LT1-Powered Ferrari 250 – What's Your Take?

1963 Ferrari 250GTE for sale
A few days ago on the ever-awesome Bring A Trailer, they covered the sale of a Ferrari 250GTE (that’s a relatively unloved 2+2 iteration of the 250 model) for a “mere” $38,000. The catch? Gone is the 3.0L v12 and manual transmission, replaced by an LT-1 and 700R4 slushbox.

1963 Ferrari 250GTE for sale
On one hand we loves us some crazy engine swaps. On the other, we loves us some V12s. We like the idea of horrifying Ferrari purists, but…really?700R4? That said, the LT-1 powered example would almost certainly run circles around a pristine ’63. Maybe view it as a project car, one in dire need of some better looking vintage speed goodies and a proper transmission…
1963 Ferrari 250GTE for sale
What say you?

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47 responses to “LT1-Powered Ferrari 250 – What's Your Take?”

  1. Deartháir Avatar

    I love the idea of horrifying the Ferraristi so. goddamn. much, but I just can't get on board with this one. It's done so half-assed that it's offensive to me as a Ferrari-hating hobbyist. There are SO many other relevant engines that would have been good options. For instance, as a nice "Screw You" to Ferraristi, a GT40 engine would be an insult of artistic proportions. This just comes across as ignorance.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      I forgot to mention the "ultra leather" interior, too.

    2. FAЯT SMUCKEЯ Avatar

      Hey Brother! I'm with you going the Ford route, but I'm more partisan to the 2.3 L Lima I4 out of a 1982 Ford Granada.

      1. highmileage_v1 Avatar

        I'm thinking the ultimate engine swap insult would be the one litre of throbbing muscle out of my Metro. Three cylinders of… ah… shit, I don't know, certainly not power.

        1. AteUpWithMotor Avatar

          Three cylinders of….
          Sound and fury?

          1. highmileage_v1 Avatar

            Yup, that's it, nothing else. Well, maybe some two-stroke-ish clouds of smoke.

      2. Deartháir Avatar

        HA! I like the way you think. Can it have blown piston rings too?

    3. tenbeers Avatar

      I like the way you think sometimes.

    4. Peter_Dushenski Avatar

      You guys all sound like your names should be Ferruccio Lamborghini, what with all the Ferrari hate. So wouldn’t a Murciélago’s V12 be most fitting?

      1. jeremyn Avatar

        Ohhhh yeah.. Or Volvo/Audi Turbo Straight 5?

    5. Target29 Avatar

      Amen, Brutha'!!!

  2. discontinuuity Avatar


  3. P161911 Avatar

    The LT1 is no great crime, but it seems an LSX wouldn't have been that much more, even in 2005. The only possible excuse for the automatic is that it didn't require hacking into the Ferrari body parts. Would it have been THAT hard to put a T-5 or a Tremec in there?
    Personally, I would have tried to sell the Borranis to finance fixing the V-12 instead of ditching the V-12 for cash.

  4. lilwillie Avatar

    I'd rock the shit out of that car. I'd make sure to hit every Ferrari "meet" I could and proudly pop the hood and watch people's heads explode in anger.
    Purists who get mad at people make me laugh. I enjoy watching them get all bent out of shape over stuff like that.

  5. Benito Avatar

    I don't know how to feel. I love the LT1… I love V8 swaps. I'm no Ferrari aficionado. But something about this doesn't sit well with me. Its like that guy at the office who looks really nice, he seems to have a lot of normal hobbies, but when he looks at you, you get scared and run back to your cubicle.

  6. bzr Avatar

    You just know that when 5:00 comes around, he's going to drive straight home and drown a puppy in the bathtub, just for the hell of it.

  7. Sparky_Pete Avatar

    It's like meeting a hot chick at the bar, then realizing she has hairy legs.

    1. Cypress_Joe Avatar

      Hairy legs can be shaved… this is more of a botched surgery aftermath.

    2. derek Avatar

      No, it's more like meeting a hot chick at the bar, then realizing she has a penis.

  8. PFG Avatar

    You guys who are fantasizing about using this car to anger the Ferrari purists are giving waaaaay to much weight to the GTE's esteem in that community. THIS is the car they all cut up to build their Testa Rossa replicas.

  9. From_a_Buick_6 Avatar

    I'm not Ferrari enthusiast by any means, and I'm not that big of a purist. But I can't stand SBC engine swaps. It's been done so many times, and the original motor or a more exotic swap is just more interesting.
    So, no, I don't think this is sacrelige, just really, really dumb.

  10. rocketrodeo Avatar

    The crinkle-coat red valve covers are a nice touch. Because, you know, someone might actually mistake it for a Ferrari V12.

  11. M44Power Avatar

    It needs a gigantic intake sticking through the hood, and a map to the nearest Ferrari Club meeting.

  12. dustin_driver Avatar

    Methinks the Ferrariati scoff at the 250GTE, so this swap probably wouldn't offend them any more than the rest of the car.
    But I still think it fails. If I were to do it, I'd rock a '60s 327 Vette mill with a lumpy cam, 850 Holley, and glass packs. And a four-speed transmission with a Hurst shifter. Then I'd do everything in my power to absolutely destroy that Italian piece of crap, use the unadulterated rage of the roaring V8 to tear it asunder. Because, really, this is one of the ugliest and shittiest Ferraris ever made and that LT1 would be better off in a Camaro.

