Introduced at the 1963 Paris Auto Show as the replacement for the front engined 250 GTO, the 250 LM was a direct evolution of the sport prototype 250 P spyder, which had won the LeMans 24 hours that year. In an effort to get around the FIA homologation rules, Enzo Ferrari claimed that the LM was a variant of the production 250 GT SWB, however this sidestepping of the rules was ultimately disallowed and the 250 LM was forced to compete in the tougher sport prototype class. Enzo had already gotten away with this tactic once, for the GTO itself, and the FIA was not going to get taken in again.
While the first 250 LM was fitted with the 3 litre V-12, client demands for increased power to compensate for the coupe’s heavier weight caused the rest of the production run to be fitted with a bored out 3.3 litre V-12, producing 320 hp at 7500 rpm. Using Ferrari’s own numbering system, these cars should have been renamed 275 LM, but Ferrari’s insistance that this was the product of the 250 GT’s evolution kept the naming consistent to the original prototype.
There were a total of 32 Ferrari 250 LMs built, although a number of replicas have been built, swelling the number of known examples today to 38 or more. The pinacle of the 250 LM’s success came in 1965, winning the 24 Hours of LeMans, the car entered by Chinetti’s North American racing team, driven by Masten Gregory and future world champion Jochen Rindt.