Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another Ferrari 250 GTO Mystery

by Mike -

Today I was browsing through old issues of Road & Track and in the August 1963 issue I came across this center spread color picture of a Ferrari 250 GTO racing.

The caption on the previous page read "Pedro Rodriguez in the 3-hour Daytona Continental-winning Ferrari GTO. Kodachrome photo by Robert L. Downing."

Then in the December 1963 issue I found this advertisement below.

This ad describes a Ferrari GTO for sale and says it is the GTO in which Pedro Rodriguez won the Daytona 3-hour Continental. The ad says "serial No. 168; engine No. 4219. In concours condition, ready to race."

In the first picture the GTO is red as clearly shown by the Kodachrome photo. In the advertisement the pictures are black and white (I suspect Kodachrome was expensive in 1963) but the GTO does not look red, it looks white or some other light color, and it has a new racing stripe down the middle.

The mystery is what happened to this GTO between August and December of 1963?

Also, was Spencer Buick in San Francisco really an Authorized Ferrari Dealer as claimed in this ad? Oh, and one more thing - how can a race winning race car be described as "concours condition" even by a used car salesman?

I would love to hear from any Ferrari experts on this one.

Please share your comments with me and other readers.

Click on the images for a larger view.

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  1. Hi Mike,

    In the old days, when we were using Kodak film for taking pictures instead of a digital camera as we have today, we normally put a red filter in the front of the lens to increase contrast on a black and white film. This practice is very common. I have a collection of early Leica M cameras, and I have my red, yellow, orange, UV, soft and other filters for different purposes.
    Therefore, in this car, I suspect the photographer was using a red filter on his camera, probably a Leica M3 with a Summicron lens, and the RED in the Ferrari will come out as white.
    I hope this is a satisfactory answer for your question.
    I am also a nut who has kept MOST of the car magazines from the late 50's to now.

  2. Very interesting. Maybe that explains why the car looks white in the ad but the new stripes are still curious as are the other questions.

    Maybe the definition of "concours condition" has changed since 1963?

    I also question if a Buick dealer was also a Ferrari dealer.

  3. Hi Mike:

    The link below should answer many of your questions:

  4. Wow, what a great article and indeed it answers most of my questions. I suggest to all that you read this article. I may post an update with this information.

    Thank you very much.

    I wish I knew who you were.