Announced at the same 1962 press event as the 196 SP, the Ferrari 286 SP represented the same new “engine in the back” design philosophy. Even though the head man wasn’t thrilled with the prospects of veering away from his front-engined racers, these were destined to become the future of the company. While the 286 wouldn’t end up influencing any future models in the way many of the other “SP” models would, it still served as an important part of the company’s foray into unknown territory. And boy, would that experiment ever pay off in the long run.
Larger Engine, More Power
Still sporting a V6, the engine displacement on the 286 SP was considerably larger, at 2.86 litres, than the 1.96-litre engine from the 196 SP. The increased displacement gave the car and extra 50bhp, although the power per lite plummeted from 106 to 91. Total power was rated at 260bhp. Because the car was so short-lived, there are really no performance numbers to discuss, although we can be fairly sure the 286 SP could travel in excess of the 196 SP’s 149mph (240 km/h) top speed.
A Unique Design
While the 196 used a Dino engine design, the Ferrari 286 SP’s was a little different. Because the angle between the cylinder banks was 60 degrees, it was akin to the 12-cylinder designs than the 65-degree Dino engines. Because of new FIA regulations, the 286 SP was built lower than the similar 246 SP, meaning its proportions looked more like those of the 196.
The 60° V6 engine design would be scrapped after this model, with Ferrari choosing to use V8s instead. So, there we have it. A small piece of Ferrari’s new experiment with rear-engine designs. I think most fans would be glad that the company decided to go with V8s over the large-displacement V6 out of the Ferrari 286 P.