Is This The Most Valuable Car At Goodwood?

Sitting here in the paddock at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed, opulence is in no short supply.

Fifty feet to my right sits a row of rare and desirable McLarens. Over the other side of the trimmed privet hedge a Bugatti Chiron shares a patch of lawn with at least five Bugatti Veyrons.

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Over the chinking of champagne glasses and the five-piece jazz band playing on the front lawn I can hear what I think is a Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 fire into life a short distance away. It might be an F12 TDF actually, but whatever it is, all 12 cylinders are singing in harmony.

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Behind me there’s a paddock of ultra-rare, priceless and historic race cars. Cars that have won Le Mans, been driven by some of the greatest names in motorsport, and have unrivalled heritage in all things speed.

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Every minute, millions of pounds/dollars/Euros worth of machinery screams past as the drivers tackle the hill. Paddy said it earlier – it all starts to feel normal.

It’s really very, very far from that.

Rounding the front of Goodwood House, past the impressive central feature that reaches into the sky above, and onto another of Lord March’s lawns, I spot something that eclipses all of the above.

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A car so valuable that it commands numbers that the vast majority of people on the planet can’t ever fathom. And it’s just sat there – not roped off, no security guard nearby. It’s just parked in the middle of the lawn.

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The Ferrari 250 GTO is perhaps the pinnacle of collectors cars. Produced between 1962 and 1964 for homologation purposes and Ferrari’s entry into the Grand Touring category, just 33 of these series I GTOs were built.

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Powered by Ferrari’s 3.0-litre Tipo 168/62 V12, the 250 GTO boasted 296bhp – not much by today’s supercar standards, heck, not much by today’s hot hatch standards, but enough to propel the 880kg chassis on to 160mph (257km/h).

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Mechanically, the 250 GTO wasn’t especially advanced in comparison to its competitors – cars like the Shelby Cobra and Jaguar E-Type – but its aerodynamic design meant that it cut through the air with great efficiency.

In design, it’s elegantly industrial. They’re two words that strongly juxtapose each other, yet here, on the GTO, that’s what you’re seeing.

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It was also incredibly well balanced, with the V12 mounted for perfect centre of gravity. This particular 1963 car finished fourth in the 1963 Le Mans, and followed it up with a victory on the 1964 Tour de France road race.

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Of course, all of this information isn’t particularly pertinent when addressing its astronomical value. It’s not expensive because it’s the best car here, it’s expensive because it’s desirable.

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Brand new, the 250 GTO would have set you back around US$18,000.

Fifty years on, in 2013, one went at auction for US$38 million. Four years later, and with the collectors market in full swing and the 250 GTO’s status ever inflating, the value of this particular example is anyone’s guess.

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Oh, and did I mention there’s two more GTOs here being raced up the hill as well?

Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters
Facebook: Jordan Butters Photography
jordan@speedhunters.com

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18 comments

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1

The red one is owned by Nick Mason who drives it regularly on the street and he use to take his kids to school in it.
Playing drums really does pay off.

2

I am just happy to hear that no matter the car's actual worth the owner still drives it. Lol

3
Dan Wainwright

Some fact checking needed before your write up, the last GTO that went up for auction was last year and sold for $23million. And that was a car with a history of crashes/repairs.

Value wise the most expensive car at Goodwood will be Nick Mason's 250 GTO. It's literally priceless - he'll never sell it.

4
Paddy McGrath

You should re-read that paragraph again, he never said it was the 'last' one sold, just a notable example in 2013.

5

Another noteable example is the one that went to an unnamed buyer for the price of $52 million

6

I feel lucky to have seen one racing a few years back at Philip Island. Sure it was running against an Austin Healey 3000 worth a tiny fraction of its value, but it's owner (US-based, can't remember who) had the guts to put it on track.

They were the best of the front engine GT cars before the mid engine type took over, and look great because they are pared to the bone function, designed as race cars from the outset.

Did you get a shot of the third one Jordan?

7

The grey one next to the red one?

8

That looked like a 'normal' 250 GT swb to me, not a GTO

10

I think an argument could be made that the 330 P3/4 might very well be worth the most at the FoS. Considering the provenance, the rarity of the car, I think IF it were sold, it could fetch a price above the GTO's. Either way, they are glorious, and it makes me so happy that all of those cars are truly driven and don't just sit on a plinth somewhere behind closed doors.

11

Amazing, didn't know there was a silver one. I sort of like to entertain the idea that this car inspired the venerable S30

It was pretty much equal to the Cobra and Jag with the all aluminum body, but of course less HP than the Ford V8's.

12

When I used to work at a restoration shop, we got an even rarer and more interesting 'GTO' in for a ground-up renaissance, a GTO 4.0-liter prototype car, one of three I believe. What made this car cool was that it was built on the slightly longer Superamerica chassis, to account for the longer crank snout of the 4.0-liter V12 versus the 3.0-liter.

Cooler still was the Ferrari Classiche authentication process, which I can roughly equate to a comprehensive prostate exam of the car. These gents check EVERY detail of the car, down to absurd specifics such as hardware thread pitch. It is a nerve-racking experience, but, if they sign off, it is akin to a Wonka Golden Ticket and hugely affects the value of the car.

Not sure if SH has ever done a Ferrari Classiche feature, but I would love to see one if not!

http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/news/a29456/ferrari-classiche-authentication-process/

13

Would that be the type known as the 330 LMB? Probably my favourite Ferrari of the era

Author14
Jordan Butters

Love this kind of stuff - that's my afternoon reading sorted. Down the rabbit hole I go…

15

Haha the struggle is so real Jordan. Let me drop a not-so-subtle hint: see if the SH brass will assign you a feature on the Classiche department, it really is mental.

16
Nolan Christian Lohmann Bjorn

I have been fortunate enough to view and photograph two 250GTO here in the US. One was at the Simeone Museum and the other was at Ault Park Concours. Very beautiful parts of automotive history and they sound beautiful as well.

17

If it's worth this much now, no telling how much the price would inflate with an LS swap.

-Alex

18
Paddy McGrath

I was thinking a 2JZ or SR would be nice, too...

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