Classic Car Capital
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

Ferrari 250 GTO – A Day with the Legend Page Two

The first leg takes us inland through Carmel Valley, and its numerous vineyards. 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.

There is so much to marvel at with the Ferrari 250 GTO. That it’s one of the great all-time shapes in automotive history is well established. No compromises were made in its styling as a purpose-built race car, and yet it is, unusually for a race car, beautiful. The view forward from the cockpit across the bonnets triple bulges is mesmerising.

The real revelation, however, is how apparently docile and manageable the whole experience can be. Nick Mason once famously commented that in the midst of a cruel winter, when none of his normally dependable daily fleet would start, his GTO willingly performed school-run duties in the snow. There is no sign whatsoever of high-temperament or drama, just a calm and very characterful efficiency.

Needless to say, as the valley roads headed up towards the hills of the Santa Lucia Coastal Mountains, the GTO now had a chance to really stretch its legs through the winding passes. Incredible roads, snaking high through the mountains, and the cabin is soon filled with smiles – two guys from London re-enacting the Targa Florio in California!

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3505GT
Full concentration at speed – 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3505GT
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3505GT
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3505GT

We drop down through the mist into Lucia, and lunch at a stunning Pacific-side spot called Point 16. The homemade lemonade is a welcome coolant – we’re both drenched in sweat. Delicious food is served al-fresco by the Pacific Ocean, and we’re treated to the awe-inspiring sight of a Californian Condor being released into the wild, its ten foot wingspan propelling it skyward with ease.

The opportunity seemed almost too good to be true.

Lunch over, and one final, magnificent highlight remains. The drive north up Pacific Highway 1, and Big Sur. I hope my photographs have done justice to the combined majesty of the GTO and California’s epic Pacific stretch. The opportunity seemed almost too good to be true.

And so, there it is – truly the experience of a lifetime. The Ferrari 250 GTO returns to its temporary subterranean home, and preparation for its Sunday meeting on Pebble Beach’s manicured lawns with twenty of the thirty nine GTOs manufactured in all. Amongst their number, chassis 3729, the very car that Graham Hill had piloted to second in the Goodwood TT. Hill, despite his best efforts, failing to grasp victory from Innes Ireland in the pale green winner. Fifty years later – the legend remains undimmed.

My heartfelt thanks to Eric, and to Sir Michael Kadoorie, the organiser of this fine event.

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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…..!