FULL CIRCLE: A HANDS-ON AFFAIR WITH THE FIRST FERRARI 250 GTO By LARRY PERKINS & PETRA PERKINS

Jim Weed

Volume 47 Issue 11

May 28, 2022

Want to go racing at Daytona? Buy a 250 GTO with a bunch of rocket scientists. That's what Larry Perkins did. Years later he was reunited with the car. You must read about his journey.

    I have a sign in my basement bar. Alcohol, because no good story ever began with a salad.


    Larry Perkins and friends were sitting around after a day’s work at NASA having a few beers. This is what happens when you get a bunch of rocket scientists together. Nothing is impossible.


    Put a man on the moon? No problem. All you have to do is solve several million problems and develop the technology to solve those problems.


    Enter a car for the upcoming 1964 Daytona Continental 2000 km race? No problem. There must be fewer problems to solve to accomplish that goal.


    What kind of car should we use? How about a Ferrari GTO? 


    The 250 GTO Perkins found was a two-year-old, well-raced and worn car, that just happened to be for sale at a barely affordable price. Bob Grossman sold the car to Perkins sight unseen.


    After some refurbishment, Perkins and co-driver Bill Eve drove the GTO to Daytona Raceway from NASA central in Cocoa Beach. There was no better way to break in the rebuilt engine.


    Could a privateer do well against factory Ferrari and Cobra teams? When your team has rocket scientists on it, and you have a GTO as your weapon, anything is possible.


    Perkins went on to drive the GTO at Sebring and again at Daytona. After a couple years it was truly a used-up racecar and was sold.


    Perkins life moved onto other pursuits. Automobile racing was put into the background. 


    Years later Perkins, at Monterey, found his car. 250 GTO S/N 3223. The car was being sold and disappeared from the scene.


    Many years after that he was contacted by the new owner and invited to Neenah, Wisconsin, to recall details on the GTO when it raced at Daytona. Wayne Obry was restoring the car to match that particular date and time.


    Perfection requires research and there was no better source than the owner and driver of that race. It was to be displayed at Pebble Beach 2011 with many other GTOs. A GTO reunion.


    Forty-seven years after first racing S/N 3223, Perkins was reunited with “his” car at Pebble Beach. It was to be a fantastic day.


    Life often is full of unusual circumstances, serendipity and coincidences. Larry Perkins’ story of his days racing, his time at NASA, IBM, sailing and love is one you should read.


    Full Circle, A Hands-on Affair with the First Ferrari 250 GTO is well written with interesting stories by others involved. 


    To order, goto: www.fullcircleferrarigto.com  $45.00 from Amazon. You will not be disappointed.