Page 1 of 2 Next >> Enzo Ferrari is best known for the cars that bear his name, but his fall-outs with employees and customers are also well documented. One of the most dramatic of these happened in the winter of 1961/1962 when a large number of key personnel left. Among them were engineers Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini, and 1961 Formula 1 world champion Phil Hill. Shortly after their departure the rogue group set up their own company, ATS (Automobili Turismo Sport), to take on their former employer in single seater and sports car racing.
One of the final projects the team was working on at Ferrari was the 250 GTO racer, which was eventually completed by a young Mauro Forghieri. Among the first ones in line to acquire an example for the 1962 season was Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata for his Scuderia Serenissima Republica di Venezia (ssR) to campaign. When Enzo Ferrari found out Count Volpi was one of the financial backers of the ATS team, he understandably refused to deliver a GTO. Through some friends he did eventually get an example, but he wanted more for his assault at Le Mans that year.
In his stable the Count had a very fast 'SEFAC Hot Rod' spec 250 GT SWB (s/n 2819 GT), which had shown its potential in the 1961 Tour de France in the hands of Olivier Gendebien. Unable to obtain a second GTO, Volpi decided to have his SWB brought up to GTO specs and who better to hire for that than Giotto Bizzarrini? More than happy to oblige, the talented engineer set out to turn 2819 GT into an even more extreme racer than the GTO already was. The car was transferred to Piero Drogo's workshop and upgraded by Bizzarrini in an incredibly short period of time.
His first objective was to mount the engine as far back and as low as possible to obtain an ideal centre of gravity. The V12 was fitted completely behind the front axle; 12 cm further back than in the GTO. A dry-sump lubrication system was fitted to allow the engine to be mounted considerably lower. Similar to the GTO a six Weber carb setup was fitted boosting the power to 300 bhp. The only item missing compared to Ferrari's GTO was a five speed gearbox, so the hybrid GTO had to make do with the old SWB four speeder. To round things off GTO wheels and tires were fitted. Page 1 of 2 Next >>