NZ Classic Driver
GRAN TURISMO OMOLOGATO
One hundred issues of this magazine is a fairly impressive achievement, and founding editor Allan Robert Dick is equally impressive for his amazing longevity in this business, from those early days of his first magazine autoNews in the sixties.
I was aware of this person in Dunedin who was the editor of the Otago Car Club’s magazine, as I was doing the same thing with the Southland Sports Car Club’s ‘Bulletin’. I was always impressed with his depth of knowledge, bearing in mind we were young and easily impressed by all matters motorsport.
To celebrate the 100th issue, another editor Allan (Walton) has issued a challenge to his contributors to write about their all-time favourite classic car.
That’s pretty easy for me – my choice is the iconic Ferrari GTO.
For the 1962 Manufacturer’s Championship, focus was switched from sports prototypes to GT cars and Ferrari was motivated to further develop their 250 GT as much as the rules would allow. They built the 250 Gran Turismo Omologato (GTO), named after the homologation process.
As originally conceived by Bizzarrini, then updated by Carrozzeria Scaglietti, the GTO had a remarkable resemblance to the E-Type from the front and its fastback design was later copied by Jaguar for the E-Type Low Drag Coupé and Aston Martin for the DP212. From a distance, all these cars appeared to have been built with careful consideration to aerodynamics. The GTO had a low-set hood, complete with huge power bulge, that was possible due to the shorter dry-sump engine.
After the 1962 press conference, a car like the GTO was in high demand, but Ferrari reserved them only for the top drivers. In many regards the 250 GTO was deemed too dangerous for most drivers by Ferrari and his team. After testing by Stirling Moss, Willy Mairesse, Lorenzo Bandini and Giancarlo Baghetti, the GTO was ready for the 1962 season. There was no serious challenge to the supremacy of the GTO from any other manufacturer, as neither the Lightweight Jaguar E-Type nor the DP212/214 Aston Martins were fully developed.
It’s the heart of the Ferrari that cements its desirability. That famous and magnificent Colombo-designed V12 topped by that row of Webers nestled in the ‘V’ strikes a chord in every enthusiast’s heart. To hear a Ferrari V12 on full song is something the whirr of a Tesla can never compete with – the rush to electrification sounding the death knell for engines such as this amazing V12, which started life in the 1940s with a capacity of only 1.5-litres and finished in the midsixties at 3.3-litres, powering the majority of Ferrari’s roadgoing and sports-racing cars.
To my knowledge, there has never been a genuine Ferrari GTO in New Zealand, so the closest I have got to my dream car was to lean on one at the 2019 Goodwood Revival event during a trip of a lifetime.
So eat your hearts out, E-Type lovers – it’s the GTO for me!