Shaun Stubley Black


Holy Grail

Conceived for group 3 Grand Touring Car racing, the Ferrari 250 GTO is arguably one of the most beautiful sports racers ever produced.  Initially 36 cars were built in 1962 and 1963, with a further 3, sporting more aerodynamic bodywork, being built in 1964. 4 of the earlier cars were also converted to series II specification, giving a grand total of 39. Based on the existing 250 SWB, it was initially designed by Giotto Bizzarrini who amongst other modifications fitted the 3 litre dry sumped Colombo designed V 12 aluminium engine from the Testa Rossa. The bodywork, with its distinctive low bonnet line and Kamm tail, was designed by Sergio Scaglietti. Before the car was completed, Bizzarrini and other senior engineers were famously fired by Enzo Ferrari following a dispute, and the project was handed over to Girolamo Gandini and Mario Forghieri, who worked with Scaglietti to bring it to fruition. FIA homologation rules stated that at least 100 cars had to be built. Ferrari got round this problem by numbering the chassis out of sequence, with jumps between numbers, to suggest vehicles that didn’t actually exist. The car, whilst not adding to existing technology, was a revelation, winning with a one-two at its first outing, the 12 Hours of Sebring. It went on to dominate group 3 with Ferrari taking the championship in ’62, ’63 and ’64. By the end of 1962 its success led Jaguar, Aston Martin and Chevrolet to complain to the FIA that it had been produced in insufficient numbers to qualify for racing; however Ferrari successfully argued that it was a development of an existing vehicle and therefore did not need separate homologation, despite the fact that no earlier 250 series car had been offered with a dry sumped engine or five speed gearbox.  By the end of the ’63 season, the 250 GTO was getting a bit long in the tooth. Ferrari, unable to homologate their rear engine 250 LM, developed a competition version of their 275 GTB, this in effect became the ’64 250 GTO and true to form won Ferrari that seasons championship. The car shown here is chassis number 4293GT wearing the number 24 that it carried at the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it won its class, and came second overall, in the hands of Jean Blaton and Gerhard Langlois van Ophem, driving for Equipe Nationale Belge. The 250 GTO is one of the most successful and desirable GT cars ever built; the ultimate Ferrari.  





Oil on canvas