Courtesy of Bonhams
Announced in April 2010, the 599 GTO was only the third Ferrari to carry the evocative “Gran Turismo Omologato” designation, the others being the 250 GTO and 288 GTO. The 599 GTO was a development of the original 599 GTB Fiorano that had been introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2006. Styled by Pininfarina under the direction of Ferrari’s Frank Stephenson, the 599 with its long bonnet, small cabin, raised haunches and aggressive stance seemed the very definition of the term “sports car.” Ferrari pulled off a rare trick with the 599 GTO, creating a truly versatile car that is as exciting on the racetrack as it is civilized on the road. There can be little doubt that this modern icon will be a collectible future classic.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2011 Ferrari 599 GTO
Years Produced:2011–12
Number Produced:599
SCM Valuation:$648,500
Tune Up Cost:$4,500
Chassis Number Location:Top left of dash near the windshield
Engine Number Location:Right rear above motor mount
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America
Alternatives:2003 Aston Martin DB7 Zagato, 2010 Porsche GT3 RS 4.0, 2015 Ferrari F12tdf
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 276, sold for $530,377, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Bonmont Sale in Chéserex, Switzerland, on September 20, 2020.

The Ferrari world takes the GTO moniker very seriously.

Designed to flaunt the rules of sports-car racing, the original Ferrari 250 GTO became a dominant force by deceiving officials into believing it was something that it was not. The GTO was presented to the FIA as an evolution of a production-based Group 3 race car. The reality was that the 250 GTO was a far more serious race car that shared just enough of the previous 250 GT SWB’s design to appear as a production model.

The 250 GTO’s capability on the track became legendary. Appeal was enhanced by Enzo Ferrari declaring there were only a few drivers in the world capable of driving a GTO to its limits and only doling out the model to hand-picked competitors. That legend, along with rarity (33 Series 1 cars built), good looks, and serious performance, has earned the 250 GTO the ranking of the most valuable automobile on earth.

The next model to share the GTO initials was introduced in 1984. Officially named GTO, an unofficial 288 prefix was added to differentiate it from the previous GTO. This one shared the design theme of Ferrari’s 308 GTB, but like the original GTO, shared few parts with it.

Also like the original GTO, it featured scalding performance and scant production, with only 272 built. But the 288 GTO was never raced and did not earn competition credibility. Does it deserve the GTO designation? That is debatable, but there is no doubt it is a special Ferrari.

And then there were three

The third Ferrari GTO’s story starts with the 599 GTB Fiorano, which was introduced in 2006. It replaced the 575M Maranello, the evolved successor of the 550 Maranello, in the grand-touring slot in Ferrari’s lineup.

Like its predecessor, the 599 had a front-mounted 12-cylinder engine, in this case a 611-horsepower, 5.9-liter unit based on the Ferrari Enzo’s powerplant. A new transaxle was specifically designed as an F1-style paddle-shift automatic but shifting dramatically faster. The 599 significantly raised the performance bar, as it was capable of a 3.2-second sprint to 60 mph.

The interior is also more radical than previous Ferrari grand tourers. The seats resemble a competition seat but are far more comfortable. An electronic display substitutes for a gauge cluster, while a high console and extensive use of sumptuous materials complete the cockpit.

The 599 might be the last Ferrari substantially designed by Pininfarina. Ferrari introduced its Ferrari Styling Centre in 2010, and most subsequent models have thus been designed either totally in-house or in collaboration with Pininfarina. The 599 GTB features a more-aggressive profile than previous Ferrari grand-touring models yet retains the trademark Pininfarina curves.

Its distinctive flying buttresses give the illusion of a fastback roofline, but also improve aerodynamics. True to the adage that “Pininfarina did not design all cars but there is a bit of Pininfarina in all cars,” similar buttresses have been incorporated in the design of other modern supercars, including the Acura NSX and Ford GT.

The GTO returns, at least in name

Five years after the introduction of the 599, Ferrari decided it was time to produce a special edition and that it would once again use the GTO suffix. The exclusive 599 GTO would be limited to just 599 examples and its engineering would lean heavily on Ferrari’s experience with its 599XX race car.

Parallel to the design and production of the 599 GTB, Ferrari had engineered a track-only version to replace its FXX Enzo. The 599XX was a hard-core machine that weighed 520 pounds less than the production car and developed an additional 110 hp. At $1.5 million, it was sold to well-heeled enthusiasts for use at exclusive Ferrari-produced track events.

For the GTO, engineers achieved a 200-pound weight reduction through use of composite trim, while a 599XX-derived crankshaft and a racing-type intake manifold added an additional 60 hp. Use of the 599XX gearbox cut shift times even shorter than the already-impressive F1 gearbox used in the 599 GTB. Second-generation magnetorheological dampening sharpened the GTO’s handling, while keeping the ride comfortable for road use.

A great car, but a dubious investment

The GTO name has not turned out to be the Midas touch for the 599, at least not so far. While the 250 GTO is priced beyond the stratosphere and the 288 GTO sells for many multiples of its original list price, the 599 GTO’s value has not moved much past its original selling price of about $500,000.

Most any collector looking for a 599 GTO would have been enamored by Bonhams’ offering. It was a one-owner car that had been driven less than 1,000 miles, in an attractive color combination and equipped with many desirable options.

The sale price of $530,377 looks a little light for this car, but not unexpectedly low. Three 599 GTOs sold at auction in 2020: one for under $500,000, one near $700,000, and one in the mid-$500k range. Surprisingly, even in the heady 2014 and 2015 market, 599 GTO resale prices hovered around $500,000. The top sale in SCM’s Platinum Auction Database is $811,000 (SCM# 6869881), with more examples selling under $600,000 than above.

The 250 GTO and the 288 GTO were unique Ferraris. Rather than being hot-rodded examples of a similar model, they shared few parts with other Ferraris. Each had a distinct look. There is no denying the 599 GTO has world-class performance, but unfortunately, when your neighbor cannot tell your 599 GTB from your 599 GTO, appreciation becomes a tough hill to climb.

The 599 GTB is one of my absolute favorite Ferraris. The GTO version is icing on the cake. This time, however, the GTO icing makes the car more enjoyable, but it does not make it significantly more valuable. Maybe the future will prove me wrong. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

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