Magazine Article – Ferrari 250 GTO Gathering

Ferrari 250 GTO GatheringThe Ferrari 250 GTO has to be the most recognized Ferrari in the world, and for good reason, as it is on nearly every enthusiast’s wish list. While incredibly beautiful, the GTO also dominated sports car racing from 1962 – 1964 with class wins at Le Mans and three manufacturers championships. SCD is not sure what “it” is, but the GTO’s Scaglietti-designed body certainly has “it.”

There is a gathering of GTOs every five years for those fortunate enough to own one, and Road & Track was there for the latest gathering in California’s Napa Valley. After reading the article, jump to the cannot-miss picture slideshow.

From Road & Track:

Got $20 million?

That’s the opening ante if you’d like to own a Ferrari 250 GTO. That price also makes these GTOs among the most expensive automobiles in the world.

What’s so special? In 1962, it was decided that the world championship for “sports cars” would be decided by Grand Touring machines. Tintops. Automakers contesting the championship, like Ferrari and Aston Martin, scurried to create closed race cars to compete for the title.

Ferrari basically took the chassis and drivetrain of its very successful 250 Testa Rossa and had Sergio Scaglietti create a coupe body around it. Scaglietti once told us he formed the shape not on a drawing board, but “with my eyes.” The result is arguably the most sensuous-yet-purposeful automobile shape ever devised.

So the 250 GTO (for Gran Turismo Omologato) is wonderful to look at. And when the racing started it proved to be as fast as it was beautiful. First race out, Sebring, 1962, Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien drove GTO 3387 (the cars are known by their serial numbers) to second overall.

That was the sort of career GTOs had in general, so quick, dependable and easy to drive they were able to hound the open sports racing cars.

In the end just 36 Ferrari 250 GTOs were built, most with Scaglietti’s original “Series 1” shape, a handful as the “Series 2” with its flying-buttress roof, plus a few with still different bodies.

Since 1982, every five years there is a gathering of 250 GTOs. Rather appropriately, French champagne maker Moët & Chandon sponsors the tour, which takes place around the world. In 2007 the tour came to California’s Napa Valley and headquartered at the well known Meadowood Resort. Owned by Bill Harlan, an original entrant in the Monterey Historic Automobile Races and now a renown vintner, Meadowood was the hub for 20 GTOs that made the trip.

Several of the cars were flown in from Europe and Asia. Among the owners were well known collectors such as Nick Mason, Sir Anthony Bamford, Peter Sachs, Brandon Wang, Rob Walton, Sir Paul Vestey, Bernard Carl, Tom Price and Chip Conner.

For four days Ferrari GTOs wandered the curving roads of Northern California, from the Napa Valley to famous Highway 1 along the coast. There was a morning of play at Infinion Raceway in Sonoma and, needless to say, evenings when driving deferred to fine dining, champagne and fine wines.

Hmmmm… if we just had $20 million to spare.

http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=34&article_id=6462

[Source: Road & Track]