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Thread: The 'Other' Ferrari 250 GTO

  1. #1

    The 'Other' Ferrari 250 GTO

    Name:  Pat Hoare Ferrari.jpg
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    In 1960, New Zealand businessman and enthusiast racing driver Pat Hoare made a trip to Maranello to purchase a V12 engine for his Ferrari 625 (ex de Portago, Hawthorn and Gonzales) to replace its problematic 4 cylinder unit. Hoare was a personal friend of Enzo Ferrari, and it was Enzo who'd had Hoare's 'Tasman special' 625 fitted with its larger 2996cc engine when he purchased it in 1957.

    But rather than return to NZ with a V12 engine in 1960, Hoare returned with a whole car. He ended up purchasing a Dino 256, chassis 0007, the car driven to victory at that years Monza GP by Phil Hill, and the last front engined car to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix. The 256 (originally designated 246 when it was built in 1958, but modified in '59, and given a new designation) had raced with a Dino V6 engine, usually around 2414cc, throughout its GP career, but the Tasman rules, being those used in both New Zealand and Australia, allowed for engines up to 3000cc. Therefore, Ferrari had the 256 fitted with a 2953cc 60 degree V12 Testa Rossa motor, one of the engines usually used in the teams 250TR sports cars. Producing over 330hp, the V12 was around 50hp up on that of the smaller Dino V6.

    Hoare qualified the 256 14th for the New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore in January 1961, and finished 7th behind a star-studded cast, including race winner Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Graham Hill, Ron Flockhart, Denny Hulme, and Jim Clarke. The Ferrari was the first front engined car home. Hoare finished 2nd to Hulme in the Dunedin Road Race in a much depleted field that included few internationals. A 4th placed finish behind Jo Bonnier, Roy Salvadori, and Hulme at the Teretonga International, and victory in the Waimate 50 road race, against a New Zealand driver line-up, were other highlights of the 1960/61 season.

    For the 1961/62 season, Hoare was again the local star in the New Zealand Grand Prix, qualifying 11th, and finishing 6th, behind Stirling Moss, John Surtees, McLaren, Salvadori, and Lorenzo Bandini, and again the big Ferrari was the first front engined car home. He won the Dunedin Road Race, and placed 2nd in the Waimate 50 behind Jim Palmer, and emerged from the '62 season as the winner of the New Zealand Car Clubs Racing Gold Star, for New Zealand drivers.

    Sadly, Motorsport New Zealand introduced a 2.7 litre engine limit following the '62 season, deeming the magnificent 256 ineligible. No longer would the buildings of Dunedin and Waimate rattle to the sound of its booming V12. Hoare placed the car on the market, but unsurprisingly, there was little interest in the outdated racer with its over-sized engine, and it sat for some time before Hoare decided to convert the Ferrari for road use.

    He considered the different road going Ferrari options available, but there was really only one choice. Given the 256 was a race car, the logical option was that it be built into a 250 GTO, a close replica of the 1963 notchback models. Hoare had Enzo supply him with blueprints of the '64 GTO, along with some components including the large wrap-around windscreen. Firstly, the plans, which were in metric, were converted by an architect friend of Hoare's. They also had to be modified, as the 256 had a wheelbase 6” shorter than the GTO. At 6 foot tall, Hoare would struggle to fold his large frame inside a genuine GTO, so his shorter example would need to account for this.

    Hoare's long-time racing mechanic Ernie Ransley removed the single seater body-work from the Ferrari, which, fortunately, was kept and stored. Ransley then set about the task of converting the steering from central-steer to right hand drive, for the local NZ roads.

    Hec Green, a very clever New Zealand race car designer, was given the job of building the tubular framework on which the body could be shaped and mounted. The frame-work itself was a work of art, as it had to follow the exact contours of the curvaceous GTO lines. Once that was fitted to the chassis, the car was sent to a local coach-building firm, G. B. McWhinnie and Co, where Reg Hodder, a metal craftsman with over 40 years experience, shaped the body from sheets of16 gauge aluminium, over a 9 week period. G. B. McWhinnie and Co also applied the Ferrari red paint work.

