Presented today is a well-worn example of a mid- to late-'60s Corgi Toys 1:43 Ferrari Berlinetta 250 Le Mans. This particular example is a veteran of many races both indoors and outdoors around my childhood home against its arch-rival, a Porsche Carrera 6.
The Ferrari 250 was built from 1953 to 1964. Ferrari's most successful early line, the 250 series included several variants. It was replaced by the 275 and the 330. The Corgi version was produced from 1965 to 1972 in a single variant as shown here, always red and always in Texaco #4 livery.
Most 250 road cars share the same two wheelbases, 2,400 mm (94.5 in) for short wheelbase (SWB) and 2,600 mm (102.4 in) for long wheelbase (LWB). Most convertibles used the SWB type.
Nearly all 250s share the same Colombo Tipo 125 V12 engine. At 2,953 cc (180 cu in), it was notable for its light weight and impressive output of up to 300 PS (221 kW; 296 hp) in the Testa Rossa and GTO. The V12 weighed hundreds of pounds less than its chief competitors — for example, it was nearly half the weight of the Jaguar XK straight-6. Ferrari uses the displacement of a single cylinder as the model designation.
It's interesting that the Corgi Toy version boasts "350 H.P." on the engine cover, contradicting the 296 hp maximum documented elsewhere.
Typical of Ferrari, the Colombo V12 made its debut on the race track, with the racing 250s preceding the street cars by three years. The light V12 propelled the small Ferrari 250 racing cars to numerous victories.
The mid-engined Berlinetta 250 Le Mans looked very much the prototype racer but was intended for production as a road-going GT. Descended from the 250 P, the Le Mans also appeared in 1963 and sported Pininfarina bodywork. Ferrari was unable to persuade the FIA that he would build the 100 examples required to homologate the car for GT racing. Eventually, 32 LMs were built up to 1965. As a result, Ferrari withdrew from factory participation in the GT class of the 1965 World Sportscar Championship, allowing the Shelby Cobra team to dominate. Only the very early LM's were true 250 models. All the others made as 3300cc models, and as such should have been named 275 LM. The early cars were converted to the 3300cc engine.