The Ferrari 288 GTO is an exotic homologation special of the Ferrari 308 GTB.
It was produced from 1984 to 1987 in Ferrari's Maranello factory, and the GT stands for Gran Turismo and the O for Omologata (homologated in Italian).
It was built to compete in the new Group B Circuit Race series for which a minimum of 200 cars were required for homologation. Due to lackluster participation caused by these regulations, the Group B Circuit series never took off and so the GTO never raced - all 272 cars built remaining as purely road cars.
Some of the GTO's styling features were first displayed on a 308 GTB design exercise by Pininfarina shown at the 1977 Geneva Auto Salon. The 288 GTO started out as a modified version of the 308/328 to hold down costs and to build the car quickly, but little of the 308/328 was left when the 288 GTO was finished.
Most noticeable differences were the GTOs bulging fender flares, larger front/rear spoilers, large "flag-style" outside mirrors and four driving lights at the far sides of the grille.
Retained from the original 250 GTO were slanted air vents, put in the GTO's rear fenders to cool the brakes, as well as the rear wing's design, borrowed from the 250 GTO's original wing. The GTO also had wider body panels than the 308's because they had to cover much larger Goodyear tires mounted on racing wheels. The suspension's height could be set higher for road use and lower for racing on tracks.
The GTO's weight was 2,555 lb (1,159 kg), compared to 3,085–3,350 lb (1,399–1,520 kg) for the 308/328.
Steel was used just for the doors because major body panels were made from molded fiberglass. Kevlar was used for the hood, and the roof was made from Kevlar and carbon fiber.
Who knows just how much a legend the 288 could have become if it had been a successful race car?