250 Europa

The 250 Europa took over from the 212 Inter, and for economies of scale, shared the same chassis as the 375 America. The Lampredi V12 was kept below 3 litres.

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Ferrari 250 Europa - 1953

The first cars produced were bodied by Vignale along the lines of the 340 Mexico. Subsequently, production was continued by Pininfarina, who also built a two-seater cabriolet version. There were clear styling overtones with the bigger 375 America, though the latter had an engine that was perhaps more suited to the size of the car.

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The 250 Europa GT was the immediate successor to the 250 Europa model and was presented to the public at the 1954 Paris Salon, initially also being called the 250 Europa. However, the GT suffix to the model title was soon added, to help differentiate it from its predecessor, and then it became known simply as the 250 GT.

The overall shape of the majority of the series was virtually identical to that of the 250 Europa Pininfarina three window coupé that preceded it. In fact, unless you had a keen eye for dimensions, you would need a tape measure to tell them apart, the main difference being in the distance between the front wheel arch and the A-pillar.

Full uniformity of line for a complete series of a model was still to be achieved. One example had special Vignale coachwork for Princess Liliane De Rethy in Belgium, and seven cars had varying designs of berlinetta bodies constructed in aluminium by Pininfarina, that are often regarded as prototypes of the upcoming ’Tour de France’ berlinettas produced between 1956 and 1959. Even some of the standard coupés had some detail body modifications to suit a particular client’s requirements, whilst some were bodied in steel and others in aluminium. As with the 250 Europa series, some examples had a rear seat, but in practice it was really an upholstered luggage platform.

Ferrari 250 Europa - 1953
Ferrari 250 Europa - 1953

The Structure

The largest and most important differences between the 250 Europa and 250 Europa GT lay under the bonnet. By exchanging the long block Lampredi engine of the former model for the Colombo short block V12 engine design, as used in the 250 MM etc., it enabled the wheel base to be reduced by 200 mm to 2600 mm, without compromising cabin space, whilst concurrently the front and rear track were each increased by 29 mm. The chassis, with factory type reference 508, were numbered in the odd number road car sequence carrying a GT suffix, and comprised two main longitudinal tubes, with cross bracing, and outriggers to support the body, with the main chassis tubes now passing above the rear axle, as opposed to under it on the 250 Europa/375 America series.

The suspension was independent at the front, initially with twin wishbones, lever type hydraulic shock absorbers, and a transverse leaf spring, which was superseded by individual coil springs during the production run, whilst the rigid rear axle was supported on semi-elliptic leaf springs, and fitted with lever type hydraulic shock absorbers. Hydraulically operated drum brakes were fitted all round, and the handbrake was cable operated on the rear wheels. Apart from one car, all examples were left-hand drive.

The Engine

As noted, the engine, although still a 3 litre V12 unit, was completely different from that in the 250 Europa, being a development of the Colombo-designed short block V12 unit, with a capacity of 2953 cc, and a bore and stroke of 73 mm x 58.8 mm, fitted with a bank of three twin-choke Weber 36 or 42 DCZ carburettors, with twin coil and front horizontal mounted distributor ignition, to produce a claimed 220 bhp.

This was coupled with a 4-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox, driving through a propeller shaft to the rigid rear axle, for which a range of ratios were available. Perhaps an explanation of the long and short block descriptions would not go amiss at this juncture.

The Lampredi long block design featured cylinder liners that screwed into the cylinder heads, which needed greater bore spacing than the Colombo short block design, which had more conventional push fit cylinder liners and a standard head gasket arrangement, which is more compact.

Ferrari 250 Europa - 1953
Ferrari 250 Europa - 1953

This model was an important landmark in the Ferrari production car story, as it had the largest relatively homogenous model production run at that time, and it marked the point where Pininfarina became, with only one subsequent exception, the sole designer of Ferrari series production cars to date. Also the engine/chassis combination would, with upgrading and modification, form the backbone of Ferrari production car output, in the form of the various 250 GT models, for a decade.

Careful selection of the best shots of the 250 Europa in high definition. The photo gallery shows the distinctive features of this model Ferrari in 1950, focusing on the details and the most important parts.


V12  Engine

Type front, longitudinal 60° V12
Bore/stroke 68 x 68 mm
Unitary displacement 246.95 cc
Total displacement 2963.45 cc
Compression ratio 8 : 1
Maximum power 147 kW (200 hp) at 6300 rpm
Power per litre 67 hp/l
Maximum torque -
Valve actuation single overhead camshaft per bank, two valves per cylinder
Fuel feed three Weber 36 DCF carburettors
Ignition single spark plug per cylinder, two coils
Lubrication wet sump
Clutch twin-plate
Frame tubular steel
Front suspension independent, unequal-length wishbones, transverse leaf spring, Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers
Rear suspension live axle, semi-elliptic springs, Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers
Brakes drums
Transmission 4-speed + reverse
Steering worm and sector
Fuel tank capacity 140 litres
Front tyres 7.10 x 15
Rear tyres 7.10 x 15
Type two-seater coupé, cabriolet
Length -
Width -
Height -
Wheelbase 2800 mm
Front track 1325 mm
Rear track 1320 mm
Weight 1150 kg (dry, coupé)
Top speed 218 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h -
0-400 m -
0-1000 m -