    1. notford Avatar

      That nearly gave me whiplash. Awesome.

  13. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Whoa. Hey now. Don't get too crazy.

    1. Peter_Dushenski Avatar

      This town deserves a better class of criminal, and I’m going to give it to them.

  14. smokyburnout Avatar

    Quick internet research shows that a Ferrari 250 GTE weighs about 3100 pounds. Minus the V12, 2700 pounds. Usually a reasonably strong person can carry a manual transmission in their arms by themselves, so that can't be more than 100, 150 pounds. 2600 pounds is a bit too much car for a 'Busa swap.
    You know what that means…
    Turbo 'Busa swap!

  15. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    Man, if only this had a manual, it'd be amazing. Engine's fine, though I would've gone with something weirder – perhaps a 318/360.

  16. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Considering that a new Chevy crate motor probably costs about the same as a tune up on the V-12, maybe including installation, this is a pretty wise choice. The engines are entirely different, but the proof in the pudding would be the relative weights of the mills, and a comparison of the HP and torque curves. Naturally, a slush box has no business in this car.

  17. TurboBrick Avatar

    I think it's about time someone took the blasphemy to the next level. Yep, that's right, it's diesel time! I think Mercedes OM617 should be rude and crude enough to leave a lasting impression on the Concours d'elegance crowd.

  18. vwminispeedster Avatar

    And the award for best use of Frogurt in a tag goes to…… Mad_Science!

  19. Goingincirclez Avatar

    Would it be easier to decide if you knew that somewhere, in an alternate universe, in a far-off place called "opposite land", lurks a C5 Corvette with a 3-liter V-12?

    1. P161911 Avatar

      A C2 or C3 Vette would be more appropriate for a 3L V-12. I've got a C3 that needs a new engine if anyone wants to donate a Ferrari V-12.

  20. njhoon Avatar

    I'm torn, I usually love swaps, customs etc and I am no purist, but….some things should not be messed with. Old sports cars are one of those things, leave them be, preserve them, show them, and most of all drive them. The spirit that they were built on is getting obfuscated by lack of imagination, computer aided design (leading to boring smoothed out designs) etc. etc. If you want something like this, start with a kit of some kind, leave the originals alone. If I where to build a 28 – 32 Ford I would start with a Brookfield body, not an original. Do the same with this. I understand the motivation behind this one but really, An auto trans? That shows lack of imagination and laziness. I think the execution of this shows a disrespect for the spirit for which this car was originally built. And that is an insult to sports car lovers everywhere.
    All right, now let me don my asbestos undies.

  21. MrGoodCat Avatar

    What happened to the original engine? the real amazing swap would be to see this v12 transplanted in a Geo metro, or a mini.

  22. AteUpWithMotor Avatar

    I dunno. Ferraris of that era are pretty crude in a lot of ways, and the V12 and pretty styling are pretty much their only virtues. Dropping a modern engine in something like an Alvis Td — which has lovely Graber bodywork, but an ancient lump of a six — is one thing, but this is kind of like casting [insert sex symbol of your choice] in a movie and putting a bag over his/her head through most of the running time.

  23. Tripl3fast Avatar

    Crappy kit car. Pay off the LeMons judges and race it.
    /not a Ferrari fan at all

  24. W. Kiernan Avatar
    W. Kiernan

    It lacks a Screaming Chicken decal on the hood. Had that, it would be perfecto!

  25. SSurfer321 Avatar

    The LT1 is shit. I'm sorry. I'm not a bowtie fanatic but I know a LS series is the better SBC. The LT1 is fine so long as you drive it in Death Valley. Don't let any water near it or it won't start. Optispark FTL.
    And the slushbox is just blasphemy in ANY sporting car.

  26. Jim 7 Avatar
    Jim 7

    I've got no problem with an automatic in a Gran Turismo, and a lot of early sports car racers pulled the engines in their second-hand factory rides, threw in an OHV V8 and kept racing. If you want something cool that you actually drive, it's not a bad way to go. I'd love to see it with some Webers.

  27. SeanKHotay Avatar

    Who rescued this car from the Isle of Dr. Moreau?

  28. 550SC Avatar

    LT1 and a slushbox is the laziest of the lazy swaps, and speaks of someone completely uninterested in how his car behaves in motion.
    Poor ol’ Ferrari… I’m anything but fan of the brand, but a vintage GT is a vintage GT, and old sheetmetal should be treated with respect.
    Better ad: Ferrari 250GTE seeks Alfa Brera V6 and T-56 tranny for long-term relationship. Enjoys long trips along winding biways. Turn-offs: heavy block castings, Sawz-Alls.

  29. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    I'd rather go a little more modern. Drop the carb in favor of FI, add a 6 speed manual, then maybe you'll have something there. As is it's just kind of "meh".

  30. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    okay I can deal with the engine choice, but it had better be built to be bad.
    What's up with the tranny choice?
    Why go half-ass when you could be super trick and make it something cohesive with the rest of the car in beauty?
    Why not do something odd or huge? No viper blocks sitting around? What about a massive 460? 502? Shit, warp everyone's minds and put some exotic straight six in there.

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