Driven: Ferrari 250 GTO Replica

With prices of real Ferrari 250 GTOs gone crazy there's a growing market for lovingly created replicas that aren't too precious to drive. Kyle Fortune takes one to Goodwood for a spin.

Whisper it, it's a replica. Stop reading now if that offends you, but how could it? It's absolutely beautiful. Authentic in a way too, as in this isn't some lashed together GRP pastiche based on a dodgy old Datsun. This beauty is a pukka 250 GTO recreation based on the shortened chassis of a Ferrari 250 GTE. That means proper Ferrari mechanicals, a 3.0-litre V12 with around 300bhp and, here's the absolute clincher, FIA papers that mean it's eligible for historic racing.

Every detail on it is pure GTO, from the gorgeously shapely bodywork to the simple, stark interior. There's nothing superfluous, just a body which faithfully re-creates the early wind-tunnel, Sergio Scaglietti honed lines that helped the Ferrari GTO bring home three GT manufacturers championships from 1962-1964.

It's absolutely stunning to look at, and here at Goodwood it looks even more right. The detailing is perfect, from the chrome catches keeping the bonnet down to the various intakes, vents and that prancing horse badge in the surprisingly small intake up front. The wire-spoked, knock-off hub wheels look comically small, the fat profile of the Dunlops wider than anything you'll find this side of a bus today.

Purists be damned, some might find fault in a particular detail, but line up a few genuine 250 GTOs side-by-side and it's clear that there are many differences between them all. These were racing cars, and were modified accordingly.

Ferrari didn't quite live up to the promise of the 100 cars required for the O of the GTO's name, this Omologato (homologation) model seeing only 39 originals built. Prices paid for then tend to stay behind closed doors, 250 GTOs changing hands infrequently and for astronomical sums. Figure on at least £20m, and perhaps as much as £10m more than that. This faithful recreation would cost just a fraction of that; even so it's still out of reach of my meagre financial reach. I can drive it, though.

Pushing the small key as I turn it there's a mechanical shriek from under the bonnet as the 3.0-litre V12 rouses. It sounds absolutely glorious, but it's slight smell of fuel, warm metal and exhaust fumes that create such an intoxicating, heady experience as it sits idling. Old cars assault the senses and this Ferrari does more so than most, a brush of the accelerator rewarded with a quick flare of revs as the V12 reacts immediately.

The raised open-gate gearbox requires a good positive shove, the gear snicking in with a satisfying click. The steering weighting shifts from heavy and cumbersome to light and delicate as the speed builds, the engine piling on pace with no effort at all. The simple Veglia instrumentation shows a 7,500rpm redline and the temptation to have the needle swing around to it is too much to resist. There's more speed, the linear urge from the V12 not relenting as its revolutions increase, it only adding more magnificent sounds through the cabin and for a good distance around. It's not quiet, but that's part of the intense experience it delivers.

On bumpy roads around Goodwood it's initially unsettled, the steering needing constant input to retain its chosen trajectory. That improves markedly with speed, the suspension settling and the steering filtering out excess detail to track straight and true. It turns in well, though as with all old cars the brakes are more heart stopping than car stopping on occasions - push hard and hope.

It's unlike anything I've driven in a long time, the physicality and skill required to deliver measured, clean downshifts, the need to anticipate braking level of feel and interaction are all facets of driving lost on modern cars. So what if it's a replica? As a driving experience it's the real deal.


P.H. O'meter

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Comments (130) Join the discussion on the forum

  • vintageracer01 05 Aug 2014

    nonuts said:
    But the one in the article IS a real Ferrari.
    EXACTLY...! :-)

  • vintageracer01 05 Aug 2014

    Mr Gear said:

    Etc etc.
    I know, Mr. Gear, your comment is just meant to be a joke! :-)

    However, there are many people who actually argue like etc., etc., etc. :-)

    Sorry to say, Sir, but these people are enormous id..ts, if I max say...! First, what does it change THEIR life whether there are replicas (which make A LOT OF SENSE because one also does not hang up the "Mona Lisa" in ones living room but a print or replicated painting that hurts NOBODY!) Secondly, who bothers whether there is a badge on or someone adds one later or leaves it off entirely...

