We're constantly blown away by the new ground the Maranello-based manufacturer breaks in striking design, luxury appointments and raw, unadulterated power beneath the bonnet. But no matter what new fandangled contraptions you load a vehicle up with – no matter how far technological advances push the needle to the right – nothing, absolutely nothing, will compare to the days of yore, when a prancing horse on your bonnet meant something truly special. In short: newer isn't always better, and nothing compares to a vintage 'rari. And when it comes to the best of the stable, you can't go past the beasts on this list.
It’s not often that one car can be credited with changing the motoring world as we know it, but if anything comes close, it’s this. While many will confidently proffer that it was the Ford Motor Company nearly bankrupting itself in order to develop the GT40, a move born of a fervent grudge against Enzo Ferrari that changed the course (or, rather, Corsa) of racing history forever, it was this very car that spurred Ford’s winning streak at the coveted Le Mans 24-hour race in the first place.
In 1965, this, one of the rarest examples of racing vehicles to screech off the test-track at Fiorano Modenese, was the first to cross the line at the gruelling Le Mans circuit. It was the sixth year in a row that Ferrari would take out the top spot with one of their whips, and the last that Ford could tolerate, after they had been gypped on a buyout deal with the company over a dispute involving their racing division. They went on to spend a small fortune finessing their next entry, and won the next four in a row (the first with Kiwi driver Bruce McLaren, no less), breaking Ferrari’s domination of the world-famous track.
They have been absent from the race ever since, making the 250LM the last and most iconic Le Mans race car Ferrari has ever produced. Only 32 were ever made, and the most recent one to hit the block in 2015 shifted for a nudge under AU$28 million.
Dino 246 GT
The story of the Dino isn’t the happiest, but it did lead to one of the most important engine breakthroughs of the last century, so it’s earned its place in the Ferrari hall of fame. Alfredo ‘Dino’ Ferrari, son of founder Enzo, was only 24 when he died. At the time of his death, however, the talented young engineer was in the final stages of developing a DOHC V6 engine: something that would revolutionise Ferrari’s F1 capabilities, and indeed, the motoring industry itself.
Nimble and lightweight, the Dino did not bear a Ferrari badge, as it was intended as a separate marque, one which was more affordable and accessible due to its fewer cylinders and (slightly) more practical road-going tuning. It was one of the first to feature a mid-engine format for a roadworthy vehicle, and to take on the dominant Porsche 911.
The best thing? Getting into one isn’t out of the question. Many examples, from the ’70s in particular, are still around (and in good nick, too). Expect to pay north of AU$600K for a pristine example, but then again, this is motoring history.
250 GT Lusso
A ‘grand tour’ was once the coming-of-age playtime for any rich young man in the seventeenth century. Involving a lengthy trip through Europe to familiarise oneself with culture and art, it was a key element to becoming a gentleman, and one which complemented an Oxford education, tailored fineries, and a healthy inheritance.
When cars became a thing, however, it soon took on a new meaning. Young fellas could now say, “Bugger Michelangelo and the rest: I’m going to flatten my right foot all the way to Morocco.” And they did.
The opulent and hedonistic tradition of the grand tour eventually lent its name to the most popular style of sports car the world now knows: the GT. This is one of the more gentlemanly Ferraris to speed out of Modena, and its rarity has only driven its price higher and higher, especially among avid collectors who know that their finite numbers are fast dwindling.