Ferrari GTO goes on a rally as it marks 55th birthday

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FORMING part of events meant to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Ferrari is a rally that marked the 55th birthday of one of the most coveted Ferraris ever — the 250 GTO.

The five-day rally, held in late September, took off from Florence, Italy, and wound its way to Ferrari’s landmark factory in Maranello. Significantly, 20 of the 39 250 GTOs produced (counting in three “330” models that had larger engines) gathered together to make the trip.

The rally’s route was just as compelling as it passed through some of the country’s best sceneries, as well as across the 60-kilometer-long Mugello street circuit. It also retraced the roads on which the historic Mille Miglia rally was held, before passing under the iconic Ferrari arch on Via Abetone Inferiore.

Company founder Enzo Ferrari, who had been known to have built road cars only to fund Ferrari’s racing program, from 1962 to 1964 produced road-going 250 GTOs so that the car can be homologated for GT racing — hence its name, which stands for Gran Turismo Omologato. It was powered by a race-proven 3.0-liter V12 (“250” refers to the displacement, in cubic centimeters, of each of the engine’s cylinders) that was matched to a five-speed gearbox. The car was propped by an oval-tube frame, an A-arm front suspension and live rear axle tamed by a Watt’s linkage. Disc brakes hauled it down from speed.

The 250 GTO was priced at $18,000 during its time, with customers needing to be approved by Mr. Ferrari. In 2016 a 250 GTO was listed at auction for around $56 million.