Throwback Thursday: Ferrari 250 GTO

Welcome to throwback Thursday, where we look back at classic cars from days gone by and their impact on automotive history. This week’s throwback: Ferrari’s fabulous 250 GTO.

When Ferrari unveiled the 250 GTO in 1962, the company was likely unaware of the future legend they had created. The car was originally developed for FIA Group 3 GT racing, where it would go toe to toe with the likes of E-Type Jaguars and Shelby Cobras.

The car combined a Tipo three-liter V12 engine from the Le Mans winning 250 Testa Rossa with a five-speed manual gearbox and a body designed in part by famed F1 race engineer, the late Mauro Forghieri.

The R.A.C. Tourist Trophy; Goodwood, August 24, 1963. Graham Hill in the Ferrari 250GTO through Fordwater. A really fantastic photograph. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

Forghieri collaborated with with Scaglietti on the development of the body, which sat atop a modified 250 GT SWB frame with front A-arms, a solid rear-axle with a Watt’s link, and four wheel disc brakes.

The GTO made its racing debut at the 1962 12 Hours of Sebring with reigning F1 champion Phil Hill behind the wheel paired with Belgian driver Olivier Gendebien. The pair finished second overall in that race, an impressive feat for a GT car against a field full prototype racers.

The Mecom team’s Ferrari 250GTO driven by Roger Penske and Augie Pabst to fourth overall and first in the GT class, Sebring 12 Hours. (Photo by JJF Archive/Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

The GTO would go on to sweep FIA’s over 2000cc GT championship in 1962, 1963, and 1964. GTOs would also enjoy success on the track in the hands of privateers throughout the mid 60’s piloted by the likes of Roger Penske and Augie Pabst. But by the end of the decade though, the 250 GTO had retired from professional racing.

However, over the following years the 250 GTO gained a second life as a collector car. When new in 1962, the cars sold for roughly $18,500. But in the ensuing decades their values began to skyrocket.

Ferrari 250 GTO The Festival of Speed at Goodwood 13th July 2013 (Photo by Michael Cole/Corbis via Getty Images)

Just 36 examples (including two prototypes) were built during the GTO’s roughly three-year production run, which made it one of the most exclusive Ferrari road cars ever built. That scarcity combined with the racing history contributed to the car’s desirability from collectors.

WOODSTOCK, UNITED KINDOM – AUGUST 31: The Ferrari 250 GTO seen at Salon Prive, held at Blenheim Palace. Each year some of the rarest cars are displayed on the lawns of the palace, in the UK’s most exclusive Concours d’Elegance. (Photo by Martyn Lucy/Getty Images)

Today, the 250 GTO is arguably the most sought after collector car in the world, with one example selling for $70 million USD to WeatherTech founder David MacNeil. That particular Silver Metallic example was the overall winner of the 1964 Tour de France race and set the high water mark not only for GTO’s, but for any car ever sold.