Ferrari 250 GTO legally considered “art” according to Italian courts

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Ferrari 250 GTO Art side Ferrari 250 GTO Art side

The unprecedented court ruling seeks to stamp out replica vehicles

Ferrari’s 250 GTO has long been the zenith of classic car collecting, with a 1962 example re-cementing auction price records last August, selling for nearly AU$70 million at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction of 2018.

A private sale eclipsed RM Sotheby’s astounding auction result just a few months earlier, with an ex-Strling Moss example re-setting the benchmark as the "world’s most expensive car", selling to the tune of AU$92 million.


Ferrari historian Marcel Massini at the time confirmed the sale and stipulated his belief another 250 GTO will break the $100 million barrier within the next five years due to increased demand and ever-limited supply.

That has yet to occur, but is increasingly possible given a recent ruling by the Italian commercial tribunal – which recently regarded the classic Ferrari as a bonafide piece of "art".

Ferrari instigated legal action following the announcement of another Modena company who planned to produce 250 replicas of the 250 GTO.


Replicas are a frequent by-product of low volume and high-value collector classics – 250 GTOs previously have been no exception.

The unprecedented court ruling however, states the rare 60s racer – of which just 36 were ever produced – to be considered an "entirely original" piece of art; acknowledging "numerous awards and official testaments" regarding the car’s "artistic merits".

The court stated that "the customisation of the car’s lines and its aesthetic elements have made the 250 GTO unique, a true automobile icon". Subsequently, all production, commercialisation and promotional rights belong solely to Ferrari – and protect the vehicle from imitations, reproductions and replicas.


The court ruling is likely only to be easily enforced within Italy, though it should serve as a warning shot to replica car makers around the world. 250 GTO replicas aren’t anything new – which makes the timing of the legal action a curious one.

Are they simply protecting their own intellectual property – or will they perhaps cash in on the ‘recreation’ and ‘continuation’ wave recently popularised by the likes of Jaguar and Aston Martin?

Time will tell, but at least the age old debate of whether a car can be considered "art", now has some real world credence.


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