1964 Ferrari 250 LM
GALLERY: Behind The Scenes On Our 1964 Ferrari 250 LM
Every Tuesday we bring you the best automotive stories from around the globe in filmic form, and it’s our goal to probe every corner of this vast world, from individuals chasing their passion from cramped garages to the upper echelons of exclusivity, to the charms of oddities like the Isetta all the way up to the uncompromising performance of icons like the Carrera RS. Sometimes though, we feature a car that occupies the extreme ends of more than one spectrum. The Ferrari 250 LM is such a machine, at once able to weaken your knees and drop your jaw with its design while representing the pinnacle of motorsport success in its mechanical engineering. For the past 70 years, Ferrari cars have been at the forefront of style and speed, and the 250-based cars are perhaps the best representations of this, and the LM especially so.
An evolution of the 250 P, the 250 LM also claimed overall victory at the crucible of endurance racing it was named after, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But as Remo Ferri, the owner of this particular 1964 example puts it, “I could stare at that car forever, I don’t even have to drive it, I just love to look at it.” It is a difficult thing to take sides on for sure: is the car’s supreme achievement its beauty, or its brawn? It might look like a delicate construction meant for museums, but that notion is a product of the reverence this car has commanded from its career on the race track. This example for instance was entered in 38 races and landed a position on the podium 15 times. This is a machine capable of being driven, hard, for a non-stop day of racing. This is a car that’s won one of the most challenging tests of at-speed stamina, and in the seven decades of Ferrari’s production of road and racing cars, it has proven to be a standout among that accomplished crowd.
The Ferrari 250 LM was to be the manufacturer’s last overall champion at Le Mans, but it is more than just a factoid. While simple by today’s standards, the engineering of this car is an enduring example of the timeless nature of doing things to the highest standards. It is basically a tube frame with a V12 and six carbs mounted behind the driver’s cockpit, but the way it fits together and the way the components were constructed to begin with is what sets it above—all this predates the crazy carbon compounds that make up modern race cars, and yet it still looks the absolute business. As far as its contemporaries go, it was.
It is a remarkable car for these characteristics—competitive might and a purity of engineering—and that’s before getting into the aesthetic values. It is a testament to Ferrari’s ability to construct cars that can win on the track and also win the hearts and minds of those who might have cheered for their rivals—it is downright good-looking, if not simply beyond it. The 1960s were ripe for this kind of car, what with the aerodynamic fins and wings and ground effects still a ways off in the future, but even so, few could compare to the presence of the 250 LM. It looks as if beauty was the primary goal, with the performance buried within it’s bodywork just a nice byproduct.
Mr. Ferri sums it up nicely: Ferrari “has so much mystique, so much history, so much to give.” The brand has earned such a status on the might of cars like this one, and though it is number 9 of just 32, Mr. Ferri is still adding to its history by campaigning it in historic racing with his motorsport team. It is a history that includes drives by F1 greats Nino Vaccarella and Ludovico Scarfiotti. It is a history that will endure.