    Once the bodywork was completed, the Ferrari was sent to 18 year old George Lee, who crafted the interior, which included semi-reclining bucket seats, and fully upholstered door cards, dashboard top, and transmission tunnel, all covered in leathercloth. Curiously, all the instrument gauges were mounted on the left side of the dashboard, the opposite to where the driver sat.

    From most angles, the Hoare 256 closely resembled a genuine GTO. From a side profile, the shorter wheelbase was more pronounced with the cabin side windows being extremely short, but overall, this was an extremely high quality conversion, and all New Zealand made. Indeed, this was part of Hoare's motivation for converting the 256, to showcase New Zealand craftsmanship.

    All the 256 running gear was retained, as well as the wheels, brakes, suspension, steering wheel, and even the clear perspex cover on the bonnet, that housed the 12 gleaming trumpets of the six Weber carbs.

    Weighing in at around 700kg, the Hoare Ferrari was around 200kg lighter than a genuine GTO, had around 30hp more, and with its independent rear suspension, was considered to be the fastest fully equipped road going Ferrari in the world, even by Enzo Ferrari.

    Hoare enjoyed the Ferrari for a few years until his death, at which point it was purchased by Logan Fow, who took part in a number of club racing events and standing sprints, recording a 13.9 for the quarter mile. It was later owned by Donald McDonald, who attempted to break the 3.0 litre New Zealand land speed record in 1969, coming up just short with 144mph (233kph) and 155mph (249.6khp).

    The Ferrari was eventually purchased by Neil Corner, along with all the original 256 bodywork, and restored back to its Tasman guise by Crosthwaite and Gardiner. The only original item that couldn't be used in the restoration was the perspex carburettor cover, which had discoloured with time.

  2. #2
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    Very thoroughly researched story, Steve
    But you've fallen into one trap...
    Pat Hoare didn't stop racing the single-seater because of any change of formula. The last season he raced it was 1962, and the new limit didn't come in till 1964.
    After 1962, he knew he'd need a rear-engined car to remain competitive, but when Ferrari could not, in the end, supply one, he decided to retire from racing.
    He tried to sell the front-engined single-seater but there were no takers. It was then that he decided to convert it to a road car
    Also, Don Macdonald didn't own the car - the record attempt was while it was still in Logan Fow's ownership

  3. #3
    Thanks for your input David, fantastic to have you on board. I have to admit I relied on Graham Vercoe's book (The Golden Era...) and its explanation in regards to the 2.7 litre engine capacity being introduced for the 62/63 season. Do you know what became of the GTO bodywork following the cars restoration in the UK? Did the Corners keep it?

  4. #4
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    I believe the GT body was removed before the car left NZ, and still exists somewhere. Just where, I don't know

  5. #5
    Well that is interesting David. I wonder if it'll ever surface. Here is a photo I took of the car at Silverstone back in the '90s.

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  6. #6

    David Manton

    Hi Steve,
    Good to see the article on Pat Hoare's GTO conversion. There are several incorrect points in it, one being Logan Fow buying the car on Pat's death. Logan purchased the car in 1967...three years before Pat died. There's a book coming out soon on the story of Pat Hoare and Enzo Ferrari.

  7. #7
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    Pretty sure that's a different car in your photo, Steve
    Bloke in the overalls is Tony Merrick, who at that time was looking after a couple of later-built V6 replicas. Have to confess I don't recognise the helmeted figure, but it's not Neil Corner or his son, who were the ex-Hoare car's only drivers in the '90s
    It's the right model, though...

    Later: I note you mentioned in another thread that you were at the 1993 Silverstone Festival. The Corner car was the only Dino entered at that meeting. This means (a) you were there more than one year, (b) your photo was taken at a pre-event test-day, (c) the Merrick car was a late entry, or (d) I'm talking through a hole in my hat
    Last edited by David McKinney; 04-26-2011 at 06:50 PM. Reason: Later information to hand

  8. #8
    Yes well spotted David. You are correct. I had the photo amongst several others I'd taken at the event, in which the Corner Ferrari was competing. The obvious differences are the height of the perspex cover on the bonnet, the height of the windshield, and the mirrors, which on the Corner car are red. Well spotted. The Dino pictured above was driven during the lunchtime displays, and yes thats Tony Merrick next to it.

