My Car Quest

November 12, 2018

The Ferrari 250 GTO Mystery Is Solved

With the recent news of a Ferrari 250 GTO selling for $70 million USD it started me thinking of other stories published here about the Ferrari icon, the 250 GTO. Here is a favorite.

This is a slightly updated re-post of an article originally published on My Car Quest in October 2011.

by Mike –

In October 2011 I wrote about a mystery, at least it was a mystery to me, about pictures of a Ferrari 250 GTO that I found in the August and December 1963 issues of Road & Track.

Bev Spencer in GTO 4219 at the Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance in May 1963

Bev Spencer in Ferrari 250 GTO No. 4219 at the Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance in May 1963

The August 1963 issue had a color picture of a red Ferrari 250 GTO being driven by Pedro Rodriguez who won the 3-hour Daytona Continental race in this Ferrari 250 GTO.

The December issue had a black and white advertisement for Ferrari 250 GTO No. 4219 for sale that was raced by this same driver and won this same race. This car was a light color with new racing stripes down the middle.

In addition the seller was Spencer Buick (Bev Spencer) in San Francisco also an Authorized Ferrari Dealer.

The mystery for me; what happened to this Ferrari 250 GTO between August and December 1963 that caused a color change? And was a Buick dealer also really an Authorized Ferrari Dealer in 1963?

The answers were supplied by an article on MercedesHeritage.com written by Roy Spencer who is the editor of MercedesHeritage.com and also the son of Bev Spencer the owner, and seller, of Ferrari GTO No. 4219 in 1963.

A My Car Quest reader sent the link to this article which was published just 3 weeks before my GTO Mystery post. And no I had not seen this article before, which is no longer available on MercedesHeritage.com.

Bev Spencer with Ferrari GTO No. 4219 at the Del Monte Lodge in Pebble Beach after racing at Laguna Seca in the fall of 1963 - notice the Ferrari is being pulled by a Buick Riviera, after all Spencer was a Buick dealer in addition to being a Ferrari dealer

Bev Spencer with Ferrari GTO No. 4219 at the Del Monte Lodge in Pebble Beach after racing at Laguna Seca in the fall of 1963 – note the Ferrari is being towed by a Buick Riviera, after all Spencer was a Buick dealer as well as a Ferrari dealer

Roy Spencer writes a fascinating story and explains that the paint job between August and December 1963 was because his father was using the car to race for the North America Racing Team (NART) and the car was painted in the blue and white color scheme of NART. The stripes were blue and the car was white.

Bev Spencer also owned another Ferrari 250 GTO and the first Ferrari Testa Rossa made. All three of these special Ferraris were in Monterey in August 2011. The two GTOs were at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Testa Rossa was sold at the Gooding auction for an all time record price at auction for any car (up until 2011). This record has been beaten since then.

Ferrari 250 GTO 4219 at Pebble Beach August 2011; now owned by Brandon Wang

Ferrari 250 GTO No. 4219 at Pebble Beach August 2011; now owned by Brandon Wang

It was pure coincidence that I found those two pictures from 1963 and asked some questions about this Ferrari 250 GTO. The answers were more fascinating that I could have imagined.

The Comments below are also very interesting, they are worth reading.

The photos above used by permission of Roy Spencer.

Below are the two pictures that triggered the mystery.

Pedro Rodriguez in the 3-hour Daytona Continental-winning Ferrari GTO. Kodachrome photo by Robert L. Downing; from August 1963 <em>Road & Track

Pedro Rodriguez in the 3-hour Daytona Continental-winning Ferrari GTO. Kodachrome photo by Robert L. Downing; from August 1963 Road & Track

Advertisement for GTO 4219 from December 1963 Road & Track

Advertisement for Ferrari 250 GTO No. 4219 from December 1963 Road & Track

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

 

 

ferrari logo

Summary
The Ferrari 250 GTO Mystery Is Solved
Article Name
The Ferrari 250 GTO Mystery Is Solved
Description
A Ferrari 250 GTO goes racing in 1963.
Author

Comments

  1. Stephen Mitchell says:

    Fascinating! By the way, a framed print of Pedro Rodriguez at Daytona in the GTO hung on my wall long before I acquired 3987.

