans. Racing alongside the eventual winner, the Ferrari 330 TR, the Ferrari 268 SP would also come in first place … amongst the cars who failed to finish. So, it wasn’t a glorious result for the rear-engined race car, but with 230 laps behind it by the time the clutch went, it wasn’t a total failure. Later in its life, the 268 would go on to race for Luigi Chinetti’s NART – North American Racing Team. There, it would see track time in such races as Sebring and Governor’s Trophy Race.
Only six Ferrari 268 SPs were produced. Today, these rare steeds are highly prized, as you would expect. You can expect to pay many millions of pounds (or dollars) whenever one of these pops up on the market. In fact, one Ferrari 268 owner recently refused a $12.5 million (£9.6 million) offer at auction. Better start saving now if you want one of these glorious cars.