Text: Jacky FAVRE - Photos: Christelle SOMMEREISEN - Jacky FAVRE
We are Wednesday, July 4, it is 1:15AM and I wake up before the alarm clock rings and before wake madam. On this day of American Independence, it is a different event that interests me. That's just 36 hours this trip is definitely expected. Indeed, it is among the rarest events (only every 5 years), the most coveted (and for good reason), but most especially secretly organized. The course information, dates, competitors, as few as they are, are carefully kept away from journalists. Fortunately, I finally managed information to find the cars Wednesday morning in Champagne, France. You'll understand, I'm going to see not one, not two, not some Ferrari but twenty 250GTO celebrating their 50 years in France.
Refuel the car was done the day before, as well as some provisions, so that I can calmly drive alone from 1:30AM to 5 hour in a direction never traveled.
The rendezvous point is none other than the town in which was invented the famous Champagne: Hautvillers, which has an abbey where a wellknown Don Perignon was preparing wine. Once there, I go on reconnaissance.
After finding the Abbey, I try to go around in order to see over the high walls that surround it.
A few minutes later, it's not even 7am and I finally discovered that what I came for ... A confirmation show me that I did not make the trip for nothing. But no view allows pictures or even how many cars are there.
I will wait until 9AM to see the Gentlemen drivers and to understand it was useless to get up so early. The first V12 roar, this is a good sign. At 9:30, the first tip his nose. This is # 4115GT
A 275GTB here? This car is for organization.
It show the road to #4561SA, a 330GTO.
Followed by #4091GT, made in 1962 but rebuild with a 1964 body.
An other 62 converted: #3413GT
Back in 1962 with two red versions and french flag stripe. #6 (#3943GT) was seen some weeks ago at Villa D'Este. The other is #3705GT.
To continue in red, this is #4757GT and #4713GT which have a 330LMB body.
The following model is truly sublime. # 3445GT features indeed a blue sky with a yellow stripe covering the entire nose. Unfortunately this car will undergo a serious accident during the stage rallying Le Mans Classic. The car will need a big restoration. I am therefore particularly pleased to be able to see it at that moment.
An other 64 version: #5571GT
#3757GT owned by Nick Mason, met at Villa d'Este where he was judge of the concorso.
1964 version with #4399GT
#4293GT fastly seen.
With its history, the GTO has brought many different colors. Proof with two green copies. First with his nose yellow # 4399GT and the second is pale green # 3505GT.
Back to red with #3607GT
Another original color suits her very well. A metallic blue with a white stripe. I present to you # 3387GT.
Famous for its dark blue that many people believe black, the GTO # 4219GT Brandon Wang.
Here, the presentations are made. Regarding the chassis numbers, my source of information is other than Arthomobile site, which once again brings a lot of content. You can find the details of each model here. You can also take the opportunity to see his story throughout the course here.
The second part of this report was to follow, or at least try to follow the cars. I wanted to make several stops for differents views and maximum cars. Generally, this happened around a fuel station. What a surprise for employees of the Peugeot garage to see not less than 4 Ferrari 250GTO to refuel!
The decor is more airy than the output of the Abbey. And what a sight!!
Especially since I am entitled to completely different versions, either by the body or by color. Fabulous.
The mood is set. And (many) photographers can work quietly. Personally, the feeling at that time invited me to take instead of "click". I still try to capture the most of this meeting.
Other cars are waiting a little further to stay in procession. You can also see a Daytona and a 512BB of the organization.
I leave the convoy before them and stop just beyond another station, where the vision is unbelievable.
In normal times, you would swear a replica so the probability of crossing a GTO in town is low.
I could shoot a few moments (with my phone) the departure of # 4293GT
I found it parked a little further. I'll finally be able to focus more on it.
In reviewing Charles Nearburg going, I decided to get my car and follow him. Unfortunately for me, I won't catch up, and I even lose eye contact with a GTO. My day abruptly stops. But I've 500km in the legs, it is noon and I still do 350km to go.
This is probably my craziest story. It could be summed up as doing 850km a day to see 20 cars just a few minutes. But if Ferrari was not the brand it is today, if the 250GTO did not represent the culmination of a dream, our passion would be nothing and it's for this reason that summarize this adventure isn't possible. I had "chosen" not to take the full tour, though did not have the information to do so, and I envy Nicolas for his perseverance which has paid for 5 days, but I'ld be willing to much sacrifices just to relive this unforgettable day.
This report has not the quality you might expect, but because I wanted to enjoy these moments, so rare, at fair value. In addition, everything happens so fast that set the camera to each shot would not be possible. The next appointment? In 5 years somewhere in the world, and in 10 years, probably back in France, I hope anyway ...
I would like to thank my source who will remain anonymous for giving me the necessary information to this journey. Without this person, I would not have experienced what an unforgettable experience. T H A N K S
Then I would like to thank Nicolas due to who I was able to give the chassis numbers of cars. It takes many hours to gather the necessary information, I shall probably do not have the courage, especially in view of the delay in my publications.