  2. Mike Gulett says:

    Stephen,

    Yes it is fascinating. I had a Twilight Zone moment when I read Roy Spencer's article discussing the very GTO that I had found in those old magazines.

    I suspect that the R&T fold out of Pedro Rodriguez in GTO 4219 was hung on a few walls in 1963.

  3. L Sebring says:

    I attended that race (1963 Daytona Continental) on my 13th birthday. I lived near Daytona at the time & my older brother took me to see the sports cars race for my birthday.
    His wife was from Asheville, NC & was friends with Mamie Reynolds. Mamie was the heiress to the Hope Diamond at the time. She married Coco Chinetti, Luigi’s son, & that’s the Ferrari connection. My brother’s wife told my recently that we had lunch with her before the race. I don’t recall that too much but I remember Auggie Pabst in his XKE lifting the front wheel off the ground every time he came out of the hairpin. We were sitting in the infield near that turn. I recall Pedro’s red Ferrari & how cool it sounded…unlike any of the Nascar stuff I had heard run before. I stumbled across the February 1963 Road & Track that had the article about the race. The picture of Auggie’s XKE Jogged my memory & I immediately called my brother to ask him what he recalled about the race. His wife (now ex-) told me more about it & how she and Mamie had been friends as young girls in Asheville. She told me how they had once tied the Hope diamond around Mamie’s Great Dane’s neck & it ran around the yard like that. I was pretty skeptical about that, but then I read some stories on-line about how Mamie had played with it in her sand box. It didn’t sound so impossible after that.

  4. jetvett07 says:

    1963 Daytona Continental was a great race. corvette even came in third! The #18 Pedro Rodriguez Ferrari infield image is iconic. Can anyone verify that two page image IS from the Feb. 1963 Road & Track issue? The race occurred on Feb. 17, 1963 so that date for the photo is suspect… Road & Track ran an article on that race in the May 1963 issue with a image of #18 Ferrari near a wall. The May 1963 issue image was shot by R&T photog Alice Bixler – i contacted her about the #18 Ferrari imagine. i am trying to locate the real source of this INFIELD image of #18 Ferrari for copyright purposes. Could the image be from Car & Driver, Sports car graphic or another periodical ? Thanks for ANY additional info ! PMR

    • The fold out of the red GTO is from the August 1963 issue of Road & Track.

      The captions of the photo is: Pedro Rodriguez in the 3-hour Daytona Continental-winning Ferrari GTO. Kodachrome photo by Robert L. Downing; from August 1963 Road & Track

      • jetvett07 says:

        Mike, Thanks ! now i have to track down the copyrights/ release through the photographer. In 1963 R&T assigned the rights to the photoog…. PMR

      • jetvett07 says:

        Mike, thanks again for the Ferrari GTO image details. Does anyone know of any contact method to reach the photographer – Mr. Robert L. Downing . I have scanned the Web and sent a email note to Hearst publishing ( Road & Track ) ,but have no leads yet. thanks ,PMR

  5. L Sebring says:

    My comment above about the Road & Track issue being February 1963 was incorrect. It was the May 1963 issue.
    I have scanned the article & could email it to anyone who wants it. It is 4 pages with black & white photos.

  6. L Sebring says:

    Also, there is an article on the history of SN# 4219 in the June 1999 issue of Forza magazine. I had held on to that magazine for over ten years before I even realized that I had witnessed the race it won, let alone had met its owner,
    Mamie Spears Reynolds.

    BTW- I have a scan of a newspaper article from Mamie & Coco Chinetti’s wedding. I found it online.

  7. Michael T. Lynch says:

    Some information that may be of interest
    Mamie Spears Reynolds Chinetti Gregory was left the Hope Diamond in her grandmother’s will (Evalyn Walsh McLaen), but the trustees decided to sell it to jeweler Harry Winston to discharge some of McLaen’s debts. He sold it to the Smithsonian Institution, where it remains today. The story about a Great Dane wearing it to parties is true, but the dog belonged to Mamie’s grandmother, not to Mamie. Evalyn also often used it for a sort of Easter Egg hunt during parties.

  8. Dale McConnell says:
  9. I had the fortune of seeing one on the street in Monte Carlo a few years back.

    The amount of attention that it drew was amazing.

    It was quite a sight to behold seeing such a classic beauty in person.

Speak Your Mind

*

Find us on Google+