It's said that when a car becomes known universally by just part of its name, then it's famous, iconic even.
Silver Ghost, Cobra, Veyron – just 3 examples of this and cars which have all played their part in the history of the motorcar. From racing to speed, to price and refinement, there are many cars which have become woven into the fabric of the motoring world.
One of the most famous of all of these cars is known by just 3 letters – G, T and O.
Now if you're a hardcore fan of American muscle cars of the 60's and 70's, this refers to a series of cars made by Pontiac which sat the heart of this amazing genre and we'd agree that it's hard not to be swayed by anything made in Detroit at this time.
But back to our subject and the GTO we're referring to was made by Ferrari and has become one of, if not the most, famous cars ever made.
With examples changing hands for sums reported to be north of £50 million, it's also one of the most expensive.
But how did it all start? And is it easy to insure such an incredible and valuable machine?
Lockton's own tale began at around the same time that the legendary GTO was introduced and whilst we can't claim multiple world F1 titles, our own history is equally as interesting with many parallels to the legendary Italian sports car maker and its equally renowned founder.
Our story starts in 1962. Ferrari launched their latest sports car at the pre-season press conference alongside their 156 Formula 1 car. Designed for the newly launched World Sports Car series, it had to be based on a production car.
Ferrari used their 250 series as a base chassis and development was overseen initially by Giotto Bizzarrini and completed by Sergio Scaglietti and Mauro Forghieri, who in later years guided Ferrari to 4 F1 constructor's championships.
To comply with the series regulations, the racing cars had to be homologated – this meant that the cars had to be based on a production model. Ferrari designated the car the GTO – an abbreviation of Gran Turismo Omolagto (Grand Touring Homologated) and the legend was born.
A total of 39 cars were built. Legend has it that to satisfy the homologation rules, the 39 cars were shuffled around during FIA inspection to meet the required 100 minimum but the truth is that the rules allowed for the volume of preceding 250 models (including the GT SWB) to be included.
The original sale price was around $US18,000 – approximately 3 times the price of a Jaguar E Type of the same vintage. The average price of an American family home was slightly higher and the average annual wage in the US was just over $US4,000.
At the same, a young man named Jack Lockton was studying economics at the University of Missouri. He graduated in 1964 and began working as an insurance underwriter.
By this point, the GTO had established itself as a race winner. Ferrari won the World Sports Car series in 1962, 1963 and 1964 and the GTO became the last front engine Ferrari to be this dominant.
In 1966, Jack founded Lockton Insurance. His focus was remarkably similar to that of Enzo Ferrari – unwavering and relentless. In Mr Ferrari's case, it was to build racing cars which he could sell to his carefully chosen customers. For Jack, it was about building a business based on the very best client service and creating an atmosphere which attracted the brightest talent in the industry to join him.
The GTO's factory racing career was all but over by this point with privately owned, run and driven cars continuing to compete and many being used as road cars.
Fast forward to the 1970's and Lockton continued to grow and their pool of talent from the US insurance industry was expanding rapidly. Jack's Brother David joined the business in 1976 and remains the chairman today.
The focus on clients has never wavered for Lockton and David continues to look after a portfolio of clients – a trend that is encouraged across the length and breadth of the business.
By this point, the 250 GTO had begun to cement its legacy too and was already accepted as being a highly collectable motor car. This was in stark contrast to the immediate aftermath of its racing career where cars were simply regarded as being used racing cars with nominal value – a view which seems scarcely believable today.
Cars changed hands for a few thousand pounds although it is worth mentioning that this was still the equivalent of the price of a small family house even then!
Prices ranged from around $US12,000 at the start of the decade to just under $US200,000 by 1980.
By the end of the decade, Lockton had opened its second office in Denver. Using a model that has provided continual success, locally based talent was hired to generate growth amongst businesses and people in the area.
During the 1980's, the Ferrari GTO's reputation as a true collector's car strengthened with values steadily climbing and towards the end of the decade that produced some unforgettable music and fashion, not to mention incredible cars and of course excess in equal measure, values sat at around the £15million level.
