Ferrari 250 GTO
36 cars were made in the years '62/'63. In 1964 'Series II' was introduced, which had a slightly different look. 3 Cars were made, and four older 'Series I' were given a 'Series II' body. It brought the total of GTO's produced to 39.
In 2004, Sports Car International placed the 250 GTO eighth on a list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s, and nominated it the top sports car of all time. Similarly, Motor Trend Classic placed the 250 GTO first on a list of the "Greatest Ferraris of all time".
Design and development
The 250 GTO was designed to compete in GT racing. It was based on the 250 GT SWB. Chief engineer Giotto Bizzarrini installed the 3.0 L V12 engine from the 250 Testa Rossa into the chassis from the 250 GT SWB and worked with designer Sergio Scaglietti to develop the body. After Bizzarrini and most other Ferrari engineers were fired in a dispute with Enzo Ferrari, development was handed over to new engineer Mauro Forghieri, who worked with Scaglietti to continue development of the body, including wind tunnel and track testing. Unlike most Ferraris, it was not designed by a specific individual or design house.
The rest of the car was typical of early-1960s Ferrari technology: hand-welded tube frame, A-arm front suspension, live-axle rear end, disc brakes, and Borrani wire wheels. The five-speed gearbox was new to Ferrari GT racing cars; the metal gate that defined the shift pattern would become a tradition that is still maintained in current models. The interior was extremely basic, to the point where a speedometer was not installed in the instrument panel. Many of its switches came from the Fiat 500, and it was said that as the car was rushed into production, the original cloth seats were made from workers' overalls.
The FIA rules for sports car racing required at least one hundred examples of a car to be built in order for it to be homologated in the GT class. However, Ferrari built only 36 250 GTOs (33 of the "normal" cars, three with the four-litre 330 engine sometimes called the "330 GTO" - recognizable by the large hump on the hood - and three "Type 64" cars, with revised bodywork), but for reasons that are unclear the car was still allowed to race in the GT class.
The car debuted at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1962, driven by American Phil Hill (the Formula One World Driving Champion at the time) and Belgian Olivier Gendebien. Although originally annoyed that they were driving a GT-class car instead of one of the full-race Testa Rossas competing in the prototype class, the experienced pair impressed themselves (and everyone else) by finishing 2nd overall behind the Testa Rossa of Bonnier and Scarfiotti.
The 250 GTO won the World Manufacturer's Championship in 1962, 1963, and 1964.
The 250 GTO was one of the last front-engined cars to remain competitive at the top level of sports car racing. Before the advent of vintage racing the 250 GTO, like other racing cars of the period, passed into obsolescence. Some were used in regional races, while others were used as road cars.
From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, classic car values rose rapidly and the 250 GTO, touted as the Ferrari that most successfully embodies the salient traits of the marque, became the most valuable of all Ferraris.
According to an anonymously authored article in Times Online, a 250 GTO seized by the FBI from a convicted drug dealer was sold in a sealed auction in 1988 for approximately $2 million. In 1989, at the peak of the boom, a 250 GTO was sold to a Japanese buyer for $13.3 million plus commission. By 1991 the market had cooled to the extent that a GTO sold at a Las Vegas auction for $5.5 million, and in 1994 the example that had brought $13.3 million five years earlier changed hands for about $3.5 million. In 2008, a British buyer bought a 250 GTO that formerly belonged to Lee Kun-hee of Samsung Electronics at an auction for a record £15.7 million.
Scarcity and high monetary values led to the creation of several replica 250 GTOs on more common Ferrari chassis. Misrepresentations of the original cars, offered for sale at full market value, have been reported. When Lord Brocket was convicted of insurance fraud in 1996 it came to light that he had passed off his replica as a genuine example, although he had not sold it.
However the values of legitimate high-demand Ferrari models have continued to rise through the present decade.
- Ferrari 250
- Ferrari 250 GT Drogo - the "Breadvan", a 250 SWB modified by Giotto Bizzarrini and Piero Drogo for Giovanni Volpi, in order to challenge the 250 GTO
- "Sunday Times Fastest Cars Competition", Times Online, August 29 2008. Retrieved on September 04 2008.
- Sheehan, Michael. "When Japan Ruled the World", article reproduced from Sports Car Market, May 2006. Retrieved on September 04 2008.
- "Most Expensive Cars Ever Auctioned/1962 Ferrari 250 GTO". forbesautos.com. http://www.forbesautos.com/advice/toptens/collector_7.html. Retrieved on 5 July 2007.
- "Englishman Pays £15.7 Million for Ferrari 250 GTO", WorldofCars, September 22 2008. Retrieved on September 22 2008.
- Buckley, Martin & Rees, Chris (1998). World Encyclopedia of Cars. London: Anness Publishing. ISBN 1-84038-083-7.
- Supercars.net article on Ferrari 250 GTO
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