It turns out that the car was identified as chassis #3589, a former racer that was left outside to rot for almost 15 years after it’s short, but successful 2 year competition run.
#3589 was originally built as a U.K. specification car with right hand drive and made it’s competitive debut fittingly at the Goodwood racetrack in England. The victorious car stacked up 1st through 3rd place finishes throughout it’s competition run from April to September of ’62 with race driver Mike Parkes behind the wheel.
Then in December of that same year it made it’s way over to the Bahamas for a few races with Innes Ireland behind the wheel before being entered in the ’63 24 Hours of Daytona. At that grueling race it retired early but went on to land a 6th overall and 3rd in class with Innes, along with Richie Ginther piloting it at that year’s 12 Hours of Sebring.
Since retired race cars were considered almost disposable back in those days, it’s then owner, Tom O’Connor donated it to Victoria High School in Texas. They used it in parades and shows but the cost of keeping it gassed up was too much for their small education budget to handle or justify, so they accepted a sealed bid offer of $6,500 for it in 1972 by a Joe Korton.
Joe is the (travesty of a) person who we can hold responsible for letting #3589 languish outside for 15 years, exposed to the elements and sitting on top of the trailer he brought it home on from the Texas high school back in ’72.
Many people tried to convince Mr. Korton to sell it to them during that time, as he made no attempts to hide if from plain view on his property. In fact, when Innes Ireland learned of the car and it’s state of disrepair, he made an attempt in person himself to buy it, only to be turned down but promised to be the first to be offered the vehicle if/when he decided to sell. Although the car was now wearing a dull shade of poorly painted red when Innes saw it, he was still able to identify it as the car he once did race by the serial number and the 1962 Nassau scrutineer’s stamp that it still wore on the inside of it’s windshield. Luckily, at the least, that day Innes was able to convince Joe to put it under some sort of shelter to help slow down its speedy aging process, a small victory in and of itself. From 1972 until 1986, #3589 sat at that property until the stalking of a Frank Gallogly finally took it’s toll and he was able to convince Joe Korton to sell the GTO to him in a period just pre-dating the market’s bubble burst.
Gallogly held onto it for about two years until it was then passed onto a family in Switzerland, who had 3589 fully restored in 1988 for display at the 1990 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance.
Sportgarage Leirer in Stein, Switzerland together with the support of the Ferrari factory were commissioned to bring the car back to it’s former glory. They ended up creating a completely new body for it identical to the original because they found that if they were to reuse it’s original aluminum skin, a large portion of it would have had to have been completely replaced.
So, instead of doing that they recreated a completely new identical body for it and saved the original for use as an unpainted art display that shows off all of the original hammer marks from when it was first built at Carrozzeria Scaglietti.
While some have labeled this new body a “replica”, we at CarBuildIndex applaud the fact that an original body was saved and left unpainted so that everybody can appreciate viewing how the original craftsmen built these cars back in the day. Otherwise, all of these marking would be lost under coats and coats of lacquered paint, which would have been a downright shame. One other car that immediately comes to mind that I personally feel should have been left unpainted was the 1963 Jaguar E Type Low Drag Lightweight Restoration, but I digress.
Sometime before his passing in 1993, Innes Ireland was fortunately given the opportunity to be reunited with 3589, the very race car that he drove in competition back in 1962 and 1963, and he wrote about it in a story in Road & Track that was reprinted HERE. Overall, an unbelievable story of a remarkable race car and legendary driver.