The Ferrari 250 GTO is viewed by many car collectors as one of the most highly sought-after cars in the world, and its renown is not just attributed to its rarity but also for its beauty and innovative features during the time it was produced. This car was manufactured online from 1962 to 1964 and was intended to be sold only to buyers that are approved by Enzo Ferrari and Luigi Chinetti, the company’s then-dealer in North America. There were only 36 units of the 250 GTO made during its production period, and each of these units can cost you $50 million or more depending on its condition. To know more about this rare vehicle, here is the history of the Ferrari 250 GTO.
Development of the 250 GTO
To compete and win in the Group 3 GT racing class, Ferrari decided to design and develop a new model that can surpass the features and performance of its rivals, particularly the Aston Martin DP214 and the Jaguar E-Type. The project for the new model had chief engineer Giotto Bizzarrini at the helm during the first periods of development, although Bizzarrini and other engineers were fired by Enzo Ferrari during a dispute in 1962. So, the company assigned a new engineer named Mauro Forghieri to replace Bizzarrini as the leader of the project.
During the conceptualizing process of the vehicle, Bizzarrini wanted to focus on the vehicle’s aerodynamics in order to create a faster car without the need to develop a very powerful yet expensive new engine. After finalizing the design of the body, the team then sent it for wind tunnel testing at Pisa University in Pisa, Italy, and then they performed road and track testing using prototype chassis and parts. Through the early testing, the team added a rear spoiler on the vehicle to improve its performance. In addition, the car’s underside is covered by a belly pan that also has an extra spoiler that is formed by the fuel tank’s cover.
This aerodynamic design that Bizzarrini and his team created was quite innovative during that time, especially for the company’s line of GT vehicles. The car’s focus on aerodynamics would inspire other car manufacturers to also enhance the design of their vehicles without relying too much on engine power to boost speed.
As for the car’s interior, Ferrari chose to keep it minimal in order to make the vehicle lightweight. So, there is no speedometer, there is no carpeting, there is no headline, and the seats are cloth-upholstered inside the car.
There were two prototypes of the 250 GTO that were made before it went into production. These prototypes determined what needed to be improved and fixed in the 250 GTO’s features so that it would drive perfectly without any problems once it is in the hands of the buyer. Here are some details about the two prototypes for one of the greatest cars ever made.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT Le Mans Berlinetta Sperimentale
The first prototype is named in official photos as the “1961 Ferrari 250 GT Le Mans Berlinetta Sperimentale,” and its body is based on the chassis created for the 1961 250 GT SWB. Its name is inspired by the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, which is also where this prototype is intended to be used. This first prototype was entered by Scuderia Ferrari in the said endurance race in 1961, where it was driven by Giancarlo Baghetti and Fernand Tavano. The highest place that the prototype achieved in the race was 8th, but it was unable to finish the race because of engine problems.
From then on, the team of engineers determined what should be fixed or improved upon on the prototype’s engine so that the production model wouldn’t experience the same problems. It was after the race when the design team decided to add the rear spoiler to the production model. The first prototype would be used for another race at the 1962 Daytona Continental 3 Hour Grand Touring and Sports Car Race, where it won 4th place overall and was driven by Stirling Moss. The prototype would then be sold to the North American Racing Team or NART.
The second prototype, which was nicknamed “The Anteater,” has an unknown chassis used, but most historians believed that it was for the 1960 250 GT SWB, specifically the chassis 2053GT. This second prototype was 100% built by Ferrari’s racing department under the leadership of Giotto Bizzarrini. This prototype is widely known to have an unappealing appearance, as it focused more on the functionality of the 250 GTO rather than its looks. Because of how it looks, the racing department gave it many unflattering nicknames, including “Il Monstro” (The Monster) and its popular name, “The Anteater.”
The Anteater was tested at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza race in 1961 and was driven by Stirling Moss. Although it performed well at the race, there were some stability issues that Moss experienced while driving the prototype, and these issues were eventually fixed just a few months after the official production of the 250 GTO. As to the fate of the second prototype after the release of the production model, many sources claim that the experimental body was scrapped. If the theory is true that the chassis for the Anteater was the 2053GT, then that specific chassis is used for a 250 GT SWB that was bought by race driver Jacques Swaters.
Rarity of the 250 GTO
Despite being highly valuable in today’s era, the 250 GTO was merely an above-average collectible during the 60s and the 70s, so many of its owners would often sell it for four figures or just $20,000 to $30,000 more than the retail price, which was $18,000.
However, starting from the 1980s, many vintage race car models became highly sought-after, thus resulting in their resale prices skyrocketing quickly during that period. The most valuable model in the 80s was the 250 GTO, and it remained in its position as one of the rarest and most expensive sports cars for more than 35 years. The most expensive 250 GTO unit ever sold was Chassis Number 4153GT, which was purchased by David MacNeil, founder of car accessory manufacturer WeatherTech, in a private sale.
Because units of the Ferrari 250 GTO are becoming much harder to find and purchase nowadays, we should expect that the resale prices for the units would steadily increase in the future. If you don’t have the budget to buy the expensive Ferrari 250 GTO, you may still be able to see it at various motor shows and conventions around the world.