Mechanical and natural beauty - 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO and Pacific Ocean bluff
Mechanical and natural beauty - 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO and Pacific Ocean bluff

Ferrari 250 GTO – A Day with the Legend

By Tim Scott

My infatuation with the Ferrari marque goes back to the 1970s, and my ‘formative’ years. As a poorly eleven year-old, stricken by appendicitis and hospital-bound, my dear Mother’s approach to a quick and happy recovery was to arrange for me to sit in a 308 GT4 on a local dealer’s forecourt. A red Ferrari paddock jacket duly followed that Christmas.

Fast forward thirty-odd years, and I make my living photographing all manner of classic and exotic cars. I can say with sincerity that I still get the same thrill from being around pulse-quickening vehicles as I did way back in the 70’s as a young man with a shiny red polyester jacket on his back.

However, despite some memorable encounters with the finest examples of my favourite marque (250 SWB, California Spyder, Pontoon-Fendered TR), my personal automotive infatuation had thus far remained elusive: the 250 GTO.

This was to change with an email early in August from a friend who also happens to own a fine 250 GTO. He asked me to join him as co-driver on a day’s leg of the 2011 Quail Rally, two weeks hence, during Monterey week. To hell with playing it cool, I was typing my reply barely before I’d finished reading his original email.

And so the great morning came, as I stood before a familiar shape, shrouded by a cover. Unveiled in an underground car park, like a secret tryst!

This is history, chassis number 3505GT. This is the very Ferrari 250 GTO that humbled Jim Clark in his Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato at Goodwood’s legendary Tourist Trophy race in 1962, Innes Ireland at the wheel (the car still proudly bears his tartan colours on its nose). It won the race, harried all the way by Graham Hill and Mike Parkes in similar Ferrari GTOs.

Thirty years of longing and admiration, always from afar, has come to this. So, with a deep breath, I open the door and enter. This is a very workman-like cockpit – bare transmission tunnel and exposed spaceframe, plexiglass sliding windows and a distinct lack of sound-deadening materials. All the better for savouring what is to come.

The key turns, four ‘Snap’ exhausts bark into life, and the GTO’s three hundred horses are awakened. There is much to enjoy about this remarkable cacophony, and there is surprise too – the GTO’s sexy, sinuous beauty belies the mayhem of mechanical noise from within. So much so, in fact, that I’m handed a pair of headphones and intercom, and, with that, we’re off.

I’d like to say I remember details about the scenery, but the truth is, it was a blur. I was far too smitten, like a clumsy teenager on a first date.

Sir Michael Kadoorie launched the Quail Rally in 1997 as a means for owners of the types of cars that might be seen on the lawns of his Quail Motorsports Gathering event to enjoy the extraordinary roads and scenery of the area. Our day starts with assembly on the lawn of the Quail Lodge, and a fine breakfast. Our fellow travellers today include Mercedes Gullwings, a 7-Litre Cobra and a Ferrari 250 GT SWB. Brian Redman is at the wheel of an ex-Tour de France Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Competizione. Excellent company! Then, back to business, and the motoring can begin.

Tim Scott with 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3505GT
Tim Scott with 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3505GT
Final preparations before heading out on the Quail Rally
Final preparations before heading out on the Quail Rally
Headphones are in place for the noisy adventure to come
Headphones are in place for the noisy adventure to come
Leaving Quail Lodge - 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3505GT
Leaving Quail Lodge – 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3505GT

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Show Comments (14)

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  1. Great article and fabulous pictures. I always like to hear the experiences of other enthusiasts who actually know what they are talking about. Great work all round and love the riviera outfit!

  2. Great piece Tim. It really captures the legend and my infatuation with the GTO. Kudos for you living the dream!

  3. The 250GTO is definitely an elegant yet awesome beast … but mint green? Enzo must be rolling over in his grave. I hope there is a good explanation for the color choice.

  4. Tim, I feel a need to compliment the eloquence with which you deliver your account of this rare and incredible rolling work of art. Your story is one of most pleasurable accounts of the Ferrari 250 GTO/Monterey experience I have read to date. I feel as though I was in the car along for the ride! Your photographs are impeccable. Thank you for sharing this unique perspective and thank you Jamie for delivering it to all of us. I heart SCD. More please!

  5. a fine piece of writing as well as great photos. the first time i saw a pic of a gto in “sports car graphic and then in toad and track, i thought it even more beautiful than an e-jag, though enzo disagreed. i wasn’t able see one until steve earle brought his to a historic motor race at sears point, ca.i offered to trade him some 8 by 10 prints if he let me sit in the passenger seat for a lap of the track during lunch hour and he agreed, if i could get a helmet on the spot. luckily, i had my motorcycle helmet with me. we left late and got to catch up with the rest of the cars at a seemingly near-race speed. this story captures some of the same feelings i had that day.

  6. Beautiful? Beautiful you say? Is that it for (in my opinion) the most sublime/gorgeous/gobsmacked-unutterably wondrously beautiful car…ever!

    OK I’ll give you the beautiful part.

  7. I thought Craig McCaw owned this beast? I saw it and a bunch of other 250 GTO’s in Carmel for the anniversary of the car in 2011. Mr. McCaw also had a beautiful California Spider in the Tour D’elgance.

  8. I especially enjoyed your recollection of your infatuation with the Ferrari brand. For me, it was my 1st F1 race – the 1968 race at Watkins Glen. I had been following F1 since about ’62 (I was 12) and was familiar with the brand but was more of a Lotus/Jim Clark fan. We arrived there late Friday night and partied even later. Then at some god-awful early hour someone was waking me and telling me to get ready because we’re all going into town. They wouldn’t tell me why. In those days Ferrari kept their F1 cars at the local Chevy dealership in the middle of town. They then had to transport the cars to the track. That required them to bring the cars outside, start them, warm them up and drive them onto a transporter. The sound of those 3 liter, uncorked v-12s echoing off the nearby buildings, may have been noise to some, but it was music to me – a symphony! I’ve been hooked ever since. And I agree that the 250 GTO is the best looking car ever, IMHO.

  9. As a child Dad would put me in the passenger seat, the choc lab in the foot well and off to the local shopping that car! Still got a copy of the Insurance document whilst he was driving it…..!