In 1984, Ferrari added the legendary GTO designation to the first car in over 20 years, with the 288 GTO. Visually similar to the popular 308 series, this car, much like its predecessor, featured technology considered to be cutting edge, including composite materials and the use of turbocharging for its mid-mounted V8 engine. Developed once again for motorsport and homologated for road use, only 272 were made and owners included many racing drivers of the period.
Originally listed at around $US90,000, examples routinely sell for close to $US3,000,000.
The classic car market crashed heavily as the 80's became the 90's and values slumped to as low as £2-3million and in 1988 Enzo Ferrari died at the age of 90, leaving behind a true legacy – much like his cars, he became known simply by his first name, his surname having been undoubtedly cemented in automotive history forever.
As the millennium approached, values of collectable classic cars had recovered and Ferrari in particular saw significant increases, as classic cars began to become acknowledged as sound financial investments and a reliable vehicle into which funds could be placed for a solid return.
The new decade saw Ferrari surge into a stunning return to form in their racing activities thanks to Messrs Schumacher, Brawn, Todt and Byrne – during the 00's they won a staggering 6 consecutive constructors' titles and added 2 more in 2007 & 2008.
Lockton's world was also moving at a similarly ferocious pace and their acquisition in 2006 of Alexander Forbes made them the largest private owned insurance broker in the world. This remains the case today and is something we remain incredibly proud of.
Classic car insurance was part of this process as Lockton acquired the Aston Martin and Citroen Owners Club insurance schemes run by Forbes for many years.
As the noughties moved on, value of classic cars continued to rise steadily, even during the global financial crisis of 2008. Celebrity ownership of numerous amazing cars (and the occasional scrape) started to become more widely reported. Interest in classic cars gained a new audience.
2008 also saw Lockton develop and strengthen its classic and specialist motor insurance business with the launch of its Ferrari Owners Club insurance scheme; Lockton remain the only insurance broker in the UK to be recognised by the club as an insurance partner.
Many 250 GTO sales were, understandably, private and precise figures are the subject of plenty of speculation but it is widely believed that one example changed hands for just over $US40million as the decade drew to a close.
2010 saw Lockton broaden the appeal of its classic motor insurance product with Chubb and 2 years later expand this to appeal to much larger collections of cars, an offering designed to simplify the challenges many collectors faced with their insurance.
2010 also saw the GTO badge reappear on another Ferrari – this time the 599 GTO. Launched with over 670hp from its traditional front-mounted V12 motor and once again featuring some styling features from the original, it continues to be a sought after modern classic with examples changing hands for almost twice the original €320,000 list price.
In 2013, a GTO was reportedly sold for $US52,000,000 and in the same year Lockton launched Lockton Private Clients, a bespoke division created solely to handle every aspect of a wealthy individual's portfolio – from cars, to houses, jewellery and fine art plus marine and aviation. The approach was and remains client-centric, focused and pragmatic.
Notable Lockton car club insurance launches in subsequent years included the following.
- 2014 Lamborghini Club UK and Maserati Club UK
- 2015 Porsche Club GB
- 2017 Bentley Drivers Club
- 2019 Jaguar Enthusiasts Club
Classic car values have continued to rise and the most recent reported sale of a 250 GTO was at the $US70,000,000 mark in 2018.
Lockton's classic car insurance business has also continued to grow with the inclusion of internationally based car collections and, in 2019, the launch of a new bespoke and exclusive policy wording via Axa.
Our sponsorship of Salon Prive and Veloce enables us to not only meet the owners of fantastic cars but to see them both on display on the concours lawns.
Insuring valuable classic cars is what we do. And we're very good at doing it. We take the complexity away from an expensive car collection and we make the complex simple. We understand that car collectors are busy people so we make life easy.
So this is where our story ends. Or does it?
Lockton has continued to grow. Our focus remains unchanged, our fierce commitment to our clients will never falter, we will continue to attract the brightest talent to deliver innovation and service to our customers and most importantly, we will remain independent.
Global car collections are part of our future focus and we have the ability to arrange cover for cars kept at multiple locations in different continents. Nothing is too big or complicated.
And the 250 GTO? It remains for many the ultimate classic car. It sits in many enthusiasts' Top 10's and remains for most of us a beguiling, unobtainable and almost mythical beauty. Will we see one sell for $100million? We can't answer that but if it ever happens, Lockton will be able to cover it!