Shame to Lusso you: A eulogy to the last four-seat Ferrari GT

However, its greatest appeal, and its unique role in the brand’s portfolio, is that this is a Ferrari you can take entirely for granted. It’s not a car you’d choose to spend as much time cleaning as driving. You don’t need to look at the weather forecast before heading out. If you kerbed one of those exquisite forged rims, you’d probably just leave it dinged, because if you cared that much about how your Lusso looked, you’d probably not be minded to buy a Lusso. On the contrary, this isn’t a Ferrari for the fastidious but one for people who have more important things to think about. It’s a Ferrari to use and abuse all the time and for every reason. And that’s an important and legitimate role for it to play.

As a thing to drive, it’s not extraordinary enough to merit the high days and holidays special-occasion treatment; but as a thing to own, out there in the real world, where every road isn’t a deserted mountain pass and every day isn’t a stress-free day of leisure, it makes a strong case for itself, especially if someone else has already kindly borne the brunt of the depreciation for you.

The secret to these cars, so far as I can tell through the generations I’ve driven while doing this job (456 GT, 612 Scaglietti, FF and Lusso), is to blend that everyday ease of use with just enough stardust to ensure you never forget that, above all else, you’re driving a Ferrari. And while the GTC4 Lusso T is not one of Maranello’s all-time greats, it understands and executes its mission flawlessly. Whether we will be able to say the same about a Ferrari SUV, only time will tell.

The original Lusso

Oddly enough, the first Ferrari to be known as the Lusso, and first shown at the Paris show in 1962, wasn’t a 2+2 at all. It was a strict two-seater using the chassis dimensions of the 250 SWB racing car but with its 3.0-litre V12 detuned from 280bhp to a more manageable 240bhp and mounted further forward in the car to liberate some much-needed additional cabin space. It doesn’t even appear as if ‘Lusso’ was ever an official factory title but more the name by which the car became known over time thanks to its decidedly luxuriously appointed cabin. Production ceased in 1964 after 350 units had been built.

The direct antecedent of today’s Lusso was the 250GT 2+2, also known as the 250 GTE or even 250 GT/E, a car launched in 1960 and which, because of its somewhat dowdy appearance, has never enjoyed the acclaim it deserves. It was in fact the first Ferrari ever to be built in significant volume, transforming the company from cottage industry to major manufacturer and spawning a brand-new model line that would survive fully six decades. Production ceased in 1963 after nearly 1000 cars had been built, a runaway record for any Ferrari model of any kind up until that time.


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