Ferrari doesn’t normally dabble in the mundane, but some of its cars are rarer than others. A perfect example is the 288 GTO Evoluzione, a race car-turned-test bench that the company built five units of in the 1980s. While these rarely come up for sale, one is currently being auctioned.
Many enthusiasts are familiar with the 288 GTO, but the Evoluzione model remains substantially more obscure. Ferrari initially developed it to compete in the Group B rally category’s tarmac events. You didn’t need to be a seasoned car-spotter to tell the Evoluzione apart from the standard 288 GTO: it featured a specific, Pininfarina-designed body made with Kevlar and fiberglass and a carbon fiber rear wing. Power came from a 650-horsepower evolution of the road car’s 2.9-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine. Ferrari quoted a top speed of 230 mph.
Had it raced, the 288 GTO Evoluzione could have given Ferrari’s rivals a serious run for their money. It didn’t get the chance to compete because the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) eliminated the Group B class from international rally events in 1986. Ferrari instead used the 288 GTO Evoluzione to test some of the features it later brought to production in the F40, and it’s not a coincidence that several styling cues link the two cars.
Built in 1987, and assigned chassis number 79888, the 288 GTO Evoluzione listed by RM Sotheby’s is the fourth example built. It was finished in 1988 and sold to Belgian pilot Jean Blaton in December of that year. The selling dealer purchased it in 1992 and kept it until a private collector in the United Kingdom bought it in 2006. The car then went through the hands of current Aston Martin chairman Lawrence Stroll, Rick White, David SK Lee, and David Raisbeck. It’s been housed in a private collection located in Europe since 2019.
RM Sotheby’s notes that Italian dealer and repair center Michelotto recently performed a €133,000 (about $130,000) service on this 288 GTO Evoluzione. The list of parts replaced includes the fuel lines, engine oil lines, brake lines, driveshaft boots, seatbelts and windows. Both turbochargers, the water pump, parts of the suspension syste, and the brake calipers were overhauled as well. And the transmission and clutch were serviced, the tires were changed, and the body was repainted in the original Rosso Corsa color.
Act fast if you want it: the auction closes on October 21, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. Paris time (that’s noon in New York and 9:00 a.m. in California). RM hasn’t provided a pre-auction estimate but this won’t be a bargain. The firm sold a standard 288 GTO for $4.4 million in August 2022.