Ferrari 250 GTO

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This article is about the 1962-64 GT racing car. For the 1984-86 Group B racing car, see Ferrari 288 GTO.
Ferrari 250 GTO
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO 34 2.jpg
Manufacturer Ferrari
Production 1962–1964
(39 produced)
Designer Giotto Bizzarrini
Sergio Scaglietti
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style Berlinetta
Layout FR layout
Related 330 LMB
250 LM
Engine 3.0 L Tipo 168 Comp/62 V12
300 PS (220 kW; 300 hp)
4.0 L V12
Transmission 5-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,400 mm (94.5 in)
Length 4,325 mm (170.3 in)
Width 1,600 mm (63.0 in)
Height 1,210 mm (47.6 in)
Curb weight 880 kg (1,940 lb)
Successor Ferrari 288 GTO

The Ferrari 250 GTO is a GT car which was produced by Ferrari from 1962 to 1964 for homologation into the FIA's Group 3 Grand Touring Car category. The numerical part of its name denotes the displacement in cubic centimeters of each cylinder of the engine, whilst GTO stands for "Gran Turismo Omologato",[1] Italian for "Grand Touring Homologated." When new, the GTO cost $18,000 in the United States, and buyers had to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari and his dealer for North America, Luigi Chinetti.

36 cars were made in 1962 and 1963. In 1964 'Series II' was introduced, which had a slightly different look. Three such cars were made, and four older 'Series I' were given a 'Series II' body. It brought the total of GTOs produced to 39.

In 2004, Sports Car International placed the 250 GTO eighth on a list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s, and nominated it the top sports car of all time. Similarly, Motor Trend Classic placed the 250 GTO first on a list of the "Greatest Ferraris of all time".[2]

Design and development[edit]

The V12 engine

The 250 GTO was designed to compete in GT racing. It was based on the 250 GT SWB. Chief engineer Giotto Bizzarrini installed the 3.0 L V12 engine from the 250 Testa Rossa into the chassis from the 250 GT SWB and worked with designer Sergio Scaglietti to develop the body. After Bizzarrini and most other Ferrari engineers were fired in a dispute with Enzo Ferrari, development was given to new engineer Mauro Forghieri, who worked with Scaglietti to continue development of the body, including wind tunnel and track testing. Unlike most Ferraris, it was not designed by a specific individual or design house.

The rest of the car was typical of early-1960s Ferrari technology: hand-welded tube frame, A-arm front suspension, live-axle rear end, disc brakes, and Borrani wire wheels. The Porsche designed five-speed gearbox was new to Ferrari GT racing cars; the metal gate that defined the shift pattern would become a tradition that is still maintained in current models. The interior was extremely basic, to the point where a speedometer was not installed in the instrument panel. Many of its switches came from the Fiat 500.[citation needed]


FIA regulations as they applied in 1962 required at least one hundred examples of a car to be built in order for it to be homologated for Group 3 Grand Touring Car racing.[3] However, Ferrari built only 39 250 GTOs (33 of the "normal" cars, three with the four-litre 330 engine sometimes called the "330 GTO" - recognizable by the large hump on the bonnet - and three "Type 64" cars, with revised bodywork). Ferrari eluded FIA regulations by numbering its chassis out of sequence, using jumps between each to suggest cars that didn't exist.[4]

The car debuted at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1962, driven by American Phil Hill (the Formula One World Driving Champion at the time) and Belgian Olivier Gendebien. Although originally annoyed that they were driving a GT-class car instead of one of the full-race Testa Rossas competing in the prototype class, the experienced pair impressed themselves (and everyone else) by finishing 2nd overall behind the Testa Rossa of Bonnier and Scarfiotti.

Ferrari would go on to win the over 2000cc class of the FIA's International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962, 1963 and 1964,[5] the 250 GTO being raced in each of those years.

The 250 GTO was one of the last front-engined cars to remain competitive at the top level of sports car racing. Before the advent of vintage racing the 250 GTO, like other racing cars of the period, passed into obsolescence. Some were used in regional races, while others were used as road cars.


From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, classic car values rose rapidly and the 250 GTO, touted as the Ferrari that most completely embodies the characteristics of the marque, became the most valuable Ferrari.

