“The camel is a horse made by the designer, after a meeting of the board of directors.” —Giovanni Michelotti
The Ferrari 250GTO is the classic grand tourer; the car you would drive across the Alps to Italy in if you had US$20 million burning a hole in your pocket, life cover, nerves of steel, an understanding partner who was also a mechanic, no children, and a spare 250GTO. Or you could spend between $5,000 to $15,000 on a Triumph GT6+. It may not be a Ferrari, but it has the GT pedigree. It has been described as the “poor man’s E Type” after the Jaguar XK-E that Enzo Ferrari himself described as “the most beautiful car in the world.”
Introduced in 1966, the original GT6 was essentially a Triumph Spitfire with a fastback hardtop and the engine from a Triumph 2000 saloon. The body had been designed by Michelotti in Turin four years earlier. In 1968 the MkII, GT6+ in the US, was introduced with a vastly improved rear suspension. It did 0-60mph in 10 seconds and had a top speed of 109mph. By comparison, the 1962 GTO250 did 0-60mph in 14.1 seconds, although it had a much higher top speed of 175mph.
The O in GTO is for ‘omologato’ which means homologation. In other words it was built to race in a production car class, specifically Group 3 Grand Touring Car Racing. It won its class in the International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962, 1963, and 1964. Although the GT6 was never raced, it was derived from the Spitfire GT4 that came 13th overall and won its class in the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans, beating the Alpine A110. However, just 39 GTOs were built compared to more than 40,000 GT6s, over 12,000 of which were the more desirable MkII model.
Of course you could buy a 250GTO replica but then you’d have ruined a perfectly good Datsun 240Z, a classic in its own right, and you’d be driving around in the equivalent of a plastic bag with Louis Vuitton written on it in permanent marker. Another advantage the GT6 has over other alternatives is the availability of parts (aside from the gearbox). British Motor Heritage stocks a wide range of new parts made using the original jigs.
Triumph GT6 MkII / Ferrari 250GTO Wheelbase : 83 in 94.4 in Track front : 49 in 53.2 in rear : 49 in 53.1 in Length : 143 in 173.2 in Width : 57 in 65.9 in Height : 47 in 47 in Length:wheelbase ratio : 1.72 1.83 Kerb weight : 1905 lb 2094 lb Fuel capacity : 11.7 US Gal 35.1 US Gal Bore x stroke : 2.94 in x 2.99 in 2.87 in x 2.31 in Cylinders : Inline 6 V12 in 60 degree V Displacement : 121.925 cu in 180.203 cu in Type : overhead valves single overhead cam Compression ratio : 9.25:1 9.70:1 Fuel system : 2 St carbs 6 Weber 38 DCN carbs Maximum power : 104 bhp @ 5300 rpm 296 bhp @ 7500 rpm Specific output : 0.85 bhp/cu in 1.64 bhp/cu in Maximum torque : 117 ft-lb @ 3000 rpm 217ft-lb @ 5500 rpm bmep : 145 psi 181.5 psi Bore/stroke ratio : 0.98 1.24 Unitary capacity : 333 cc per cylinder 246.08 cc per cylinder