This red car is a blue-chip investment — for in the excessive world of classic-car investment the Ferrari 250 GTO is as valuable as they come. It falls into that glamorous category of racers that can be driven on the road by those lucky enough to afford one. Actually it should never have made the track, being designed for the GT series that required a hundred of the relevant model to be manufactured before it was eligible.
Enzo Ferrari obviously had all the right numbers in his phone book, for the 250 GTO was allowed to race despite the fact that only 36 were made. And race it did — finishing second on debut in Florida’s Sebring 12 Hour race and winning the World Manufacturers’ Championship in ’62, ’63 and ’64. In so doing, it was one of the last successful front-engined racing cars, for the era of mid-engine supremacy was nigh.
The 250 GTO was developed from a short-wheelbase 250 GT chassis fitted with a 3 litre engine from the 250 Testa Rossa, whilst Sergio Scaglietti designed the slippery body.
The five-speed manual gearbox had the metal gate that subsequently became a Ferrari signature, and there could be no doubt that this was a serious racing car rather than a fancy rich man’s toy. Instrumentation was basic and switches came from the mighty Fiat 500. It is even rumored that the first seats were covered with overall cloth, so hastily was the 250 GTO rushed into production.
Some may disagree with the premise that the Ferrari 250 GTO is the greatest sports car ever made, but few dispute the fact that it represents a perfect marriage of form and function — one of the most beautiful shapes ever to grace a Ferrari chassis and a winner to boot.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1962 (until 1964)
2,953 cc V12
Top speed of 175 mph (282 km/h);0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.8 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Not just anyone with 518,000 to spare could phone up Maranello and order a 250 GTO – every prospective purchaser was vetted personally by Enzo Ferrari before being allowed to join the waiting list for one of his precious sports racers.