Bourgogne, France, 9 – 13 September 2002
The fortieth anniversary of the legendary 250 GTO was celebrated by a
number of owners at a private gathering in the Bourgogne region of
France, between 9 – 13 September. A total of twenty three examples took
part, almost two thirds of the total production, coming from as far away as
the USA and Japan. Of all the 250 GTO anniversary meetings held over the
years, this must have been the most comprehensive gathering to date. The
assembly included the unique 330 LM berlinetta style bodied example,
chassis # 4713GT, two of three ’64 style bodied examples, three of the four
’64 re-bodied cars and one of the three 4 litre engined models.
The event commenced with a pre-rally gala dinner at the Chateau de
Saran, with Jean Todt as guest of honour on Sunday evening 8 September.
The first taste of what was maybe a surfeit of haute cuisine and fine vintage
wines, not forgetting host Moet & Chandon’s champagne.
Whereas previous anniversary gatherings have been tours with overnight
halts, this one was organised with a single base for the whole event, with
drives out on minor roads deep into the scenic Bourgogne countryside and
beyond to the Morvan and Jura regions, naturally taking lunch at a tasteful
chateau en route to replenish the inner needs, with a sumptuous dinner at
an exclusive retreat in the evening to reflect on the day’s events. The
chosen base was the Chateau de Gilly close to the famed Clos Vougeot,
just north of Nuits St Georges in the heart of the wine growing region. This
magnificent Chateau-Hotel is a member of the ”Grande Etapes Francaise”
chain, and offers high quality accommodation in a beautiful quiet setting,
hidden away on the edge of the village of Gilly les Citeaux.
The ”day trips” were of varying length in terms of mileage, with the longest
being a drive to Vezelay on the Tuesday and the Jura region on Friday.
Entrants also had the opportunity to stretch the legs of their steeds at the
Dijon-Prennois circuit on the Wednesday morning, free from the
constraints of speed limits and other traffic. Unfortunately the group had
lost one of its number by this time, as an errant French driver hadn’t given
priority to the right, leaving Jon and Mary Shirley’s car, chassis # 3729GT,
with a sadly deranged nose and possible suspension damage on
Tuesday morning. Although it was taped up and driven to the lunch halt at
the Chateau de Bazoches, it was decided to be prudent and not risk a
breakage, thus it was trailered back to the Chateau hors de combat.
Fortunately this was the only casualty during the whole event, with three
examples appearing out on track at the Le Mans Classic meeting a week
250 GTO Models In Attendance