Fly Ferrari 250 GTO, part 1

If you could poll the entire world's population of racing fans and ask them "What is the most beautiful and charismatic race car ever built?" a great many of them would vote for the 1962 / 63 Ferrari 250 GTO.

There is a mystique about this car, a timelessly perfect blend of form and function that transcends technology and enters the realm of pure art. The GTO has captivated car lovers for more than 40 years now, and its reputation, founded on legendary competition successes in the days before wings, slicks, and ground effects and endlessly renewed by its continuing presence in vintage racing, just keeps on growing. Whole generations of motorsports enthusiasts, seeing and hearing it at speed for the first time, have fallen in love with it on the spot.

The GTO's design took advantage of a provision of the FIA GT class rules that allowed special bodywork to be fitted to production GT cars. The resulting car could end up looking quite different from its assembly-line siblings and still be considered the same make and model under the rules.

The manufacturer was supposed to build a specified minimum number of cars with the revised bodywork, but that provision of the rules was widely winked at. Ironically, this paragraph in the rule book was the same one Carroll Shelby used to get his Cobra Daytona Coupes into the GT class in 1964 and beat Ferrari for the world GT Championship in 1965, but when the 250 GTO appeared those events were still two and three years in the future.

The GTO's shape is a quintessentially Italian distillation of aesthetics and the racing world's then nascent understanding of aerodynamics. It represents, perhaps, the apex of a brief, shining era in race car design that flourished just before the tyranny of the wind tunnel descended upon the world of high-performance automobiles and turned them into something more closely resembling aircraft, both aesthetically and technologically.

The low, sloping nose, Kamm tail with its perfectly rendered spoiler, and the various vents in the bodywork came together to define for decades to come the very picture of what a fast car ought to look like. For many it still does.

One thing that has helped to keep the original 250 GTO so special is that, unlike its equally iconic contemporaries, the Cobra and the Ford GT40, it has largely resisted, with some help from the Ferrari legal department, attempts by kit car makers to clone it. Aside from a run of Datsun 240Z - based fiberglass caricatures the only real cloning of the GTO to date has been done by rebodying actual Ferrari 250 GT chassis, which is essentially how the original GTOs were built.

Some of these replicas were so faithful to the original it was hard to tell them apart without an in-depth expert inspection, but there were never going to be very many of them because the supply of chassis is so limited.

Even that effort succeeded only in duplicating the original in detail whereas some of the Cobra and GT40 clones and recreations are, in significant ways, better cars than the originals. In any case, there has never been a horde of GTO kit cars and low-buck replicas, so when you see the unmistakable shape of a Ferrari 250 GTO you are much more likely to be looking at the real thing. For that reason you are far less likely to see one, not to mention own one, except in miniature.

Which brings us to the slot car track (I hope you knew I'd get us there sometime) and Fly's new 250 GTO slot car. For starters, there has already been Internet comment about the lack of Ferrari logos on the car's fenders. The car is a model of the GTO raced at LeMans in 1962 by Leon Dernier and Jean Blaton, who raced under the pseudonym of "Beurlys".

The car is modeled exactly as it looked at LeMans and the absence of the Ferrari trademark from its fenders has nothing to do with licensing issues. The name Ferrari does appear on the bottom of the chassis and the famous prancing horse emblem is part of the chrome trim on the car's front air intake. Neither would be there if there were any significant licensing issues. The yellow dots and stripe were most likely identifying marks applied by the team to make it easier to identify its car at a distance in a field with numerous red Ferraris. This was a common practice then and continues to this day.

All that aside, the Fly model's appearance is fully worthy to represent one of the greatest cars of all time. This is not to say it's perfect, but it's a huge step forward in overall build quality in general and paint quality in particular as compared to most of Fly's efforts over the past few years. The paint, especially, is impressive. It's uniformly smooth and glossy with not a speck, run, or orange peel to be found, something almost unheard of on a Fly car. And the shade of red is to die for, a blood-red hue that screams "Ferrari!" The tampo-stamping is sharp and opaque.

I did find one significant tampo stamping flaw in my two review cars, however. The windshield and window frames are picked out in silver, but the silver does not come all the way down to the glass. You can see red between the silver and the clear parts. This is only apparent upon close examination, especially under magnification, and appears to be common to all the cars, but the obsessively anal among us may be put off. A fastidious modeler could probably take the car apart and fix the problem with silver paint and a fine brush, but most purchasers probably won't care or even notice.

All the slot car's various body openings are faithfully rendered, including the three "nostrils" in the top of the nose. Fly does need to pay a bit more attention to what's behind the openings, however. The three openings atop the nose reveal the chrome piece that mounts to the chassis and incorporates the two headlights. The part behind the openings, no doubt, is intended to represent the car's radiator and should, therefore, be painted silver rather than left in the chrome plating.

A worse mistake is the omission of any structure behind the vents in the sides of the fenders just forward of the doors. It's possible to look all the way through both sides of the car, which one shouldn't be able to do, revealing nothing at all in between. A couple of squares of styrene sheet, painted black and glued in behind the vents, will fix the problem.
End of part 1.

About the Author
Arie Viewer is a slot car collector, enthusiast and expert. To get more information about slot cars, visit You can get advice and answers to your questions by calling or e-mailing for a free personal consultation with a model car racing expert.