Collector Auto Insurance: A Look at the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Ferrari made headlines this summer after a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO became the most expensive car in the world when it sold for over $38 million at a California auto auction. The model, chassis number 3851GT, was number 19 of just 39 250 GTOs ever produced. As such the vehicle had been highly anticipated and discussed prior to the auction event and buzz generated quickly about its hefty reaping.
So what makes the 250 GTO’s so special? Actually, quite a bit.
The Ferrari 250 GTO was originally produced between 1962 and 1964 as a racing vehicle for the FIA (International Automobile Federation) Grand Touring category 3, which in turn is where the racer got its name. GTO stands for “Gran Turismo Omologato”, or Grand Touring Homologated, which is in reference to the type of racing while the numerical component references the displacement capacity of the powerful engine cylinders that give the model its speed. Originally the sales price for a new Ferrari 250 GOT was $18,000 on the American market, and at the time all buyers had to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari himself and his North American dealer.
Between 1962 and 1963, Ferrari produced 33 250 GTO models with their original body styling, which can be found on the recently auctioned model. In 1964 Ferrari produced only six more 250 GTOs sporting an updated body and adjusted styling features. Such rarity highly contributes to the draw and prestige of these vehicles, which in turn sets their value on the collectors markets. However, the scarceness is not the Ferrari 250 GTO’s only asset.
As previously mentioned, the 250 GTO was designed to compete in GT racing where it was set against some of the fastest and sleekest vehicle in the world. At the time its rivals included models like the Shelby Cobra, Jaguar E-Type and Aston Martin DP214. As such, performance was paramount when designing the 250 GTO and it took a team of Ferrari engineers to craft the racer. While typically credited to Giotto Bizzarrini, as he was the initial lead engineer on the project, the 250 GTO’s creation actually passed through a number of hands, especially in 1962 when many of the major engineers were fired due to a dispute with Enzo Ferrari himself. The body design and further development of the 250 GTO was then spearheaded by engineer Mauro Forghieri and Sergio Scaglietti.
One of the most acclaimed features of the 250 GTO, it’s stunningly sleek body styling, was the result of incorporating extensive aerodynamics research into their design in an attempt to improve top speed and stability. According to experts, the final 250 GTO’s body design was shaped based on both wind tunnel testing as well as road and track testing of several prototypes and in fact continued to change and evolve through the course of the vehicle’s production. The result was the 250 GTO’s iconic all-aluminium body with a long, low nose, small radiator inlet, and distinctive air intakes on the nose with removable covers. The styling was not only incredibly efficient; it was attractive and would become synonymous with the Ferrari brand. Critis, enthusiasts and collectors adore the model so much that in in 2004, Sports Car International noted that the Ferrari 250 GTO could be the top sports car of all time.
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