  9. #9
    During the 1960's I was an avid reader of "Motorman" and purchased a number of 6x8 black and white photographs from Jack Inwood that I had seen in the magazine [still got all the mags too]
    Here's a Jack Inwood image of Pat Hoare's Ferrari as fabricated by Ferris de Joux

    Name:  File0001 copy.jpg
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  10. #10
    Thats fantastic Nigel! The car wasn't to everyones liking. Some thought it was pretty ugly. It looks good from that angle though. Just proves what a great photographer Jack Inwood was.

  11. #11
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    But the body wasn't made by Ferris de Joux, Nigel

    The De Joux-bodied Ferrari was the ex-Roycroft 4.5-litre car

  12. #12
    Ok, I stand corrected. I don't know why but I've always thought it was built by de Joux

  13. #13
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    I remember when Logan had the car in Hamilton. It didnt seem to come out much...the odd standing sprint and a few car shows. Logan was a bit of a character round the town. I think his family had a few bob which maybe enabled Logan to buy the car. He was a great kite-flying enthusiast and was seen on occasion taking his budgie for a walk, in its cage, across the railway bridge in Hamilton, with Logan chatting away to it!!!!!!!!!I kid you not. Amazing car though......actually I wished it had been left as a GTO....sort of a one off. There are plenty of single seaters, real and rep, around. Shame.

  14. #14
    I tend to agree Gerald, its a shame it had to be returned to its GP guise in some respects, though I can understand why this was done. Some people thought the Hoare 250GTO was ugly. It certainly has a few design compromises because of the shorter wheelbase and the need to fit Pat Hoare's tall frame inside it somehow, but its hard to see how they could have done any better.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AMCO72 View Post
    .....actually I wished it had been left as a GTO....sort of a one off. There are plenty of single seaters, real and rep, around. Shame.
    There are now, but when Neil Corner bought it, it was the only front-engined Dino Ferrari single-seater in existence

  16. #16
    Then again, having seen it race in the hands of Nigel Corner, himself a bloody good pedaller, and with that howling V12, it makes for an amazing car in its current guise. Not to mention, a memorable one.

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    Funny you should mention that, Steve. I saw Neil's first race in it (Long Beach 1980) and on countless occasions in Europe in later years. Somehow the sound was never quite as I remembered it - until he took it to Spa one year. Don't know what the difference was, but that one time I was instantly transported back to 1961-62

  18. #18
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    As we don't have a dedicated books thread, this might be a suitable place to mention that Enzo Ferrari's Secret War, by modest RS member David Manton, is now available. It has a lot about Pat Hoare and the GTO conversion, amidst lots of other fascinating revelations
    Details at http://www.ferrarisecretwar.com/buy.html

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by David McKinney View Post
    Funny you should mention that, Steve. I saw Neil's first race in it (Long Beach 1980) and on countless occasions in Europe in later years. Somehow the sound was never quite as I remembered it - until he took it to Spa one year. Don't know what the difference was, but that one time I was instantly transported back to 1961-62
    Did you ever find out why it sounded different David?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by David McKinney View Post
    As we don't have a dedicated books thread, this might be a suitable place to mention that Enzo Ferrari's Secret War, by modest RS member David Manton, is now available. It has a lot about Pat Hoare and the GTO conversion, amidst lots of other fascinating revelations
    Details at http://www.ferrarisecretwar.com/buy.html
    David, perhaps we need a dedicated books thread. I'd love to hear feedback on what others have read, and what their thoughts are. David Manton's book sounds fantastic. David Manton (or David McKinney), please feel free to start a thread on this book. I'm sure people on here would be very interested to know more.

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