A 1985 Ferrari 288GTO that once graced the cover of Classic & Sports Car has been stolen on a test drive then recovered by police a day later.
The ultra-rare Prancing Horse, which featured in the June 2003 issue of the magazine in a duel with the Porsche 959, had been offered for sale by a dealer in Düsseldorf, Germany, with a price tag of €2.35m (£2.05m).
But the deal turned sour when the suspect sped off in the 400bhp machine, which was once owned by ex-Formula One ace Eddie Irvine.
The 288GTO is a rare beast even among Ferrari supercars. Built to the tune of just 272 examples, it was designed specifically to race in Group B, but had to settle for being ‘just’ a road car after the demise of that category.
But what a road car it was: this Pininfarina-penned machine was arguably the best-looking of Maranello’s supercars and could reach 60mph from standing in 4.9 seconds and continue all the way to 189mph.
Its twin-turbo V8 provided the foundations for the F40, which followed just three years later and which owes more than a debt of gratitude to its predecessor.
The would-be buyer clearly appreciated its charms, having reportedly been in touch with the firm for several weeks before requesting the test drive, which took place on Monday (13 May).
All went well initially, with the seller taking the wheel of the Rosso Corsa supercar – but when he stepped out of the vehicle to swap places, the suspect took his chance and disappeared into the distance.
Fortunately, the 288GTO, which has only around 27,000 miles on the clock, was discovered hidden in a garage in the town of Grevenbroich, not far from Düsseldorf city centre, yesterday evening, according to Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.
Dusseldorf Police have released a photograph of the suspect, who remains at large.
Top image: Polizei Düsseldorf