Ferrari 250 GTO Is Legally a Work of Art and Can’t Be Copied, Says Italy

It’s the first time a court in the country bestowed the honor on a car

Ferrari 250 GTO Legally a Work of Art
This 250 GTO is the most expensive car sold at auction.
Patrick Ernzen © 2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's
By Alex Lauer / June 27, 2019 2:36 pm

Can’t convince your significant other that classic cars are a good investment? Take up art collecting instead. The market is booming, plus it turns out that cars actually can be classified as art.

At least that’s the case in Italy, where a court officially recognized the Ferrari 250 GTO, known among collectors as the Holy Grail of classic cars, as a work of art — elevating it alongside the country’s other masterpieces by Michelangelo and Caravaggio. 

As The Telegraph writes, this is “an unprecedented judgment that will protect [the car] from reproductions and imitations.” Those reproductions are the reason this judgement was handed down in the first place. After a company in Modena, Italy planned “to produce 250 GTO replicas,” Ferrari petitioned for design and intellectual property rights, and the commercial tribunal sided with the marque. 

While the practice of copying the bodies of classic cars isn’t new, there is a big difference between officially-licensed secondhand models and unauthorized versions. When it comes to the latter, there’s arguably no car more worth protecting than the 250 GTO. 

Not only does it have an estimable racing pedigree and one of the most recognizable shapes in automotive history, but only 36 were made during the 1962 to 1964 production. If you look at the list of most expensive cars sold at auction, separate 250 GTOs hold the top two spots. The most expensive sold for over $48M last August.

According to a Ferrari spokesperson who spoke to The Daily Telegraph, “It’s the first time in Italy that a car has been recognised as a work of art.” Hopefully it’s not the last.

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