I first show her in the early sixties. Parked near the kerb of a long forgotten street in Geneva. She looked (to me) as the most beautiful shape I ever saw in a motorcar. My distant cousin, who was a teacher of Mathematics at the University and had no interest in cars, walked a few meters and, feeling my absence stopped and remarked anxiously. «What is wrong with you? It is 10 in the evening. We have to go home». «I am admiring one of my dreams. A Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta Scaglietti»
I walked slowly around the car, admiring its flowing and yet powerful lines.
As it turned out this was a big mistake for, it didn’t ’t take more than five minutes for the police to arrive after the lady in the first floor apartment called to say that, two dark haired persons were about to heist the car!
We found ourselves with our hands on the wall and a gun in our back, being searched and asked questions about our country of origin and our passports. It took a few minutes of explaining in more than perfect French by my cousin for the officers to let us free.
A decade later that night is alive in my memory. When I see a racing, a GT or a sports car I compare it with the Ferrari 250 GTO. Only a handful can be compared, aesthetically, with this perfect example of industrial design.
Why the extended prologue? Simply because I wish to emphasize that, rarely we see designs with the «inside» (interior?) power of that masterpiece created by masters such as Bizzarrini, Forghieri, Scaglietti under the authority of Enzo Ferrari. I am of the opinion that this power came out of the souls of the people involved. It was a projection of their love, devotion and determination to motorcar design and not something to impress the rich and famous of this world like many GT cars of late.
It is with nostalgia that I remember the warm atmosphere in the design and engineering shops of the 60’s. Craftsmen forming the aluminium bodies with their own hands, designers with eyes burning with pride when the Maserati’s Tipo 61 «birdcage», Lotus Elan’s, Jaguar D-Type’s, Alfa Romeo’s 33/3’s and Porsche’s 950’s, to name but a few, were «born» out of the hearts of people and testing in the wind tunnels and racing circuits and not of the needs of «emerging markets», hideously rich persons and other sine nobilis (or snob) characters around the globe
The English say that «nostalgia is a past time of old f**ts» but I prefer to be characterized as such than being part of a marketing frenzy that admires over engineered, over powered and designed, blobs of metal that I see in Motor Shows.
Our columnist Kostas Kavvathas established the Greek leading motoring magazine «4Wheels» in 1970 and has been its owner and chief editor through 2006.