Ferrarri 250 GTO - the autobiography of 4153 GT - book reviews

Auto Italia, December 2016

 

'Author Keith Bluemel is a regular contributor to Auto Italia and can always be relied upon to come up with concise and accurate detail. He has written several reference books on Ferrari, but this one is different as it records the story of a particular car – and it is an accomplished work.

'The fascinating life of 4153 GT, from its construction to the present day is outlined in exhaustive detail. Supporting the meticulously researched text is a wealth of period photography sourced from archives and collections across the world, together with a gallery of high quality modern images showing this wonderful car as it is today,now back in the colours worn on its race debut at Le Mans in 1963.

'Although the title suggests that the 320 pages are all about 4153 GT, the content is much broader than that. It’s also about sister car 5111 GT, the drivers, the teams associated with 250 GTOs during their 1960s heyday, and the subsequent Ferrari collectors. Beautifully written and produced.'

 

Motorsport, February 2017

'This fine series would not be complete without one of the very few cars that deserves the overused epithet 'icon'. The Ferrari 250 GTO is exactly that – more than a car, a symbol of automotive greatness. Beautiful, fast, and rare, a GTO is the prime target for any collection with a limitless budget – but unlike some halo cars, it deserves adulation. Star of this 'autobiography' is 4153GT, the car raced in period by Lucien Bianchi with victory on the 1964 Tour de France its chief rosette, though fourth overall at Le Mans is worth crowing about. As per previous volumes, opening chapters outline the era, the rivals and the model's evolution before our subject's debut – which as Bluemel says ‘was right in the middle of Ferrari's golden period at Le Mans’…’Handsome presentation extends to lavish illustrations including maps and posters, which makes £60 (or less) a very fair price... Another fine production from Porter.’ CC

 

Auto Express, January 2017

‘Possibly the most beautiful book yet in this great series, this is the story of just a single example of one of Ferrari’s most iconic cars. It’s well written and could take pride of place on any coffee table, with page after page of stunning photos. There’s a reason that 250 GTO models break auction records time after time – they’re gorgeous cars, and this is a book that does them justice.’

 

Classic Car Weekly, February 15, by David Brown

‘Keith Bluemel’s homage to 4153 GT is another excellent addition to the Great Cars Series from Porter Press, with a great level of detail to accompany around 300 photos. Epic stuff.’

 

Classic & Sports Car, March 2017

‘It was inevitable that Porter Press’ Great Cars series would get to the Ferrari 250 GTO sooner rather than later, and respected marque authority Keith Bluemel has produced an in-depth look at chassis 4153GT, the 1964 Tour de France winner.’JP

 

Classic Cars, March 2017

‘The full story of a racing, rallying and hillclimbing GTO told for the first time. Terrific sleuthing by Bluemel.’

 

Ferrari magazine, March 2017, by Richard Dredge

‘It simply is not possible to do justice to a book of this calibre, when you have less than half a page in which to do it. However, the fact that prolific Ferrari magazine contributor Keith Bluemel is behind it tells you all you need to know in terms of the standard and accuracy of the writing. What makes this book a complete steal at £60 though, is the wealth of period imagery it contains – the number and quality of photographs is astounding, with the icing on the cake coming from a series of pictures specially commissioned for this book.’

 

Classic Driver, February 28, 2017, by Mark Holman

‘Porter Press’ Great Cars series is now up to its seventh title, each featuring a particular example of a significant car. This one covers the Ferrari 250GTO that had the longest active racing career of any of the 36 made, taking fourth place at Le Mans in its first race and winning the gruelling Tour de France in 1964.

I don’t think I’d appreciated just how tough the Tour de France was in the mid-1960s. It lasted for days, covering about 7,500km with almost no downtime, and incorporated eight circuit races, eight hill climbs and a timed road stage. So to win it was a real achievement. Every one of the car’s events is included in the book and the amount of research – including hundreds of photographs and many interesting sidebars on key people such as Giotto Bizzarrini – is very impressive. Bluemel brings the car’s history right up to date with current owners, the Gläsel family, and includes a portfolio of images of this important car as it looks today.’

 

VSCC Bulletin, spring 2017

‘The latest volume in Porter Press’s excellent ‘Great Cars’ series, of which this is number 7, follows the style set by the previous volumes, using one example of the chosen model to give a detailed history of the particular car but starting with a concise history of the genre.

…’All 250 GTOs are currently priced beyond the pockets of all but the very rich but those of more modest means can enjoy this book at a very reasonable price taking the content and quality into account. Finally the book concludes with a comprehensive index. This book will appeal to those with an interest in fine cars, racing in the sixties and, of course, those who already have the previous six volumes. The cynical amongst readers might see this as a marketing ploy but provided Porter Press keep up the quality and find interesting subjects, this is no hardship at £60 per volume with the so far published volumes having cost a total less than some single, coffee table, picture books of little historical merit. Forthcoming volumes will include some very worthwhile subjects including one or two pre-war cars for members’ delectation. This series of single car autobiographies has certainly established itself as an example to others in terms of choice of subjects, quality and pricing and can again be recommended.’

 

Automobilsport magazine, March 2017

‘Ferrari expert Keith Bluemel tells the story of a GTO with a quite remarkable history. Chassis 4153 GT is famous for winning the Tour de France in 1964 with Bianchi/Berger, but the car also raced at Le Mans, at the Angolan Grand Prix, and even in hillclimbs and rallies. Its full CV is laid out in great detail and accompanied by period images.’

 

B-C-ing-U! website, March 25, 2017

…’All of the car’s drivers, co-drivers and owners have been detailed comprehensively and full-colour photographs of the car, as it is today, conclude a charming story that will provide immense satisfaction to many car enthusiasts. These books are costly but for sheer coffee-table bravado, they cannot be beaten. I rate this one as exceptional.’

 

The Furious Engineer.com, May 2017, by Iain Robertson