In its powder blue and orange Gulf livery, it dominated the imagination of fans of motor racing for an entire decade. It also happened to give Porsche their first outright wins of the 24 Heures Du Mans in 1970 and 1971. Superbly fast, powerful and savagely gorgeous, it, of course, featured as Steve McQueen’s charge in the flawed jewel of motor racing cinema that was 1971’s Le Mans.
Ferrari 250 GTO
See one in the flesh and you understand why they command up to $16M. Based on the SWB 250 GT, part of the appeal of the ‘Gran Turismo Omologato’ version is its rarity. Only a total of 39 were ever made in Maranello. The GTO’s curves and proportions were dreamed up in house in the Ferrari factory and developed by venerable coachbuilder Scaglietti. Automotive engineering as high art? We think so.
Tyrrell’s P34 project was introduced as a solution to the perennial problem of aerodynamics in F1 racing. This big slick clad wheels were notoriously troublesome with airflow: so the solution of shrinking the front wheels and adding another row to compensate for loss of grip was come up with by Ken Tyrrell himself. Success in the 1976 season in the hands of Jody Sheckter and Patrick Depaillier was mixed with consternation. Sheckter, though having won the Swedish Grand Prix in a P34 that year, dismissed the design as a faddish anomaly. The P34 was outrageous, creative and lightning quick. What more could you ask of a race car?
Mercedes 300 SLR
According to Stirling Moss himself, there was no other car on the planet that could have achieved his record breaking time in the 1955 Mille Miglia. Teutonic engineering brilliance crossed with Stirling’s fearlessness combined to create the quickest ‘silver arrow’ in racing history. Now safely ensconced in the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart, you would have to control the budget of a large but developing nation to purchase the original.
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