In the early 1960s Ferrari was in the midst of a giant leap forward in automotive development. The SP series of cars numbered just 6 in total but they were the first of the mid-engined Ferraris, and both their styling and engineering would set trends that would help define the Italian marque for decades to come.

As is often the case with Ferrari, the model name is a direct reference to the engine capacity and layout, in the case of this model it’s a 2.6 litre V8 – the first two numbers in the model name being the engine capacity and the final digit showing the number of cylinders.

The first mid-engined Ferrari was the 1961 246 SP, its wind tunnel developed bodywork was the work of Carlo Chiti – the same man who designed the famous Sharknose Ferrari 156 F1 in 1961. It’s clear that Chiti saw this front-end design being a feature that would be used on cars right across the Ferrari model range, from Formula One cars on down.

The 268 SP and it’s longitudinally mounted 2.6 litre V8 was released in 1962, it was the fastest of the SP cars thanks to its SOHC V8 and its four Weber carburettors, which churned out approximately 250 hp in race trim. The lightweight chassis is of tubular spaceframe construction, and all the SP Ferraris utilised double wishbone independent suspension on all four corners – giving them excellent handling.

We haven’t seen any of the original 6 SP Ferraris come up for sale in recent memory, so it’ll be very interesting to see exactly how much this one sells for when it crosses the auction block with RM Sotheby’s in Monterey on the 19th of August. If recent auction prices for Ferraris are anything to go by it’ll be a bidding process amongst the wealthiest automobile collectors in the world – with what will likely be an eye-watering final hammer price.

Ferrari 268 SP 9

Ferrari 268 SP 6

Ferrari 268 SP 4

Ferrari 268 SP 2

Ferrari 268 SP 8

Ferrari 268 SP 7

Ferrari 268 SP 5

Ferrari 268 SP 3

Ferrari 268 SP 1

Ferrari 268 SP 11

Ferrari 268 SP 10

Tim Scott ©2016 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s