Ferrari 250 GTO, the world's most valuable car
The ferrari 250 gto is, without doubt, the most sought-after car in the world. It was one of the most successful sports racing cars of the sixties, and competed in the Targa Florio and other exotic road races. A British buyer is believed to have bought the car for $28.5 million making it one of the most expensive sports cars in the world.
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. When new, the GTO commanded an $18,000 purchase price in the United States, and buyers had to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari and his dealer for North America, Luigi Chinetti.
From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, classic car values rose rapidly and the 250 GTO, touted as the Ferrari that most successfully embodies the salient traits of the marque, became the most valuable of all Ferraris. Scarcity and high monetary values led to the creation of several replica 250 GTOs on more common Ferrari chassis. However the values of legitimate high-demand Ferrari models have continued to rise through the present decade.
A total of 39 GTO's were made. 36 cars were made in the years '62/'63. 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.
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. The engine's block and head were made of alloy aluminum. The steel crankshaft was a seven main bearing design. A copper radiator kept things cool and a copper oil cooler was mounted in front of the radiator. The engines produced 300 hp.
The body of the Ferrari 250 GTO was developed by Mauro Forghieri and Scaglietti and perfected in wind tunnel and track testing. Unlike most Ferraris, it was not designed by a specific individual or design house. 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 tube frame was hand welded, it had an A-arm front suspension, live-axle rear end, disc brakes, and Borrani wire wheels.
The interior was extremely basic, to the point where a speedometer was not installed in the instrument panel. There was no carpeting, sound deadening or thermal insulation although some owners of often driven street cars did add those features. The GTO seats, as most came from the factory, in a medium blue canvas material popular with race cars at the time.
The primary purpose of Ferrari 250 GTO was to compete in GT racing. 1962, 1963 and 1964 were extremely successful years, with GTO wins adding up to Manufacturers Championship titles for all three years.
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. 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 hood - 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.
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.
Competition became serious with special light weight Jaguar E-Types and Chevrolet Corvettes as well as Carroll Shelby and his AC Cobras. With more GTOs available, they competed 188 times in 107 races. Ferrari would go on to win the over 2000cc class of the FIA's International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962, 1963 and 1964, the 250 GTO being raced in each of those years. By the end of the 1964 season, Shelby-led Daytona Cobras were proving their worth and for the first time GTOs were beaten around Le Mans and Sebring.
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.
When new, the GTO commanded an $18,000 purchase price in the United States, and buyers had to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari and his dealer for North America, Luigi Chinetti.
The Ferrari 250 GTO is truly the best Ferrari of all time and an ultimate racing machine. This car defines style, speed and excitement. If you are looking to get one of these cars be ready to cough up over $30 million as their prices keep soaring every day.
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