Vindicating Car Fans the World Over, an Italian Court Determines That the Ferrari 250 GTO Is a Work of Art

The ruling prevents a Modena company from producing replicas of the classic car.

This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti set a record for the most expensive classic car at auction with a $48.4 million sale in 2018. Photo courtesy of RM Sotheby's.
This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti set a record for the most expensive classic car at auction with a $48.4 million sale in 2018. Photo by Patrick Ernzen, courtesy of RM Sotheby's.

Suburban dads around the world have been vindicated by an Italian judge’s ruling that a sports car can, in fact, be a work of art. The decision has granted the coveted designation to the Ferrari 250 GTO, offering the vehicle the same protections from reproductions and imitations as famous paintings and sculptures.

“The customization of the car’s lines and its aesthetic elements have made the 250 GTO unique, a true automobile icon,” declared an Italian commercial tribunal in Bologna, finding that the car’s “artistic merits” had been recognized by “numerous awards and official testaments.”

The decision came down after Ferrari filed a legal complaint against another Modena company that had announced plans to produce replicas of the famed vehicle, which holds the auction record for the most expensive classic car.

“It’s the first time in Italy that a car has been recognized as a work of art,” a Ferrari spokesperson told the Telegraph. “It’s not just its beauty that makes it special—it also has a long racing history.”

Now that the car’s form and intellectual property rights have been acknowledged by the court, only Ferrari can produce, commercialize, and promote the classic vehicle. (Don’t tell the tribunal that Estonian designer Rain Prisk just converted a 250 GTO into a beastly-looking off-roading vehicle.)

Rain Prisk turned a Ferrari 250 GTO into an off-roading vehicle. Photo courtesy of Rain Prisk.

Rain Prisk turned a Ferrari 250 GTO into an off-roading vehicle. Photo courtesy of Rain Prisk.

The car has already fetched prices at auction on the level of a prize painting or sculpture. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, built by Scaglietti, a coach-building company located across the street from Ferrari’s Modena, Italy, headquarters, sold for a record $48.4 million at RM Sotheby’s annual collector car sale in Monterey, California, last August. The car, which won the 1962 Italian GT championship, belonged to former Microsoft engineer and car collector Greg Whitten, who purchased it back in 2000.

The sale topped the $38.1 million fetched in 2014 by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta, a coupe model sold at Bonhams in Carmel, California. In 2013, a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO racer went for $52 million in a private sale, according to Bloomberg, making it the most expensive car ever sold.

This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti set a record for the most expensive classic car at auction with a $48.4 million sale in 2018. Photo courtesy of the Klemanstaski Collection, RM Sotheby's.

This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti set a record for the most expensive classic car at auction with a $48.4 million sale in 2018. Photo courtesy of the Klemanstaski Collection, RM Sotheby’s.

Produced for just two short years, between 1962 and ’64, the 250 GTO was one of Ferrari’s most successful racing cars, reaching speeds of up to 170 miles per hour with its V12 engine. In total, Ferrari build only 36 examples of the model. Although some have been wrecked and rebuilt over the years, all of them are still extant, according to CNN.

This isn’t the first time Ferrari and art have been muttered in the same breath, either. Back in 2017, Sotheby’s raised eyebrows when it included a 2001 Ferrari, chassis no 211—the Formula 1 race car that won Michael Schumacher first prize at the Monaco Grand Prix—in its fall evening sale. It sold above estimate at $7.5 million. Looking back, with the Italian court ruling in mind, one could argue the buyer got it for a steal.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics