The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO has been described as a work of art, recently fetching a price of $US48 million in 2018 at a RM Sotherby’s auction held in Monterey, California. This makes the Ferrari 250 GTO one of those most expensive cars of all time. Back in its day though, you could have purchased one for around $18,000.
A total of only 36 Ferrari GTOs were only ever produced between 1962 and 1963, and three ‘Series II’ were built in 1964. This has brought the total of GTOs ever made to just a mere 39. With the 250 GTO, Ferrari dominated international GT racing, highlighted by winning the FIA World Manufacturers Championship from 1962 to 1964. This, combined with it rarity makes the GTO 250 one of the most sought after cars of all time.
Ferrari has always maintained a trademark to the shape of the 250 GTO, securing exclusive rights to its reproduction and other products such as model cars and toys.
The legal battle arose when in 2018, a car builder, Ares Design (founded by Dany Bahar, a former Ferrari Executive) announced plans to sell a ‘reinterpretation’ of the Ferrari 250 GTO. Ferrari at this time won the argument to prevent Ares Design, from copying the body shape, with the court ruling that the Ferrari 250 GT is a work of art and could not be copied.
Fast forward now two years and things have changed dramatically, with Ferrari losing the trademark rights to the exclusive shape of the body in a recent court ruling. Ares Design legal team won the legal battle through the “Use It Or Lose It” argument. A European Union trademark can be revoked if, within a continuous period of five years, the trademark has not been put to genuine use.
This ruling can now potentially lead the way for replicas and kit cars copying the classic design of one of the rarest and most collectible Ferraris ever made. At this stage, it is unclear if Ferrari will challenge the latest decision.
Ferrari though does preserve the 250 GTO shapes trademark for toys and model cars.