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The anorak: Ferrari 250 GTO #3589GT

Written by Kurt | Thursday, 29 March 2012 13:03
#3589GT in a field, photos by El Wayne

Now, normally I try to steer clear of the subject 'chassis numbers' and historic cars, as it can come over as mindbogglingly boring to normal people while at the same time being a futile attempt to sound interesting, when you are really not anything like that. But, for this post I make an exception as it is about a car with a very intriguing story. I mean, it is not often that you hear of a Ferrari 250 GTO that used to languish in a field for 15 years. Even though is a well-known story outside of the ferrarichat.com circle, it really is worth making a trip down memory lane to revisit chassis #3589GT in the various parts of its life. And what a life it was (is)! Just read on after the jump all will be explained.

 

Being build by passionate craftsmen in Maranello in 1962 it was one of the few right-hand drive 250 GTOs. Because of this, it obviously went to the United Kingdom where it debuted at the Goodwood race track in the hands of Mike Parkes. At the end of the 1962 european racing season it was shipped to the 'new world' and got the chance to leave behind the miserable english weather and race in a nice soothing caribbean climate. It ran a couple of races in Nassau, Bahamas with Innes Ireland at the wheel and finally went on to race in the 12 hours of Sebring in 1963. This is where the interesting bit of the story starts.

After just 2 years of active racing it was pensioned off and donated to a high school in Texas by the then owner, Tom O'Connor. It was used in parades and shows but then, in 1972, it was sold by a sealed bid ($6500) to a certain Joe Korton, who did not go on and drive it, as the average car enthusiast would do. No, he put in a field next to his home on a trailer, unprotected, all ready for the elements to munch it up over a couple of years. The car wasn't hidden in obscurity though, some people sighted it and some brave people even tried to make a photographic record of it. One person hiding behind the alias of 'triumpnutter' told us: 

"Got me thinking about my youth and how I remember Kortan's yard, full of collectible cars just rotting away. I lived a few miles away from him. I went to school with his daughter and she was on my bus route thru grade school. I had no idea what the cars were at the time (I was in 8th grade in 79 and watched that yard since I can remember), but we all knew they were supposed to be really collectible. It was well known that Mr. Kortan was not in the market to let them go, that he liked them just the way they were.... unprotected, just parked in the field or in the dilapidated barn, rotting away. He had no interest in showing them to anyone. A few years back, the daughter told me how she and her brothers used to sled ride down the hood of that Ferrari when they were kids!"

He wasn't the only one to tell the world something about this GTO, in the early 90s Innes Ireland described his encounter with Joe Korton in an issue of Road & Track (which I noticed during preparing this piece is also online) like this:

"I heard nothing of the car until I was invited as guest of honor by the French Ferrari owners club to its 20th anniversary of the GTO meeting in 1982. I was horrified to hear that she had been sitting in the field for years; I was unable to understand how anyone could possibly allow such a thing to happen.

Finally I turned up on Joe Korton's doorstep, and, sure enough, there was a 250 GTO sitting on a trailer in a field of long grass. Although painted a dull red–by hand, it looked like-she still carried the scrutineer's stamp on the inside of the screen from Nassau 1962 so I knew she was 3589 all right.

Nothing would persuade Mr. Korton to sell me the car, saying he was going to put her in order one day. But in expressing my horror at her condition, at least I persuaded him to put her in a shed under cover (which he did), and I extracted a promise that if ever he decided to sell, he would give me first option (which he did not)."

Thankfully, a certain Frank Gallogly continuously stalked Korton into selling him the GTO just before the 1980s classic car bubble burst, nothing much came of restoring it, though, and it was sold on to a Swiss collector with whom it remains to this day, restored and well. Fascinating ey? Sometimes stories about chassis numbers are well worth exploring a bit further, but most of all enjoy the photographs and then of course sob.

Photos were posted a long time ago on a forum by a certain 'El Wayne', so all credit goes to this guy..