Thirty million dollars is, by most measures, a fortune. It’s far more than most of us will earn, cumulatively, in our lifetimes. In fact, that goes for you and a half-dozen of your closest friends, combined. It is likely more than our wildest dreams are capable of conjuring – a sum so large, it’s hard to understand its purchasing power. For instance, it’s a figure with the power to purchase literally hundreds of homes in the Midwest, or to pay off the credit card debt of nearly 2,000 American households. On the other hand, $30,000,000 will buy you just one Ferrari 250 GTO, and it won’t even afford you the best example. For that, you’ll need to pony up a staggering $52,000,000. If, by some miracle, you find yourself owning one of the 39 250 GTOs built – the most valuable cars in the world – you must then decide what it is you’ll do with it. Will it sit, prized and polished, or despite its worth, will it continue to race as the God of Speed intended?
More than a half century ago, Enzo Ferrari garaged his Alfa Romeos and set out to build a car of his own. Driven by a passion for auto racing, his road cars were sold with reluctance, solely to fund his racing habits. Through the years, he built winners and losers alike – and despite their successes and failures, every Ferrari bears the same unifying essence that separates them from all others. When it comes to prestige, it may be safe to say that no emblem carries more than the prancing horse, and it’s for reasons that extend beyond racing pedigree, power, handling, or aesthetics. It’s seemingly unquantifiable, yet every man and woman with fuel in their veins heralds the Ferrari namesake, and more importantly, its purity.
The 250, born in 1953, grew to be Ferrari’s most successful early line of cars. It spawned numerous variants, almost all of which sported the same Colombo Tipo lightweight V12, which measured out to just shy of 3 liters and produced an impressive 300 horsepower. The GTO, the MM, the TR, the LM, and the Monza, all variants of the 250 chassis, have each earned their place in racing history, something Enzo himself can happily take credit for. 60-some-odd years later, he likely could have guessed that a few of his creations would still circle the race track; however, would Enzo have imagined that his 250s, deemed nearly worthless as “clapped out race cars” of the past by the 1970s, would eventually grow to be the most valuable lineup of automobiles on the planet?
It takes a certain man – a wealthy one, that is – to own a Ferrari 250. Investors, bankers, fashion designers, real estate moguls: any of the former, and more, fit the bill. To race one, however, takes someone rather different. To race one, it takes an enthusiast: a diehard track rat so invested in his hobby that even his greatest investments are put on the line. To own the greatest is one thing, but to drive it door to door with a field of vintage racers is another, and that is what makes watching the Ferraris tear through the corkscrew at Laguna Seca so special. For those select few, it’s a race with heart over fortune.