    It is about the fum to drive such a machine without risking to put an original in danger that indeed has all the history and original material. If you restore an original to concours standards and/or fix damages from racing accidents and have engine rebuilds you sooner or later end up with something that is closer to a replica than the original "Original"...

    And as long nobody tries to sell a replica as an original, which can be easily checked by chemical analysis of the used materials there is no such thing as fraud...! Pardon me...

    And if there are replicas they have never ever hurt the value of the known originals which always is cited as the main argument. Just watch the auction market... (and then they better shut up.)

    So, they better calm down, grab a tea and relax... They probably will neither be able to effort an original NOR a replica. So what does it matter to them in the first place, then...?

    Their opinion, here just taken as a general example (and not to be meant personal !) is making me sick because it comes up over and over again from people with no clear reasoning. No wonder, there is NOT one logical reason for it. So, sorry to say but WTF...!

    Patents expire after 30 years! Otherwise we still had a monopoly on light bulbs and telephones of EDISON, or there would be no competition in the tires market or combustion engines or what ever. Every pharmaceutical medicine can be legally copied after 30 years of earnings known as generica... Why, on earth, Ferrari should have an eternal copyright on a form that was developed longer than 30 years ago??? AND THEY DO NOT GET HARMED in any way because they DO NOT EARN any money on it any more...! This is one of the reasons why I do not like Ferrari because they just like to make life of normal enthusiasts difficult for NO obvious reason. It is just an EGO thing.

    Ferrari' s attitude is just an outdated one...

    Look at Jaguar. They are TOTALLY relaxed about C-Type, D-Type and even XJ 13 replicas...! Or there are a lot of 356 speester, RS 550, RS 718 and 904 PORSCHE replicas around... and many people have great fum with these cars...! Does this hurt PORSCHE ? No! That' s a very nice attitude of these companies. And from time to time you see such replicas in use on public roads. It makes people smile and look and bring up their memories. THIS is FREE ADVERTISEMENT and keeps these cars in the minds of people and EVERYBODY is happy. Sir, that' s what live is all about...!

    So, now they can try to convince me of THEIR point of view...!

    I do have to say I LOVE replicas. But I guess that' s what you expected... ;-)

    Edited by vintageracer01 on Tuesday 5th August 22:09

  • dinkel 30 Jul 2014


  • markwillenbrock 30 Jul 2014

    In the early '80s when I started buying classic car magazines 250GTEs were about £8,000. I dreamed of saving up for one. Now they've almost all been sacrificed on the replica altar and we've destroyed one of the most usable, elegant and affordable Ferrari ever built.

    Other than the 'look at me' thing, what is the point? RIP 250GTE.

  • errek72 29 Jul 2014

    RoverP6B said:
    There can never be any excuse for destroying an original Ferrari to make a replica of another Ferrari. It's just not on. I dare say you could get Ferrari to build you a replica themselves, or even buy parts from them over time and get a metal-shop to build the frame and body. The stories of even the prototype 330GTE and four-light 330GT being cut up send chills of horror down the spine of anyone with an ounce of respect for historic artefacts. It simply highlights the astonishing selfishness and arrogance of the individuals concerned. I would hope that any such butchered "replica" turning up at Maranello or any of their concessionaires would be repossessed, sent to Ferrari Classiche to be returned to its original spec and the bill sent to the owner and pursued through the courts if necessary. Somehow, some day, the scum responsible for this destruction of already rare, historic and precious cars will learn their lesson. The harder and more unpleasant it is for them, the better.
    How about buying a crashed GTE and getting that used?
    And what would the difference be with a "real" GTO?

    I was admiring an Alfa TZ1 from up close some weeks ago. It was one of the "genuine" ones, from a serial number perspective at least. I dear say it had no part on it that was older than 5 years. Same with those GTO's, they look as if new while they supposedly have been racing for 50 years on end. So how original are they?

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