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GTO Engineering Ferrari 250 SWB Revival: Better Than New?

Alex Goy

02 Sep 2020

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There are plenty of people who dream of owning a classic, iconic car. You know the car – the ones that would waft the great and good around the Riviera, or through the posh bits of town of any of the world’s capitals. The kind of cars that inspired songs, are immortalised in artworks, and tend to be sold at auction for £LOTS. Cars, in fact, like the Ferrari 250 SWB. A showstopper of a motor both in the 60’s and now. Something with curves, elegance, and style by the bucketload. And a V12 to make it sound and go as one would hope an Italian GT would.

As values of the coveted originals are so high that if owners looked at them funny they could knock a few quid off their value, few are driven as Enzo intended these days. Thing is, people still want them. This is where GTO Engineering comes in. The UK based firm can build you a shiny new 250 SWB Revival from pretty much scratch. All they need to get started is a donor Ferrari (and, more importantly, its chassis number), and they’ll create the new car around it.

From its Twyford HQ, GTO Engineering’s team hand makes all the componentry the 250 SWB needs. All based on original drawings, it’s exactly as you’d expect from an original car. The V12 engine, which can be had in 3.0, 3.5, or 4.0-litre spec (or a bespoke capacity if you’d like), takes over 300 hours to build. The resulting car looks exactly like one built by people with names like Enzo, Mario, and Luigi (there’s a copy of Mario Kart on the shelf next to the laptop, ok?) in 1960, but was in fact made by people more likely to be called Dave in 2020. Well… considering each 250 SWB Revival takes 12-18 months to make, the car you see here was more likely to have been started in 2019. The point still stands.

The details, though, are all there. And it feels solidly built. In an original car you may worry about pressing panels too hard, or slamming a door in case a bit of ancient trip shatters in to a billion pieces. GTO Engineering’s car feels strong and sturdy. Considering they reckon you can use it as a daily driver (an £850,000 before options daily driver), that’s a good thing.

Outside, every curve, vent, and line is correct. The keenest eyed Ferrari spotter will likely know that it isn’t a matching numbers 250 SWB, but the casual observer will think it’s the real thing (which, in a way, it is. Ish.). Inside, it’s the same – the dash is correct, the headlining’s made of the same material as the original car, the dials are in the correct Italian, the wood-rimmed wheel perfectly protrudes. It is beautiful, pure and simple.

While you can spec mod cons like a hidden USB port and air conditioning (which, on one of 2020’s hottest days, wasn’t as effective as you’d hope), the newer innovations are hidden away. The look must be preserved.

As far as driving it goes, it doesn’t feel like a modern car by any stretch but it is pleasingly easy to drive. The throttle responds instantly to a prod, with a little resistance at the top of the pedal, but free movement underneath. As the car only weighs 1050kgs, the 3.5-litre motor option’s 320bhp doesn’t have much to move. The upshot is that GTO Engineering reckons the 250 SWB Revival can clip 0-60mph in 6.0 seconds and will go up to 150mph. While it’s fast, it also sounds incredible. A 3.5-litre V12 built to Ferrari’s specifications from the 60’s is hardly going to sound like a 718 Boxster, is it? On a straight bit of road, popping the loud pedal to the floor will get you a soundtrack that is pretty much unmatched by today’s cars. It’s a special noise, and one that, even though you can have a new one, few will ever get to hear.

Its brakes are a different story. They’re discs, but have no assistance. This means you need to lean on them to get them to work in a hurry, but they’ll do the job well enough.

Swapping cogs is wonderfully old school as well. The clutch is lighter than light, but getting the ratio you want requires a good ‘ol shove of the long lever. Too little and it’ll pop out of gear, leaving you revving the car as you roll along, so don’t be afraid to throw it home.

Steering also needs some strength at low speed, less when the speedo’s busy. It’s smooth, and feels incredible. The car leans gently in to each bend, and rides smoothly over bumps. It’s not one for hardcore thrashing, but to enjoy at a more leisurely pace.

Whether or not you think it’s a ‘real’ Ferrari, GTO Engineering’s creation is a blinding car. It has presence by the bucketload, it feels fantastic to drive, and sounds heavenly. Special seems like too weak a word for it…

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