Classic cars: Ferrari 250 GTO

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Old 30-Sep-2011
Classic cars: Ferrari 250 GTO

UNP ImageDespite its sonorous qualities, it's not the all-embracing wail of the 3.0-litre V12 engine that gets you. It's not even the snick of the metallic tranny as you work your way through the gears that turns grown men into quivering wrecks. It's the voluptuous balance of the Ferrari 250 GTO's body that grabs your senses.

This is more than a car. It's an item of lust, envy and passion that is so incredibly beautiful it transcends simple automotive design and is very much a work of fine art. You want to touch it inappropriately and curl up for a nap on the bonnet. Even the door catches are a combination of tactile enjoyment and old school mechanical solidity.

The GTO was only built between 1962 and 1964, and it's one of the few Ferraris not designed by one of the famous Italian styling houses. Instead, it was mired in controversy, as the original engineer, Mauro Forghieri, fell foul of Enzo Ferrari, who removed most of the engineering team half way through the project.

Only 36 series-one cars were built, with just three series-two cars rolling off the production line, bringing the grand total to 39. Four of the series-one cars were then converted to the series-two design by the factory, so the final number is often incorrectly quoted as 43.

But what has since become one of Ferrari's greatest ever road cars was only built in road trim to homologate it for racing. Even the name stands for ‘Gran Turismo Omologata', Italian for ‘homologated Grand Tourer'. Ferrari's highly successful 250 SWB was suffering from ‘lift' at high speeds so, despite Enzo Ferrari's misgivings, the company employed the use of a wind tunnel for the first time to solve the problem. The result was the svelte, curvaceous shape that would go on to influence and tempt the rich and famous for decades.

These days GTOs are the jewel in the crown of a classic car enthusiast's collection. With so few even in existence, let alone for sale, examples now change hands for astronomical figures. But actually it isn't so much the cash that's the problem; it's convincing the owner to part with something so beautiful.

Next year Ferrari will celebrate the 50th anniversary of these great products and is planning to gather as many GTOs as possible together for what could be one of the world's most incredible automotive photo shoots.

In the world of classic cars, owning a GTO is like dating Kate Middleton and, unfortunately, I can't afford one.

Revival success continues

The now world-renowned Goodwood Revival finished last weekend in the UK, giving petrolheads some great classic car racing — including an E-Type event to mark the model's 50th anniversary — a fantastic day out and some strong auction results. Visitors also got to see classic military aircraft, motorcycles and even vintage pushbikes. Some seriously rare metal went under the hammer, but the highlight was a Ferrari Daytona Spyder that reached just under $1 million (Dh3.7 million). When will we get something like this in the Middle East? With a lack of widespread interest in classic cars, we may be waiting for quite a bit longer.


Engine: 3.0-litre V12
Gearbox: Five-speed manual
Power: 302bhp @ 7,500rpm
Torque: 294Nm @5,500rpm
Acceleration: 6.1 seconds
Top Speed: 280kph
Current price: Budget for over Dh75 million if you can find one for sale

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