Car of the Week #26

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO ‘Innes Ireland’

The GTO is probably the most famous of the 250 series Ferraris, and only 39 were built. The outstanding example here was commissioned by Stirling Moss and the UDT-Laystall racing team in the autumn of 1961. It was the first right-hand-drive example built and the sixth in the GTO series.

Innes Ireland collected it at the Ferrari factory in the spring of 1962 and had the pleasure of driving it over 800 miles back to England to compete in the Easter Meeting at Goodwood. Unfortunately it was at this meeting that Moss had his career-ending accident in a Lotus and the team switched Ireland from the GTO to the Lotus 19 originally intended for Moss’s use. Moss had driven the GTO during practice along with Ireland, but after the accident the car sat in the paddock for the rest of the weekend. Nonetheless #3505 came first in a number of events over the 1962 season including the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood and the BRSCC GT race at Brands Hatch. The UDT-Laystall team also entered their GTO at Le Mans where they took 2nd place in practice but failed to finish on race day.

The GTO, now one of the most valuable 250 series cars, was named by after its purpose: ‘Omologato’ (homologation). Ferrari had decided to split the 250 series into distinct race and road cars. Bizzarini, Ferrari’s development chief, wanted to do proper aerodynamic research as races were now being fought at over 150mph, and the current Berlinetta shape had a tendency to lift at those speeds. Using the University of Pisa wind tunnel the GTO shape, with rear spoilers, was created rather than styled, to be built in aluminium by Scaglietti. The GTO’s V12 was much improved, with 12 separate inlet ports and Weber carburetors, and a seven, not five, bearing crankshaft. Top speed, depending on the final-drive ratio, was beyond 165mph, and GTOs proved very competitive indeed.

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