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Pebble to "Celebrate the Greatest Ferrari of All Time" (x20+!)

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On: Tue, May 10, 2011 at 3:02PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Pebble to "Celebrate the Greatest Ferrari of All Time" (x20+!)

“My Ferrari.” Racing driver and journalist Denise McCluggage pegged those two as the two best words in the English language, and if you’ve ever been able to say them and mean it, you know why.

But, for those of us—myself included—who can’t, why does this little Italian marque of red cars with a black-horse-in-a-yellow-rectangle badge mean so much to so many?

I’m convinced that it’s because they all wear the glow generated by the Ferrari’s greatest road-going(!) race car, the 250 GTO. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. This year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance—on Sunday, August 21—is hosting a record-setting event to celebrate the “50th anniversary of the birth of this model” which is “considered by many to be the greatest Ferrari ever manufactured.”

The record-setting part? Out of just 36 GTOs—counting two larger-engined 330 GTOs—all held in the most blue-chip of international collections, “more than twenty of these exclusive sports racing cars will take to the show field.”

Like California Condors these twenty-plus-million-dollar machines can usually be found only in museums, and rarely do more than two appear anywhere, anytime. So this is your chance to see the bulk of the GTOs in existence—and each one is unique, BTW—in the wild, out on Pebble’s storied 18th fairway.

Enzo Ferrari, the man himself, once said that he built road cars only to finance his race team. Well, as we all know, they were a hell of an afterthought. Then again, in the early days, that’s exactly what they were.

In the “glory” days of the 1950s and ‘60s Ferrari built race cars that smote the best the rest of the world had to offer, then casually sold, dismantled or “repurposed” them when they were no longer on the “pointy end of the grid.”

This meant buyers were running errands in cars that may have, only months earlier, been running the Mille Miglia, enduring Le Mans or competing in dozens of other races. Not surprisingly this lead to customers’ complaints that their surly mounts were bucking, stalling, overheating, or just running like the thinly-disguised racers they were.

[One such customer was so incensed by Ferrari’s poor quality and customer service that he vowed to—and did—create his own namesake marque to compete with Enzo’s. His name was Ferruccio Lamborghini.]

So why is a company that at times sloppily built and casually-engineered road cars thought of as the ne plus ultra of today’s supercar manufacturers? Because signore Ferrari had it right: racing—and more specifically winning and all its inherent glory—is all that matters.

And win he did with the 250 GTO, including sweeping the over two-liter class in the FIA’s International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962, 1963, and 1964 (though Ferrari’s behind-the-scenes machinations—a story almost as interesting as the cars themselves—helped too).

Oh, and I hear there are going to be other cars there, too. This Pebble thing must be a big deal to attract so many of these “unicorns” to one place, so I guess you can come for the GTOs and stay for the other stuff (I hear the view isn't bad, either).

But be warned: Seeing $600-plus-million-worth of GTOs won’t be cheap; tickets for the event are $175 in advance or $200 day-of. Parking’s pricey, too, and unless you have an uncle with a house on 17-Mile Drive, the per-night prices for any “nearby” accommodations will resemble those of your monthly mortgage.

On the other hand, I’m willing to bet that this experience will be well worth it. Not only will you be among the few who will have seen most of the “greatest” Ferraris ever, but not having had to travel the globe to have done it will make this year’s Pebble prices seem like a bargain.


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