not rambling Jeff
the cliche' about the bottle being half full or half empty could apply as well... money coming in from Fiat, LdM's control through Fiat, volume production, wider appeal could also be argued as low points for Mr Ferrari, yet be benchmarks to the company moving forward to bigger and better
There are all sort of transition points for Ferrari through the years.
Going to Pininfarina for the majority of body building was apparently driven by a need for more capacity. A relative term when you look at his yearly production but apparently more than Vignale and Touring could reasonably handle. Some might argue that the Pininfarina designs, although well done, lost a lot of the flamboyance that especially Vignale had shown.
By the later 1950s Ferrari had to rely upon the road cars and dual purpose GTs because sales of the even numbered racers were not going to sustain the company. If you will, until this transition Ferrari could sell a decent quantity of front line competitive sports racers to independents. His cars stopped being the car to have as the British and US started to dominate the racing at the amateur level. You are also seeing more short sprint racing instead of long endurance - the winning formula for a car was different.
Fiat's increasing control stopped most of the customization that had made many of the Ferraris unique. It probably did make the place run more efficiently but it ended a portion of the old mystique. It is nice to see that Ferrari with the Atellier and now the more extensive personalization programs have recognized that some of their clients want more freedom in their choices.
The 288 GTO marked the start of cars created with pre-ordained production runs that traded on the history of the marque. If not for this blatant mining of past glory the car would not have been named a GTO. As the F40, F50 and Enzo came along it reinforced the ability of the company to mine their heritage for extra profit margins. [This is not a statement against the ability of the cars themselves but a viewing of the marketing mentaility of the management]
Everything going into 1969 was a transition for Ferrari. Their single largest market had just imposed new safety and emission standards. Effectively all the rules had been written as if all manufactures were GM, Ford and Chrysler with their level of resources. Someone small like Ferrari got minimal consideration of what it would take to create the solutions then certify the results. This saw a marked reduction in what cars were certified for the US (and which were not) as well as, for a period of time, the limbo of deciding if Ferrari would even stay in the market. Even in the aftermath the US gets its versions of new Ferraris after they have been on sale in other parts of the world.