I Voted No on the 250 GTO

While the Loverman and I agree on a great many things and have quite possibly slept with too many of the same women (all before we knew each other), now and then there is a great schism. DAF vs. FAF, Evo vs. WRX. Killdozer vs. Dave Matthews. Okay, so the last one was a complete and utter lie. But the 250 GTO is one of the only Jalopnik Fantasy Garage cars I've ever voted down. And it sounds like insanity, even to me.

Why? Partially because I'm a rank contrarian and love the underdog. I will go at you all day as to why Jawbreaker was better than Led Zeppelin. Mainly making the argument that hobbits are ridiculously silly unless Peter Jackson is involved, but being busted up over a girl or singing Sonoma-Coast-evocative songs with lashing, slashing guitars and punk rock's version of Bonham on the drums is just, well, better. Sometimes you just don't need "The Immigrant Song." Which is, oddly enough why I'd rather have an E-Type Lightweight Coupe. I've been in the presence of a 250 GTO. It's an unintentionally imposing car. If somebody offered me one for free, I'd take it without hesitation and then drive to my sellout job in it every day. The 250, essentially, comes off as a disposable car. Not all Ferraris do.

Take, for example, the 500 Superfast. It has a stately grandeur. Or the 308 GT4, which might be the perfect Bertone wedge that isn't a Countach. Or of course, my all-time favorite Ferrari, the 308 GTB.

It seems a cop-out to have what's probably the cheapest Fezza on the market besides the awkward 400i or hideous Mondial rank as one's favorite example of the marque. It reeks of casual Magnum P.I. enthusiasm. The car that'll score you big-haired, spandex-clad, mindless poontang. But truth be told, I like my birds with bigger brains and less spandex. And aside from the hardcore tifosi, I have likely been around more Ferraris than you, unless you're an inveterate showgoer.


The GTB isn't a classical Ferrari. It's not a front-engined V-12 car. Nor is it much of a Dino (although I'd argue that the GTB/GTS were more true to the Dino's heritage than the angular, four-place, angular GT4.

Sure the 308 had problems. Excess gasoline in the cats leading to catastrophic fires was/is the most notorious. But I like the 308 in the way that I like London Calling, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy or New Day Rising. It's that perfect transitional moment. The 206/246 was the original try and is magnificent and valiant and groundbreaking. The GT4 was the awkward but lovable second album. The GTB/GTS was the masterpiece, and the 360, well that was the record with the number one hit song — see Combat Rock. The analogy runs out of steam with Cut the Crap and the 430, but hey, "Dirty Punk" was still a pretty good track.

Years ago, I worked for a guy briefly. He had a lot of books about how to enjoy being rich on his wall. He subscribed to The Robb Report. He lived in Blackhawk. His real-estate-agent wife drove a loaded Suburban because she felt it would be safest for their two unruly, spoiled brats. I wish his name was Donny, because I would've loved to have screamed at him, "You're out of your element!" He had a V-12 SL as a daily driver and an older Ferrari (which I never saw) as a weekend car. He invited his ne'er-do-well brother around to do stuff around the office. His brother loved Ferraris. The Monterey Weekend was an ultimate vacation for this guy. He loved working on them; he loved driving them. In a sense, the guy was absolutely a Jalopnik hero; a purist with an appreciation for greatness and an eye for the diamond in the rough. He hated the newer, luxe-oriented cars. And he drove a first-gen MR2, because he felt that it was the closest a broke-dick artist-type could get to driving a Ferrari.

That's how much of a watershed the Dino/308 actually is. It subverted the way people thought the Ferrari experience. And the 308 GTB/GTS cemented in people's minds that a V-6/V-8 could be a goddamn Ferrari. Tom Selleck may have sold a bunch of those cars, but the 308 was magic all on its own. Most people who call it garbage have never been in one. The 250? It was meant to be disposable. To win races? Sure. To crash? Fine. It doesn't have the raw guts of a Cobra, even though the Daytona may have been hastily cobbled. But the 250 lacks the soul of a lot of Ferraris. And I realize that's a completely counterintuitive argument to make, because it was a finely-sorted, lost-tech car. It had freaking wire wheels! It may have actually been the ultimate example of its breed. But like the F50 and Enzo, and unlike the F40 and 288 GTO, it lacks soul. In a sense, the 250 GTO is somewhat German. The 308, however, is as Italian as osso bucco. And that's what makes it a perfect Ferrari.


Plus, they're still cheap.

"Fast as a Shark" is a weekly electronic broadside aimed at what has been historically right and terribly wrong with the autmotive industry and culture. If Udo Dirkschneider ever drove a 308, it probably featured a turret bristling with Flak 88s.

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@no_slushbox: Amen. The 288 GTO is the ultimate development of the already fine 308.