Ferrari Revives a 1950s Legend for Its Latest Supercar
Ferrari filed its initial public offering in the New York Stock Exchange this week, and did it in a way that would make fonder Enzo Ferrari proud. With recent negotiations with investors pushing the brand’s value up to nearly $10 billion, the Prancing Horse moved one big step closer to spinning off from parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. And if the regulatory agencies approve, the company will listed on the ticker as “RACE.”
But that’s not all that would make Enzo proud about this week. On top of all the financial news, the company also happened to unveil the F12tdf, a 770 horsepower rocket based on the F12berlinetta that’s more street-legal GT3 racer than grand tourer. What’s more classic Ferrari than casually dropping a supercar to prove that it’s at the top of its game?
While the F12tdf is certainly impressive, it doesn’t come as a complete surprise. In fact, it’s been looming on the horizon for a while now. Spy pictures originally surfaced in August, but back then, it was rumored to be a revival of the iconic GTO nameplate. With the car’s aggressive flared haunches, and simple round taillights, a resemblance to the ’62-’64 250 GTO is unmistakable. But “tdf” isn’t just some jumble of letters either.
It harkens back to a line of Ferraris that predates even the mighty Gran Turismo Omologato: the 250-based Tour de France cars. Today, it’s synonymous with the annual cycling race, but from 1899 to 1986, it was one of the most competitive auto races in Europe. Perhaps unsurprisingly, from 1956 to 1964 – the height of Ferrari’s golden age – the company dominated the race, often with a special competition “TdF” model built specifically for the task.
Even if there’s no chance of reviving the iconic race in the 21st century, now seems like the perfect time for Ferrari to revive the Tour de France nameplate. The winning 1956 car made news in August when it sold for an eye-watering $13.2 million at Monterey Car Week, and a ’58 model sold in September for $7.2 million, stirring up interest in this often overlooked chapter of Ferrari’s racing history. They may look like rolling sculpture today, but back in the ’50s, the 250 TdF cars could smoke just about anything else on the road and track. Nearly 60 years later, its successor looks like it can easily do the same.
To revive the TdF car, the F12berlinetta was a natural place to start. Ferrari claims its 6.2 liter V12 is its most powerful naturally-aspirated V12 ever, pumping out 731 horsepower and 508 pound-feet of torque, making the F12 one hell of a capable grand tourer. But the F12tdf is the Incredible Hulk to the berlinetta’s Bruce Banner. Every inch of the body is stretched, flared, and widened into an aggressive shape that recalls Ferrari’s wildest front-engined GT designs of yore. And on top of the aforementioned 40 horsepower boost (and bump up to 521 pound-feet of torque), the F12tdf also benefits from a revised gearbox, a 225 pound diet, and aero that produces twice the downforce of the Berlinetta. The result? Zero to 60 in 2.9 seconds, zero to 125 in under eight, and a top speed of 211 miles per hour.
Ferrari hasn’t released details on pricing yet, but we think it’s safe to say that the 21st century Tour de France car will cost slightly more than your run of the mill F12berlinetta, but slightly less than the 1958 250 TdF. Besides, with only 799 examples scheduled for production, it’s likely that every single one of them is already accounted for. No word on whether Ferrari will offer the F12tdf in the iconic blue that its ’56s car wore, or the striking two-tone pattern the later TdF cars wore. All we know is that it’s good to see the brand revive a classic nameplate. Even if it’ll never get the chance to compete in the Tour de France, we wouldn’t bet against this Ferrari.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.
Follow Derek on Twitter @CS_DerekS
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