What Made the Ferrari 250 GTO the Most Valuable Car of All Time and How It Did It
When the Ferrari 250 GTO was initially introduced, the automobile did not have a name. Because of its bizarre appearance, the employees at Ferrari began referring to it as “Il Mostro,” which literally translates to “the monster.” The date was the 11th of August in 1961.
The location is Monza. Giotto Bizzarrini, the brilliant designer and engineer who could claim more credit than anyone else for bringing the vehicle this far, was watching over the mechanics as they wheeled the new Ferrari prototype into the pits. The expansive grandstands at the racecourse were empty at the time.
The surface of the rusted metal body of the vehicle lacked any paint, giving it the appearance of an angry sky. Its front end appeared particularly awkward, with intakes that gave the impression that it was gasping for air through a constricted mouth and a trio of nostrils.
This gave the impression that it had three nostrils. Willy Mairesse, a Belgian driver for the Ferrari squad, gave the engine a vigorous workout before taking the vehicle for its first shakedown lap around the course.
Bizzarrini was all nervous. The tyrannical leader of Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari, had high hopes that the new racing vehicle would be the best in the world. Mairesse, the driver, was notorious for keeping people on edge at all times. Franco Gozzi, who served as Enzo’s deputy, recalled saying that “Willy Mairesse had been involved in several shunts and became known as a vehicle wreck.”
In 2018, an automobile sold for more than $70 million, which was the highest price ever paid for any vehicle. It was a Ferrari 250 GTO from the year 1963. In the same year, a total of $48.4 million was paid for a vehicle that was purchased at an auction setting a new record.
It was a Ferrari 250 GTO from the year 1962. There are music fans who will never agree that “Spiral staircase to Heaven” is the greatest rock song in history, just as there are sports fans who will never agree that Floyd was the best athlete in history.
However, in the world of automobiles, the Ferrari 250 GTO has established itself as the Greatest of All Time. The real deal. In addition to this, the monetary value of this fact may be determined with relative ease.
What is often lost in the world today is the extraordinary story of how this car came into existence, as well as the equally astounding story of how, in recent years, it has become an automobile that is worth more than mansions that are sitting on their own private islands. Both of these stories are extraordinary, but they are often forgotten.
When the Ferrari 250 GTO completed its maiden laps at Monza, the Ferrari firm had been in operation for just over a dozen years. It had been established in a factory that had been destroyed during World War II in the little hamlet of Maranello, which is located just outside of Enzo’s hometown of Modena.
Throughout the decade of the 1950s, his racing teams, which competed in both sports cars and Formula 1, had risen to prominence, and he himself had developed a reputation for being mysterious, eccentric, and dangerous.
He was so skilled that locals referred to him as “the Magician of Maranello.” His racing and road automobiles had become the most exotic in existence, and they were expressions of his specific brilliance, despite the fact that he was neither an engineer nor a designer (according to his own judgment, he was an “agitator of men”).
On the other hand, competition from the Brits, particularly Aston Martin and Jaguar, was gaining ground both on the racetrack and in terms of desirability among wealthy customers.
While the Ferrari 250 GTO was being constructed in 1961, the Ferrari racing team was able to absolutely dominate the racetracks throughout Europe.
In June, Ferrari won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second year in a row. By September, two Ferrari drivers, the American Phil Hill, and the West German libertine Count Wolfgang Von Trips, also known as Count Von Crash, were competing for the Formula One world championship.
On September 10, 1961, one month after the initial shakedown run for the Ferrari 250 GTO prototype, Phil Hill won the Formula One World Championship, becoming the first and, to this day, the only American-born driver to win the title. On the same day, however, his teammate and competitor Count Von Trips were unable to maintain control of his vehicle. The Ferrari cut through the onlookers like a knife through butter. In all, 15 people, including Von Trips and 14 onlookers, lost their lives.
There have been previous fatalities among Ferrari drivers during racing. However, in contrast to other mishaps, Von Trips’ collision was caught on tape by a passing television camera. The footage stunned people all around the globe (and continues to: it has hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube).
The headline that appeared on the main page of the Corriere Della Sera, Italy’s most widely circulated daily, the day after the accident read, “Fifteen Dead from the Tragedy at Monza.
At This Time, the Investigation Is Being Conducted at the Racetrack” The door of Enzo Ferrari’s office was almost being pounded on by reporters. The late Phil Hill reflected on the experience years later and said, “You can’t even begin to understand what that was like.
It looked like everyone in the nation was bustling about Maranello, and there was Enzo Ferrari, with a beard that had grown for three days and wearing bathrobes all day long.
The aftermath of the massacre at Monza caused a gradual buildup of tension that culminated in a release of pent-up rage in November. In what is now known as the “Palace Revolt,” eight prominent individuals quit their jobs and walked away from the palace. Giotto Bizzarrini, who was the head engineer on the GTO, was one of those who passed away (shortly after, Bizzarrini was hired by a tractor maker in nearby Bologna named Ferruccio Lamborghini to build a V-12 for his first car).
Therefore, during the last few crucial months of the Ferrari 250 GTO’s development, the Ferrari empire was crumbling; it was the most difficult period in the brief existence of the firm. It was necessary for Ferrari to go forward with younger, less experienced drivers. He informed these individuals that “we got rid of the generals.” “It is up to you corporals to take command now.”
