In the 1960s, Rome was immersed in a wave of crime, encouraged by the mafias that roamed freely through the eternal city. Car chases were the order of the day, but the police were unable to catch up with all the criminals. Even with their Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 they were not able to catch criminals who were faster and more intelligent. It was then that police officer Armando Spatafora was asked what did he need to be able to catch more criminals. Neither short nor lazy, he replied “I need a Ferrari”.
Along with three other officers with extensive experience and success in fighting crime, he received a evasive and high speed driving course in Maranello – at the Ferrari house. At the end of this course, the Squadra Mobile of Rome was brought back to the capital two Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2. Built in 1962, these sleek, powerful, and extremely expensive luxury coupes were the ultimate weapon in high-speed pursuits. They were delicate cars to drive, and a few weeks after being released, one of them suffered a total loss.
These cars were known as “Panthers”, as the illustration on their front wing gives away.
The other unit, with chassis number 3999, is the one that stars in this article, being for sale at Girardo, one of the best European luxury car dealers. That Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 rode the Legendary V12 “Colombo” engine, three-liter displacement and 240 hp power – its four-speed manual gearbox sent its power to the rear. Although it is not excessively powerful by today’s standards, consider that the average car in Italy at the time was a FIAT 500 that barely reached 40 HP.
Built on a chassis of stringers and cross members, its bodywork was courtesy of the artists of Pininfarina, who created a beautiful car like few others. Its interior was luxurious and comfortable, with brown leather seats, a wooden steering wheel and beautiful analog instrumentation. Car remained in service with the Squadra Mobile for six years, religiously maintained by Ferrari in Maranello, and sparing not a single lira on repairs. Spatafora was unstoppable at his controls, and became a legend in that Rome of the sixties.
It still mounts its original license plates. Its authenticity was certified by Ferrari Classiche in 2014.
In fact, it was a matter of prestige in the criminal world to beat Spatafora in a manhunt. Car it was withdrawn from service in 1968 and in 1972 it was sold at public auction of military surplus. Alberto Capelli, his buyer, knew exactly what he was buying. AND decided not to restore the car, which today retains its original interior and mechanics. Spatafora reunited with the car in 1984 at the Coppa delle Dolomiti, and in 2000, it was exhibited at the then newly created museum of police vehicles in Rome.
The car has participated in countless Ferrari Classiche events and to this day, it is the only civilian car that is authorized to carry the emblems of the Squadra Volante and a blue light on the roof. As is logical, it is a very high value car, and Girardo currently does not communicate its price. But rest assured that its price will be at least seven figures.