April 18, 2024

Didcot Gateway

Building Cars, People First

A Ferrari Colombo V12 Engine

Ferrari Colombo V12 Engine 1

The Colombo V12 is undoubtably the most important engine in Ferrari’s history, it was introduced in 1947 and remained in production in updated form until 1988, an astonishing 41 year lifespan.

The engine was designed by longtime Enzo Ferrari ally Gioachino Colombo and it was fitted to the first Ferrari ever made, the Ferrari 125S, which would win 6 of the 13 races it entered in 1947 – its first year of competition.

A year later in 1948 the Colombo V12 would power the first Ferrari Formula 1 car, the Ferrari 125 F1, in supercharged form. It would finish third in its first ever race at the Italian Grand Prix.

Enzo and his son Alfredo "Dino" Ferrari

Image DescriptionEnzo Ferrari (second in from the right) and his beloved son Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari (far left) with a pair of Ferrari engineers looking over an early 1.5 liter Colombo V12. Image courtesy of Ferrari.

As the engine was further developed it found a home within the line of production cars being built by Ferrari, it was used in the iconic Ferrari Testa Rossa and Ferrari 250 GTO, the Ferrari 250 GT SWB, the Ferrari Daytona 365 GTB/4, and a slew of others right the way through to the Ferrari 412i of 1988.

The Colombo V12 proved to be remarkably versatile, it began with a displacement of just 1.5 liters but would be expanded out to 4.9 liters by the end of its production.

Power climbed from 116 bhp to 395 bhp, the single overhead cams were replaced with double overhead cams, two valves per cylinder became four, both dry and wet sump versions were developed, and later engines went from Weber carburetors to Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection.

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Image DescriptionThis Colombo V12 benefits from a complete rebuild, and it’s been dyno tested since it was completed which showed 240 bhp at 7,000 rpm.

The example you see here is one of the most common Colombo V12 variants, the 250, with a displacement of 3.0 liters (2,953 cc), a single overhead cam per bank, and two valves per cylinder.

This particular engine was removed from a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE and it now benefits from a full overhaul which included rebuilding the triple Weber carburetors, align honing the block, magnetically inspecting and shot peening the connecting rods, balancing the rotating assembly, and replacing the cylinder liners, pistons, valves, and ignition wires.

If you’d like to read more about it you can visit the listing here on Bring a Trailer, the engine is being offered out of Berkeley, California and there’s a video in the listing of it being dyno-tested post rebuild.

Ferrari Colombo V12 Engine
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Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer.

Ferrari Colombo V12 Engine 1