Featured: Is This The Ultimate Ferrari 250GT You're Actually Able To Drive?

Is This The Ultimate Ferrari 250GT You’re Actually Able To Drive?

Ted Gushue By Ted Gushue
July 5, 2016
14 comments

I don’t usually need an excuse to get out of bed early in this job, but the other day when Steve Kittrell of GTO Engineering asked if I wanted to meet him for a Dawn Drive in Malibu in one of their clients’ Ferrari 250GT SWBs, I genuinely had a hard time even getting to sleep the night before. Not necessarily because it was a SWB, I’ve been around a few lately, but because it is essentially a factory brand-new SWB that can be carved properly and aggressively up a canyon.

After this drive, I had a seat with him at the Country Mart, and he told me the story of how this stunning car came to be.

Ted Gushue: Steven, tell me the story of this 250 GT SWB Berlinetta customised by GTO Engineering.

Steven Kittrell: In 2012, GTO was presented with a rare opportunity: a wrecked 1960s barn find so dejected that it could never be reborn to its original state. So the client decided to preserve its identity, and we worked meticulously to restore and re-body the car to a beautiful “competition” 250 SWB model.

Fast forward a few years and you see our subject car. We work with customers to personalise cars right down to the spec of the originals. This particular car was modified for a client here on the West Coast, and he was really adamant on it being built to a competition spec.

TG: What does that entail?

SK: There are no bumpers, there’s an upgraded motor, and period correct Plexiglass slide windows, just to name a few. This is a special car, but is kind of a bare bones build, not far off from what you would have found a gentleman racer driving in the ’60s. This car in particular has a brand new GTO-engineered motor, and the 250 VIN plate is really what makes it have that modern classic feel.

TG: What does a “brand new GTO” motor mean?

SK: We sand cast that all in-house. We build the block, valve covers. Everything underneath the hood is built in-house and under the guidance of 25 shop staff.

We don’t do any stampings. We don’t try to make it anything that it’s not. These are our motors, and they’re very well-received by our clients who race in Europe and all over the world. Typically, clients who buy these motors shelve their originals and put ours in and drive the wheels off the car. It really lets the client enjoy their priceless classic without potentially damaging the value of the original engine.

TG: Walk me through the design process on a car like this. You meet with the client, and he says, “This is what I want,” or how does it start?

SK: When we have a car that comes in, it kind of starts off as a question for the client: What do you see as an end result? We then work with them to restore and personalise the car exactly how they want it. It’s a true restoration—always using a Ferrari as the point of reference. After that, we start in on the design process. We talk about the motor and what size they want and all their options. Then comes body and paint. We have our own design team and space within the old Jaguar E-Type factory in Coventry. We build it all in-house there. All hand-rolled aluminium, English wheel process, and so on. It feels like you’re going back in time when you see what they do.

TG: What’s the reception in the community for an example like this?

SK: So the example we took out today is a 2014. I’ve had a number of vintage racers, long time collectors and investors that have come in and they absolutely love the car. When you smell the interior, when you see the dash components, when you hear the motor, you start to really appreciate what we can accomplish. Our client here for this particular car is extremely pleased with it and he’s a serious collector. His collection is big and filled with preservation spec cars from this era. This has been his driver on the weekends, so to speak, to have some fun.

He loves it because it was fully customized. We try to keep it within taste and within period, but you are able to step out and break the mold a little bit, with air-conditioning for example. We are always open to suggestions, but we also are very much purists at GTO. We make a lot of spare parts in order to preserve these cars and keep them to the standard of what originality was. That’s extremely important to us. We do this out of passion and the longevity of Ferrari. GTO is in it for the long road.

Special thanks to Steve Kittrel for helping to indoctrinate me into the world of 250-series Ferraris, and how to get the most out of them.

Join the Conversation
Related

Leave a Reply

14 Comments on "Is This The Ultimate Ferrari 250GT You’re Actually Able To Drive?"

avatar
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
werth
werth

What a dreamy car. No other like. Designed by a Genius

Jim Gianatsis
Jim Gianatsis

Beautiful car. But that being so, it totally freaks me out that the author / photographer drove it across dirt and gravel, even if at slow speed, to photograph it. I envision the worse when it comes to paint chips and scratches in the wheel wells, underside and body lowers. As a professional motorsports photographer myself, I’d never do that to a freshly restored classic. 🙁

Arne Spiessens
Arne Spiessens

I see that it is not possible to download the stunning pictures of the 250 swb. Is there any way to get one picture for a poster in my room? Yours, Arne

Peter Tremulis
Peter Tremulis

Good article. Amazing to find a firm that builds engines to spec for these.

Victor Fecioru
Victor Fecioru

Looking forward to reading the full review on the drive!

HitTheApex
HitTheApex

Bellissimo!

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson

What does it mean that this is more affordable than the real thing? Half price?
But man oh man, what a beauty.

Brian Muldoon
Brian Muldoon

Nice example and good article.

Sorry to be that guy… Typo in the first sentence

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

The rear wings look a little too flat at the top, but otherwise nicely done.

Mike Placentra
Mike Placentra

A little confused…does this particular car have the original engine?

Ellias Karwashan
Ellias Karwashan

No.

“This car in particular has a brand new GTO-engineered motor”

GTO built a brand new motor for this car. I would have loved to see some pictures of the car before they restored it. I’m always interested in how far gone cars were before they were restored. The transformation from a rat infested barn find to a true showstopper is amazing.

Daniel Willis
Daniel Willis

The 250 GT Berlinetta SWB is one of the most beautiful cars ever made.

Sam N
Sam N

Amen

Jim Levitt
Jim Levitt

I would guess NOT exactly a “cheap” daily driver but certainly extremely cool!
Damn, that’s nice but I would not have painted it black

wpDiscuz