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Ferrari 250 GT SWB History, Specifications and Spares | GTO Classic Ferrari Parts

250 GT SWB

The 250 GT Berlinetta was first presented to the public at the 1959 Paris Motor Show and was built on a 2400 mm wheelbase passo corto or short wheel base chassis of twin, large oval section longitudinal members, with substantial cross bracing and a rectangular section front cross member. The suspension was independent coil spring and wishbone at the front, with a rigid rear end featuring semi-elliptic leaf springs and radius arms to locate the axle, and hydraulic shock absorbers all round. The SWB was the first production road Ferrari to be fitted with standard disc brakes and it was available in either left- or right-hand drive, another first in Ferrari road car production.

An azzuro 250 GT Berlinetta SWB outside GTO House
An azzuro 250 GT Berlinetta SWB outside GTO House

Initially it was available in ‘Competizione’ specification, due to their specific track design features that originally included an all-alloy body, a 3 litre 280hp Colombo 12-cylinder engine complete with double-barrel Weber carburettors, a four-speed manual gearbox and a lightweight interior trim. The SWB was designed for performance in acceleration, braking and handling, to never-seen-before level. A the later-introduced heavier steel body ‘Lusso’ version that was created with slightly lesser performance of 240hp and offered more road and grand touring ability - the addition of bumpers, a full leather interior, wind-up windows, and a better sound dampening which made the kerb weight increase from 1050kg to 1160kg. 

The rear of a 250 GT SWB at GTO House
The rear of a 250 GT SWB at GTO House

Following the ‘lusso’ version, there was also the opportunity to mix between the versions, depending upon the client’s specific wishes at the time. The early 1960 ‘Competizione’ version had the following design features which are tell-tale signs of the production period including; the door windows having a pronounced downward curve to the top rear edge, an exhaust air vent in the top centre of the rear screen, vertical angled wing vents on the front and rear wings with trim surrounding three sides, there is a number plate recess in the boot lid and the brake cooling intake slots in the front valance have projecting surrounds. The later 1960 examples were very similar, apart from the cabin exhaust air slot moved from the rear screen to a recess in the trailing edge of the roof and wind-up door windows became available with opening quarter lights. It also features an external fuel fuller cap.

One of the 250 GT SWB fuel filler placement options
One of the 250 GT SWB fuel filler placement options

The 250 GT SWB remains one of the mainstays of our workshops here at GTO Engineering. We are expert in the model having carried out ground-up, bare-metal restorations on a number of competitzione and lusso examples. We pride ourselves in preserving originality with many of our engineers being the first restorer of unmolested examples stretching back over the last thirty years. We pride ourselves in being globally-renowned as the go-to parts supplier for 250 GT SWB.


Type: front, longitudinal 60⁰ V12
Bore and Stroke: 73 x 58.8mm
Total Displacement: 2,953cc
Compression Ratio: 9.2:1
Maximum Power: 276bhp at 7,000rpm

Chassis and Suspension

Frame: tubular steel
Front Suspension: independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension: live axle, radius arms, semi-elliptic springs, telescopic shock absorbers
Brakes: discs
Gearbox: 4 speed + reverse
Front Tyres: 6.00 x 16
Rear Tyres: 6.00 x 16
Fuel Tank: 120 litres – 26.4 gallons

Dimensions and Weight

Type: berlinetta
Wheelbase: 2,400mm
Front Track: 1,354mm
Rear Track: 1,349mm
Dry Weight: 960kg


Maximum Speed: 166 mph - 268 km/h