GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

GTO Ride at the FCA 2012 International Meet from Scott McClure

I thought I would post this article written by my friend and Dino owner Scott McClure:

GTO Ride at the FCA 2012 International Meet

by Scott McClure

The GTO was the featured Ferrari for the 2012 FCA International Meet.  It all started with The Bobileff seminar, my Dino seats, and the Daytona GTB/4 then ended with the ride of a lifetime in a rare 288GTO that thrilled and engaged my senses.
Unfortunate timing left my Dino restoration in Seattle so I had flown down to attend the FCA International Meet in Palm Springs featuring the 50th Anniversary of the GTO. Wanting to participate sans Ferrari, I volunteered to work The Concours and then the following day Wally Clark and Marv Landon executed another wonderful FCA event, The Rally Drive.  I showed up to see the Rally Ferraris depart and then I darted inside the Conference Center to attend Gary Bobileff's Restoration Seminar.  The attendees enjoyed Gary's Seminar immensely and it lasted 30 minutes longer than allotted due to questions and comments. We were a pack of restoration sharks in a knowledge based feeding frenzy that would not let Gary adhere to the schedule. He was pinned to the podium leaving him to make apologies to the Meguiars team seminar scheduled to followed him.

Gary tried to conclude but the crowd's appetite had just been whetted and we still weren't satisfied.  I had questions about the recent restoration of my Dino's Daytona style seats and leaned over to Brian Crall, TR enthusiast and one of the Bay Area's premier Ferrari Independents, to ask him.  Brian declined pointing his index finger to Gary saying "ask either him or the guy in the back of the room".  I turned around and there was only one person back there. Way in the back. As the crowd got up to charge forward to Gary, I retreated back and introduced myself to Mr. S, ensuing a long conversation about Daytona seats that continued into the Ferrari only parking garage where we sought out Daytona examples. More conversation about Mr. S's own Daytona GTB/4 restoration caused me to draw Dino parallels; discussing paint, trim screws, finishes. This reminded me about the real fun of an International meet; getting to discuss the Ferrari passion in detail with other members and viewing car varieties.

Turning to leave we passed the lone 288 GTO in the garage and Mr. S waved a casual hand then commented "we could look at the Daytona seats in my car, but they're not the same". I literally stopped in my tracks as the words came out of his mouth. My spine tingled and my feet would not move.  Regaining my composure I asked to take photos and my request was granted with the response that "sure, it was only a car". I tried to throttle the flood of questions I had about this Super Car. I could not get enough of the shear presence that the 288GTO had.  Mr. S was cool and composed, quite used to questions after owning it for over two decades. With only 272 produced I was floored and intrigued. We talked about how Enzo's hand had been all over the design of the 288GTO, that this was first modern car with Targa Florio shields, and how it was a purpose built Group B race car so that Ferrari could dominate the racing series.
Just when my questions were exhausted and I was feeling comfortable to the point of being bold, I blurted out asking if we could go for a ride. Mr. S looked at his watch and said "yeah, we have time before the Air Museum tour" and he unlocked the door. The seating immediately struck me as having great support and a wonderful view. I gazed across the cockpit and noticed the pedals were well worn from years of heel-and-toe action.  This was GTO that truly had been driven, exactly as Enzo intended.  The Momo steering wheel screamed vintage Ferrari racer and Mr. S pointed out the one cabin modification, exhaust temperature gauges mounted in front of the center console.  He tapped them with his right forefinger and commented "These impart critical information about the operation of the engine under boost and are part of the Tubi exhaust system".

As Mr. S turned the ignition key the 288GTO engine came to life, purring like a kitten at 1200rpms and that Tubi exhaust released a raw, throaty tone which made me a smile.  But there was another sound present, something that didn't sound right and was completely out of place.  I turned around to see it.  In the row behind us a Japanese car had been the focus of the Tubi's reverberation in the garage structure and its car alarm had been set off, complete with lights flashing.  I chuckled as Mr. S pulled out to drive the surface streets of Palm Springs.  We lumbered onwards to the freeway and it was at that moment I realized the GTO reminded me of a Thresher Shark; the broad shouldered wheel flares, that oversized Kamm tail, and its efficient stance of the firm suspension. Slow, purposeful and energy conserving until the right moment.

We entered the freeway by proceeding around the cloverleaf onramp where I noticed a speeding silver car passing the flow of traffic, probably going about 80mph. Mr. S summoned up the turbos and as we merged on the straight they spooled up and we were propelled forward. The Jekyl & Hyde nature of the 288 GTO had been revealed.  He casually commented that wastegate boost limits were set at 0.8 Bar, yet with each shift my head was thrown back into the seat and within a quarter mile we passed that silver car. I looked over and we were still in fourth gear yet lightspeed had been attained. Each road imperfection was instantly transformed into sensations in my lower back as he brought the Thresher Shark back into its conservative posture and merged into the center lane.  

A white Honda approached us from the left and kept pace.  I looked at Mr,. S and mentioned the lookey Lou but he waved it off as "that happens all the time", but I knew I would not be half as cool if I owned such a red shark.  Recent prices alluded that these were now worth USD $1.2 Million.  He let the Honda pass us and the Honda-ite was completely turned around in his seat as he was rubbernecking a view of the GTO from in front of us.  I sighed a breath of relief when we escaped onto our exit ramp for the Palm Springs air museum.  Parking the GTO amongst fighter planes couldn't have been better or more appropriate company and I thanked him for an enjoyable ride.

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