There's beauty in this beast
Early prototypes of the Ferrari 250 GTO were unkindly dubbed “the anteater” by the press, with even Ferrari’s own workers calling it “Il Mostro” – the monster – due to its ungainly front end. Today, it’s regarded as the most coveted automobile ever built.
Model: Ferrari 250 GTO
Engine: Front mounted 2.9-litre 60-degree V12
Famously driven by: Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky
"More than anything else, a Ferrari is an artwork in motion, and a masterpiece of engineering as well.” So writes Piero Ferrari, the second and only living son of the Prancing Horse brand’s legendary founder Enzo Ferrari, in the preface to Günther Raupp’s sublime 2013 pictorial history of the famed Italian marque. Thumbing through that weighty tome underlines just how difficult it is to choose any single model to celebrate from a back catalogue comprising some of the world’s rarest and most exalted automobiles. But it makes things a little easier when calendar year and birth date coincide to mark a significant anniversary, as it does this year for the 60th anniversary of the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO.
Regarded by many as the greatest road racer of all time the Ferrari 250 GTO (for Gran Turismo Omologato) was created in 1962 by the Italian sports car maker to compete in the Group 3 Grand Touring Car category, where it raced against the likes of the Jaguar E-Type Lightweight, Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato and AC Cobras.
Among its many achievements, the potent road-legal race car brought the GT world championship title to Italy three times in a row between 1962 and 1964 and was raced successfully in Europe and the USA by the likes of Stirling Moss and Phil Hill among others.
Powered by a front-mounted 2.9-litre 60-degree V12, topped by 12 trumpet like inlets feeding six Weber carburetors, the engine made a thrilling 300hp (224kW) at a heady 7400rpm, flinging the lightweight coupe with its windtunnel refined Scaglietti manufactured body down the road at a ferocious pace, and on to a top speed of 280km/h.
Unlike modern Ferrari's which blend shattering performance with high-end luxury features, the 250 GTO’s race-bred origins saw it forgo such niceties as carpets, headlining and even a speedometer in pursuit of weight reduction. Today, due to its racing pedigree and rarity – just 36 were ever made – the 250 GTO is among the world’s most valuable collectors’ cars, with a pristine 1963 version selling for a staggering US$70 million in 2018.