Rebuild, restore, renew: Inside Ferrari experts GTO Engineering

Posted in CAR NEWS on May 23, 2021

In the past, Ferrari officialdom has been famously snooty in its dealings with nonfranchised specialists, and even today the sides are careful about how they deal with one another. But you can definitely sense a softening of attitude on the Italian side, if only because GTO is such a handy source of beautifully remanufactured, extremely rare parts and forged front suspension pieces, for example. Ferrari Classiche buys from GTO, albeit always through a third party.

But what of the future? Even the supply of donor V12 Ferraris must run out some time soon, not least because these cars are acquiring their own rarity value. Lyon is already 18 months into a second new plan, even bolder than the first. He wants GTO to build its own classic Ferrari-esque car, called the Squalo (see right), charge £1.5 million per copy and have it on the market in 2023.

As we walk back through GTO’s engine-building workshop, Lyon casually lifts the cover over a Testa Rossa engine, showing how amazingly compact it is, even in modern terms. It also weighs only 180kg, he says, which again compares pretty well with many of the latest units.

One thing that strikes me about this extraordinary place, so completely stuffed with past achievement and future potential, is how modestly its founder displays its many facets. I’m moved to remark on the fact: “You don’t boast much, Mark, do you?” He glances at me as if I’ve lost my marbles and replies: “What would be the point of that?

GTO's first bespoke car

“The Squalo idea came to me at a car show in Riyadh in October 2019,” says GTO Engineering boss Mark Lyon. “We were looking at a Singer Porsche and it suddenly occurred to me that we should do something similar. So during the first lockdown, we got serious.”

The Squalo isn’t a Ferrari, but it is heavily influenced by Lyon’s beloved Colombo V12 cars. An anonymous London-based designer has produced what looks like an updated 250 SWB with more modern proportions and far better ingress/egress than an original but using many of the Colombo-era components, including engines and gearboxes, that GTO makes already.

It’s a compact two-seat coupé that’s based on a classically massive old-Ferrari twin-tube chassis and has a 400bhp 4.0-litre V12 in its nose to drive its rear wheels, but it will have sensible cabin and boot space. Read more at: Best Sport Cars