Unveiled at the 1954 Paris Motor Show, the 250 Europa GT was an immediate success, giving an immediate boost to other projects being developed on that template. At the time, examples of any particular model were not all alike. They varied in function of the materials chosen for their construction, from the metal of the bodywork – which determined the weight and cost of the car – down to other details of customisation, with real changes applied to meet specific customer requirements. The same name could therefore be used for cars with markedly different styles. These variations gave rise to ideas for experiments aiming to create a new special series. For example, the bench behind the front seats in the first cars acted as a luggage compartment.
In 1955, Ferrari and Pinin Farina were working on several fronts. The first prototype of the Pinin Farina Berlinetta was produced with a very rounded shape to improve aerodynamics. Seven others followed in various shapes, all of which were aluminium. They were considered prototypes of future “Tour de France” Berlinettas, sold to customers specifically for racing purposes. Several unique examples based on the 250 Europa GT were also made for customers, but with totally different bodies. The one with chassis number 0407GT is famous and easy to spot due to the solutions adopted. The metallic grey model had a prominent and slightly turned down nose, incorporating a modified radiator grille with a large central Prancing Horse, rounded roof and stretched rear. It also featured vertical taillights and dual rear wipers. Its interior had orange Connolly leather with inserts on the seats and doors manufactured by Maison Hermès of Paris. It also sported a clock with rally trip-master function and a retractable side table for the roadbook. Commissioned by an Italian customer, it ended up in the United States.
However, Pinin Farina’s main project was the new 250 GT Coupé intended replace the 250 Europa GT and due to be presented at the 1956 Geneva Motor Show. The result was a completely different car from the previous example, with more geometric shapes, especially in the rear, with two eye-catching tail fins that followed a straight line down the side. The grille was lower and elongated, as were the struts and rear deflectors. Some versions also had an air intake on the long bonnet. All of these variations on the theme were also the result of different production processes too.
Indeed, Pinin Farina could not directly produce all the cars at the new premises in Grugliasco, after the factory moved from Corso Trapani in Turin. As a result, 250 GT production was transferred to the Boano body shop and later, Ellena. The car brochure included: “The production line model that encapsulates the experiences of the sports car”. The essence of Maranello GTs captured in a single line.