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1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Many people will argue that the best car in the world is the Ferrari GTO. While more modern supercars surpass the GTO in terms of performance, none excel better in both form and function. During its heyday, the GTO dominated the World Sports Car championship, and it is still one of the most beautiful shapes ever to grace a Ferrari chassis.

For these reasons, the GTO is one of the most desired and expensive cars. In fact, chassis 3729GT received a high bid of nine million dollars at Bonhams’ 1997 Gstaad Auction, but failed to meet its 10 million dollar reserve. Many cars have fetched a higher price privately, but if 3729GT had sold, it would have set the world record price for an automobile at public auction.

So what is all the fuss about? What we have here is probably the greatest road and track car ever made. It combines sexy styling, championship-winning engineering and exclusivity. Only 39 copies exist and all have colorful histories.

GTO Development

For the 1962 manufacturer’s championship, focus was switched from sports prototypes to grand touring cars and Ferrari was provided with increased motivation to further develop their 250 GT as much as the rules would allow. They built the 250 Gran Turismo Omologato (GTO), a car named after the homologation process in which it was conceived.

Providing a base for the GTO was the 250 GT chassis. Starting in 1954, with the 250 Europa GT, the engine, chassis and body of the 250 series evolved into a greater product each year. The final development was the GTO, and it was bulletproof from the start.

Before the 1962 season, Ferrari assembled a small team led by Giotto Bizzarrini who hacked his old 250 Boano chassis and modified it, in secret, to his own ideas. Fixed was a rather crude body which took advantage of a much lower and shorter dry-sump engine. At the front was a smaller fascia that made the old short wheel base (SWB) look like a brick. Initial test results around Monza showed significant improvements in every area over the SWB Berlinetta and Sperimentale, sometimes called the GTO prototype, that raced at LeMans in 1961.

Before production of the GTO commenced, Bizzarrini and several key people left Ferrari during the famous Palace Revolt. This left Girolamo Gardini to sort out Ferrari’s 1962 sports car. Gardini used most of Bizzarrini’s modifications from the test car and added a rear spoiler and watts linkage for stability.

At their yearly press conference in 1962, Ferrari released no fewer than six different racing models and among these versatile race cars was the production version of the 250 GTO. This supercar would eventually become the most important though, demanding money, attention and acclaim.

Production GTO

During its launch, many of the press called the GTO ‘a Testa Rossa with a roof’. They rightly named it as such since many of the ideas used on the GTO came straight from Ferrari’s prototypes. Every …