Rob Walker Racing Ferrari 250 GT SWB

Ferrari Colombo V12 | Legendary engines

Ferrari Colombo V12 | Legendary engines

Most brands have a defining engine – a motor that is foundational in their history, to their legacy and their reputation.

Picking one out for the likes of Ferrari, a marque defined by near-on non-stop 75+ year run of incredible engines, is easier than at first it sounds. It couldn’t be anything other than the Colombo that is at the core of why – good as its various V8s and V6s have been – Ferrari is a V12 brand.

The first Ferrari-developed engine, the Colombo, got its name from Gioacchini Colombo. The first example of the 60-degree V12 displaced just 1.5 litres, as used in the Ferrari 125, with triple carburetors and single overhead cams, but was planned from the start with capacity increases in mind. And increase it did, through 2.0 litres, 2.3 litres and 2.6 litres in the 166, 195 and 212.

Right from the off, the Colombo was a winner, too. The 166MM claimed the first post-war Le Mans victory in 1949, the first of nine for Ferrari’s Colombo-powered cars over the next 16 years.

Indeed it was when the Colombo hit 3.0 litres that it arguably hit its stride in the minds of fans. The 250 is certainly the most famous Colombo-powered family of Ferraris. In the SWB and GTO the Colombo found sports racers that were as beautiful as it sounded.

The Colombo powers what are arguably the best-loved Ferraris of all time that are now blue chip collectibles, from the aforementioned SWB and GTO of course, to the 250 TRs, 250LM, 250P and 275P. The engine underwent significant changes and grew through 3.3 litres and 4.0 litres as the ‘60s wore on, with Ferrari’s pursuit of power spurned by the burly V8-engined Ford GT40.

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This six-carb 3.0-litre variant of the engine is however widely beloved as the best iteration, combining drivability with the effervescence and low inertia of a still relatively small-capacity engine. In fact, it was in this middling capacity Colombo’s image in terms of these attributes that Gordon Murray envisioned his modern day Cosworth-developed V12.

The Colombo did however live for many decades beyond its 1960s heyday, far outliving the Lampredi that was conceived to replace it. For the 275 the Colombo got dual overhead cams for 330PS (243kW) at a heady 8,000rpm, while the 365’s 320PS (235kW) mill retained single cams to begin with and grew to 4.4 litres.

The 400 series of four-seat GTs were the last to cradle the Colombo, which had by that time gained a quad-cam setup and grown to 4.8 litres. It even got fuel injection for 1979 and eventually grew to 5.0 litres in 1986. By the time the last 340PS (250kW) 412i of 1988 was produced, the 4,943cc fuel-injected quad-cam monster that powered it was a very distant relation of the 118PS (87kW) 1.5-litre that introduced the Colombo 41 years earlier.

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Aston Martin DBZ Centenary Collection

Stunning Aston Martin DBZ Collection up for sale at incredible price

Stunning Aston Martin DBZ Collection up for sale at incredible price

For £6.1million, the DBZ Centenary celebrated Zagato’s 100th birthday with the Superleggera-based DBS GT Zagato and a classic DB4 GT Zagato continuation. Just 19 pairs were made and for the first time since, a matching pair has come up for sale.

Available with Nicholas Lee & Co, this pair comes finished in Caribbean Pearl over dark blue, with both cars in brand new condition.

Aston Martin’s long-standing relationship with Zagato has been particularly fruitful over the past 20 years or so, with absolute stunners such as the DB7 GT Zagato, V12 Vantage Zagatos and the Vanquish Zagato family. The most recent in the DBZ Centenary Collection however, came, in an unprecedented move, as a pair of cars rather than just the one.

The DBS GT Zagato is the only of the two cars to be road legal. The DB4 is technically a brand new car, so given it was built as an identical replica of a car first built in the ‘60s, it’s not compliant with various safety and emissions regulations that govern modern road cars.

The DBS, though, is the ultimate continent crosser, with an incredible motorised grille opening and closing in accordance with the cooling and feeding needs of its voluminous 5.2-litre 770PS (566kW) twin-turbo V12 engine. It’s actually identical to the V12 later used in the run-out DBS 770 Ultimate. Obviously the rest of the bodywork is entirely bespoke too and made out of carbon-fibre. Even the headlights are bespoke, which is a first for a 21st-century Zagato Aston.

We understand that every vehicle is unique, which is why our Agreed Valuation policies take the true value of your classic car into account.

“In the 40 or more years I have been dealing in Aston Martin cars, I have never seen demand for the Zagato variants dwindle,” said Nicholas Mee.

“They remain irresistible; beautifully crafted, timeless in design and incredibly rare, they’re always near the top of a collector’s wish list. With the DBZ Centenary Collection we have a pair of cars that’s likely to never be repeated by Aston Martin, as it moves away from Continuation models. This is a chance to acquire both an icon and a future icon of one of the automotive industry’s most enduring and effective unions.”

So, what about the thorny issue of price? Being so rare, surely values have shot to the moon from that £6.1million original asking price? Actually… no. Quite the opposite in fact. Grab a bargain, with this princely pair being available for ‘just’ £3.75million.

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