Ferrari 250 GTO Leads World’s Rarest Ferraris at Concours of Elegance
The Concours of Elegance, presented by A. Lange & Söhne, is delighted to announce that its 2022 event – now just over one month away – will feature a sensational collection of ultra-rare and highly significant Ferraris. The display, devised to celebrate the marque’s 75th birthday, will feature arguably the most exceptional group of Ferraris ever assembled in the UK. The fabulous Modenese machines will line up in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace from the 2nd to the 4th of September, for the event’s 10th anniversary show. The display of both road and competition machines will join a field of over 70 Concours cars, once again proving why the Concours of Elegance is the leading Concours in the UK, and one of the top three globally.
The jewel in the crown of the Hampton Court Palace display will be what is for many the ultimate Ferrari, indeed, the ultimate car – the inimitable 250 GTO. With its mix of striking, curvaceous beauty, motorsport optimised V12 performance and scarcity – just 36 were built – it has become the car arguably most coveted by collectors; the ‘holy grail’ for Ferrari aficionados. The homologation special GTO was revealed in 1962, an evolution of the 250 GT SWB, with upgrade works carried out by the talented young engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, who would go on to form the eponymous marque. As part of the revisions, the body was re-worked by Scaglietti, with wind tunnel testing used extensively to mould the now iconic GTO shape. The car was lengthened to aid top end speed, with an elongated and lowered nose; the rear was also stretched, the tail given an upwards kick to improve high-speed stability.
Nestled in under the long bonnet was a single-cam 3.0-litre iteration of Ferrari’s venerable Colombo V12, lifted from the Testa Rossa racing car. The motor produced 300 bhp, near enough 100 bhp per litre – quite a feat of engineering in 1962 – and revved with a wonderful V12 howl all the way to 8,000 rpm. The gearbox was a five-speed manual, the long aluminium gear lever rising dramatically from the iconic open-gate, sitting close to the wooden rimmed steering wheel; ideally placed for quick shifts in the heat of an on-track battle. The GTO was wonderfully light when compared to its competitors, at circa 1000kg, and could hit 0-60 mph in under 6 seconds, and 170 mph flat out. The outstanding performance was coupled with stand-out reliability and mechanical resilience. Such a combination made the 250 GTO was a seriously impressive racing machine.
The GTO that will be on display this September at Hampton Court is chassis number 4219GT, delivered new to a young American heiress Mamie Spears Reynolds in 1963. An intriguing character, Reynolds was born into the rarefied upper echelons of American society – her father was a senator and her mother from a successful gold mining family. Her godfather was a certain J Edgar Hoover, former director of the FBI. Reynolds also happened to be a committed car and racing enthusiast, in fact, she was the first woman to qualify for the Daytona 500.
In early 1963, aged just 20, she visited New York City, on the hunt for suitable Ferrari to campaign for the upcoming racing season. It turned out to be a productive trip; she found both the 250 GTO, and her future husband – Luigi Chinetti Jr, son of 3x Le Mans winner Chinetti Sr, at that point the exclusive US importer for Ferrari, and owner of NART (North American Racing Team).
By the February of ’63 Reynold’s GTO was lining up at the iconic banking of Daytona for the 3-Hour Continental, with Pedro Rodriguez at the wheel. The exotic Italian interloper saw off the challenges of the thunderous V8 Corvettes and Cobras, to take victory. After competing in the 12 Hours of Sebring later that spring, the GTO was sold by Reynolds to Beverly Spencer, owner of a Buick dealer in California, that also, somewhat bizarrely, doubled as a Ferrari outlet. 4219GT would remain on the west coast until the early 1990s when it was brought to the UK, where it has since been used entirely as intended by its enthusiast owner. Irresistible in its deep, dark blue paint, it is perhaps the most stunning example of the ultimate Ferrari. September’s glamorous event will offer a fabulous opportunity to savour a genuine automotive legend which also ranks among the most valuable cars in the world. For those partial to a prancing horse, it really doesn’t get any better.
Joining the 250 GTO at Hampton Court will be a very early Ferrari road car, a 195 Inter from 1950. A glamorous Grand Touring model, the 195 Inter was introduced by Ferrari at the Paris Motor Show in 1950. A highly-elegant coupe, the 195 was aimed at Europe’s moneyed elite – competing with the likes of the recently launched Aston Martin DB2. Just 28 examples were built, with a range of distinguished, flowing bodies produced by the leading coachbuilders: 13 were by Vignale, and 11 by Ghia, with 3 Touring bodied cars and a solitary example finished by Motto. With a sweet 130bhp, 2.3-litre version of the Colombo V12, the 195 stood out as particularly exotic in the early 1950s. The car that will be lining up in the palace grounds is one of the sensationally beautiful Touring bodied cars.
Also on show will be an example of a successor to the 195 Inter, the 250 GT Europa, which was launched by Ferrari in late 1953, once again at the Paris. The Europa marked the start of the famed 250 lineage, that would go on to include the GT SWB, California Spyder and of course, the aforementioned GTO. Its Colombo V12 produced 220bhp, meaningfully up on the earlier cars. With only 34 built, this is one of the most sought-after Ferraris. Like the 195 Inter, the 250 Europa is a beguiling motor car from this illustrious marque’s fascinating formative years. Two wonderful cars not to be missed.
This September’s glamorous event will also feature particularly exceptional car, a 250 GT SWB SEFAC. This SWB was one of only 20 SEFAC ‘Hotrod’ 250 Berlinettas built by Scuderia Enzo Ferrari Auto Corse (SEFAC), optimised to be dominant on track. The short-wheelbase 250 that will be on display was upgraded considerably over the ‘standard’ SWB; with almost 300 bhp on tap it was capable of 0-60 in just 5 seconds – very brisk for 1961. This particular car, chassis 2735, was raced extensively in period by Stirling Moss, among their highlights a win at Goodwood in the Tourist Trophy in August ’61. In Moss’ hands it was the fastest GT racing car in the world. It will add further depth to this superb display of highly significant Ferraris.
The peerless selection of Ferraris will also feature the nigh-mythical Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale – more commonly known as the ‘Tre Posti’. The wide, low, and arrestingly sleek 365 P, originally conceived to form the basis of a Le Mans racer, was revealed to the world at the 1966 Paris Motor Show. It subsequently toured the globe, wowing audiences with its futuristic Pininfarina body, outrageous three-seater cabin, and mid-mounted V12 – the first Ferrari road car to be so configured. With only two in existence, this highly significant Ferrari is also among the rarest and most valuable. This September’s event will present a special opportunity to see this exceptional car up close in the most spectacular of settings.
These fabulous Ferraris and many more will be on show as part of the display of over 70 exceptional Concours Cars at this September’s glamorous event. Further star cars are set to be announced in the coming weeks. Outside the main display of vehicles, the Concours of Elegance will assemble around 1,000 further cars in a series of special features and displays, as well as a live collector car auction by Gooding & Co.