A new head engineer, Mauro Forghieri, had just taken over by the time the Ferrari 250 GTO made its debut at its first official press conference, which took place at the plant on February 24, 1962. Forghieri was just 26 years old at the time.
The form of Il Monstro had been perfected, and the streamlined and aerodynamic body that Scaglietti had designed for it had evolved into a thing of exquisite beauty. The on-track design of the concept had been assisted by Stirling Moss, who was widely considered to be the best racing driver alive at the time.
Only customers who were personally vetted by Enzo were eligible to purchase one of the production cars, which had a price tag of $18,000 (which is equivalent to around $153,000 in today’s money). As things worked out, there would never be more than 39 of them constructed.
It was during the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 24, 1962, that the Ferrari 250 GTO made its debut in competitive racing. It is not difficult to conceive that this feast of sound and speed was the moment that marked the beginning of the Golden Age of sports-car racing in the United States.
In the competition, there were Corvettes from the first generation, a Jaguar E-Type, many Porsches, MGs, Maseratis, a Ford Falcon, and a dozen Ferraris. After the Ferrari 250 GTO won its class and finished in second place overall behind a Ferrari Testa Rossa, the new Ferrari proceeded to completely dominate the field from that point on.
A Concise Overview of the Ferrari 250 GTO’s History
An event is considered to have occurred whenever a Ferrari 250 GTO is put up for sale. Not only is it one of the most coveted sports cars in the annals of automotive history, but it is also one of the least common. Only 36 were made, and they were all made between 1962 and 1964; it’s astonishing, but collectors can account for every single one of them.
Tech mogul Craig McCaw and fashion designer Ralph Lauren are both proud owners of one. When it was finally sold at auction in August of 2014, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO set a new record by fetching $38.1 million. At RM Sotheby’s, an additional 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO will be put up for auction on August 24, making it the third one of its kind to ever be constructed.
With a presale estimate of $45 million, it is anticipated that this Ferrari will blow away the previous record for the most money ever paid at auction. In addition to its illustrious racing history, this Ferrari also boasts an incredible pedigree.
The Gran Turismo Omologato, or simply Gran Turismo Homologated, was Ferrari’s penultimate incarnation of the 250 models, and it was both a racing vehicle and a road car.
The Ferrari 250 GTO moniker stood for “Grand Touring Homologated.” The chassis was based on a 250 Testa Rossa and had a three-liter V12 engine that was able to produce 300 horsepower.
The price for such a thing of beauty was $18,000 (which is equivalent to almost $150,000 now), and Enzo Ferrari himself had to personally approve each owner.
1962 250 Ferrari 250 GTO was sold privately for a bargain of a price: $5,400. This was long before the car was recognized as a classic.
A year after Ralph Lauren purchased chassis 3987 for $650,000, and with Ferrari fever boiling, collector Frank Gallogly purchased a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for a then-record $1 million. The car had been abandoned in a field for 15 years before being repaired. After another year and a half, he finally decided to sell it for $4.2 million.
In 1963, jewelry heir Gianni Bulgari purchased chassis 3413, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which had previously competed in a number of successful racing events. Six years (and a few owners) later, millionaire Sir Anthony Bamford acquired it.
After changing hands a few more times, the Ferrari was acquired in 2000 by Greg Whitten, who had previously served as the chief software architect for Microsoft, for the price of $7 million.
Now, he is selling the automobile at RM Sotheby’s, where it is anticipated that it will break the record for the highest price paid at an auction. When asked about his choice to sell, Whitten said, “I’ve owned the GTO for a long time.” “There are other automobiles on my shopping list,” I said.
Creation and implementation
The Shelby Cobra, the Jaguar E-Type, and the Aston Martin DP214 were some of the competitors that the Ferrari 250 GTO was intended to face off against in the Group 3 GT racing class.
Giotto Bizzarrini, who was the principal engineer for the project, was in charge of developing the Ferrari 250 GTO. In spite of the fact that Bizzarrini is often given credit for designing the 250 GTO, he and the majority of the other Ferrari engineers were let go in 1962 as a result of a disagreement with Enzo Ferrari. New engineer Mauro Forghieri was responsible for overseeing the continuation of the development of the Ferrari 250 GTO, and he collaborated with Scaglietti to carry on the development of the body. It is impossible to credit a single individual with the creation of the car’s design since it was the result of a group effort.
When it was first released, the mechanical characteristics of the 250 GTO were quite conservative. For example, the engine and chassis components were all taken from prior race vehicles that had already been well-tested. The chassis of the vehicle was based on that of the 250 GT SWB; however, there were some subtle modifications made to the frame structure and the geometry of the chassis in order to lighten, stiffen, and lower it.
The vehicle was created using a hand-welded oval tube frame as its foundation. It featured Borrani wire wheels, an A-arm front suspension, and a rear live axle with Watt’s linkage. Disc brakes were also included. The engine was the same race-proven Tipo 168/62 Comp. 3.0 L (2,953 ccs) V12 that was used in the 250 Testa Rossa that took first place in the Le Man’s race.
It had an all-alloy construction, a dry sump, and six 38DCN Weber carburetors, and it was capable of producing around 300 PS (296 bhp; 221 kW) at 7500 rpm in addition to 294 Nm; 217 lb-ft (30 km) of torque at 5500 rpm. The transmission was a brand-new unit with five speeds and synchromesh similar to that seen in Porsches.