David Lee, one of the best-known Ferrari collectors in the United States, brought a very special car to Jay Leno Garage for the latest episode: a 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO.
The 1985 288 GTO was never sold in the U.S., which made it the most difficult car for Lee to purchase so far, he told Leno. Lee is a wealthy watch and jewelry dealer from California, who collects rare and desirable Ferraris. Yet, sometimes that’s not even enough to earn a spot on Ferrari’s radar — the firm famously denied Lee a LaFerrari Aperta back in 2017.
For those who may not know much about the 288 GTO, you’d be forgiven. It was Ferrari’s supercar precursor to the show-stopping F40 and F50 to come. The 288 GTO was originally engineered and planned for Group B rally racing, before the group was banned by the FIA for its deadly power and speed.
For Ferrari, the decision to end Group B came as the company was ready to homologate the cars. Instead, they put 272 of the cars into production for private sale. Lee was mesmerized by the cars when he was younger and always made the 288 GTO a prized desire.
Under the hood is a 2.8-liter (2.88-liter, to be specific) V8 with a pair of turbochargers attached. The boosted V8 makes 400 horsepower, which in 1985, was a serious figure. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual and power is sent to the rear wheels. Truly, it can be considered one of the last great analog supercars.
Lee didn’t share when he bought the car, but he said he used to daily drive the car. Now, as prices for the vehicles begin to soar toward $3 million, it’s parked a little more often.