A 250 GTO (4757GT) seized by the FBI belonging to the deceased Robert C. "Chris" Murray, a drug dealer who fled the United States in 1984, was sold in a sealed auction in 1987 for approximately $1.6 million. Murray bought the car in 1982 from a Beverly Hills dealer with $250,000 in cash from a backpack full of $20 and $50 notes.[6] In 1989, at the peak of the boom, a 250 GTO was sold to a Japanese buyer for $14.6 million plus commission.[7] By 1994 that example changed hands for about $3.5 million.[7] In 2008, a British buyer[8] bought a 250 GTO that formerly belonged to Lee Kun-hee of Samsung Electronics[9] at an auction for a record £15.7 million.[10] In May 2010, BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans bought chassis number 4675 GT for £12 million.[11] According to Octane Magazine, the Ferrari 250 GTO bearing chassis number 5095GT was sold by British Real Estate Agent Jon Hunt to an unknown buyer. It has been disclosed that the buyer was Carlos Hank Rhon of Mexico, a member of one of most influent families within PRI Ruling Party. In February 2012, in what is believed to be the largest single car transaction in the United Kingdom, a Ferrari 250 GTO sold for over £20 million (approx. US$31.7 million).[12] In May 2012 the 1962 250 GTO made for Stirling Moss became the world's most expensive car, selling in a private transaction for $35 million to American communications magnate Craig McCaw.[13] In October 2013, Connecticut-based collector Paul Pappalardo sold chassis number 5111GT to an unnamed buyer for a new record of $52 Million.[13]

Scarcity and high prices led to the creation of several replica 250 GTOs on more common Ferrari chassis. Misrepresentations of the original cars, offered for sale at full market value, have been reported.[citation needed]

The price development of the GTO, all in US dollars is:[citation needed]

  • 1962-4 (new): $18,500
  • 1965: $4,000[14]
  • 1965 (Dec): $10,500
  • 1968 (Jun): $6,000
  • 1969: $2,500 (at a Kruse International auction)
  • 1971 (Jan): $9,500
  • 1971 (Jul): $12,000
  • 1973 (Jul): $17,500 (£7,000)
  • 1975 (Dec): $48,000
  • 1978: $85,000
  • 1980 (Mar): $180,000-200,000
  • 1983: $300,000
  • 1984: $500,000
  • 1985: $650,000
  • 1986: $1,000,000
  • 1987 (Oct): $1,600,000
  • 1988 (Jul): $4,200,000
  • 1989 (Jul): $10,000,000
  • 1990 (Jan): $13,000,000
  • 2012 (may) $35,000,000
  • 2013 (Oct) $52,000,000

Prices fell substantially during the car market crash of the early 90's, resulting in the most recent lows of $2,700,000 in September 1994, and $2,500,000 in May 1996. Prices would begin to climb again in the late 90s, and reached about $7,000,000 by 2000. They would reach $10,000,000 again in 2004. As of 2013 the most recent record is now quadruple that of the $13M paid in January 1990.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The song "The Key to Her Ferrari" on Thomas Dolby's 1988 album Aliens Ate My Buick humorously depicts the singer's romantic attraction to a 1964 Ferrari GTO.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Revealed on the new 599 GTO - The fastest ever road-going Ferrari will be unveiled to the public at the Beijing Motor Show". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  2. ^ "The Greatest Ferraris Of All Time - Coupe - Motor Trend Classic". 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  3. ^ 1962 FIA Regulations Retrieved from on 22 July 2010
  4. ^ "250 GTO Chassis List". Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  5. ^ Denis Jenkinson, The Automobile Year Book of Sports Car Racing, 1982, page 222
  6. ^ "U.s. Picks Up Quick Cash In Sale Of Rare Ferrari - Chicago Tribune". 1987-11-27. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  7. ^ a b Sheehan, Michael. "When Japan Ruled the World", article reproduced from Sports Car Market, May 2006. Retrieved on September 04 2008.
  8. ^ "250 GTO s/n 5095GT". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  9. ^ "Wheels - Recession-proof Ferrari fetches $42 million". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  10. ^ "Englishman Pays £15.7 Million for Ferrari 250 GTO", WorldofCars, September 22 2008. Retrieved on September 22, 2008.
  11. ^ "1963 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for 17.7 mil USD". 2010-05-14. Retrieved 2010-05-14. 
  12. ^ "Ferrari 250 GTO sells for more than US$30 million". Gizmag. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Ferrari GTO Becomes Most Expensive Car at $35 Million". Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  14. ^

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