Blenheim, Ontario - This is it, the world’s most collectable car, the creme de la creme de la creme of Ferraris, and one of the world’s most valuable automobiles. It’s up for auction at the Pebble Beach concours in Monterey, California, on 25 August, and is expected to fetch in excess of $45 million (R615 million).
It’s the third of just 36 Ferrari 250 GTOs that were built between 1962 and 1964, the last of the great street-legal sports racing cars. All of them are still in existence, and each is worth a king’s ransom. But what makes this one, chassis No. 3413 GT, so special is its history. It is almost perfectly original, has never been restored and, unbelievably, despite having competed in 20 world sports-car championship races in its early life, has never been crashed, dented or even failed to finish. More than that, every ownership, every one of its competitive outings and every bit of work ever done on the car is precisely documented, giving it an incomparable provenance.
I have never been privileged to see a 250 GTO; nobody I have spoken to has ever seen one running. But here, almost unbelievably, is a video of the car’s current owner, former Microsoft executive Dr Greg Whitten, driving it the way it was meant to be driven - fast! - on a circuit somewhere in Canada. Just to hear the snarl of its V12 engine and marvel at its effortless roadholding is a rare privilege. It is very unlikely that anybody will ever again drive a 250 GTO this hard, so take a few moments to watch the video before you read the car’s amazing story.
The GTO - Grand Turismo Omologato - was the final version of Ferrari's 250 series, named for its three-litre V12 engine (each cylinder had a displacement of 250cc) which was produced from 1953 to 1964, and just enough were built to qualify it as a 'production' car for the FIA's rather loose Group 3 Grand Touring Car regulations.