Au revoir Jess Pourret
Many may lay claim to be a ‘father of the GTO’, but one man more than any other helped to accurately record the history of the Ferrari 250 GT competition cars in general, and the immortal GTO in particular: Jess G Pourret, who died today.
Formerly sales manager for the French Ferrari importer, Pourret’s 1977 work ‘The Ferrari Legend – 250 GT Competition’ brought clarity to a confused market. It was – and very much still is – the bible on the model, the standard to which all ‘chassis number’ tomes aspire. If any reference work ‘made the market’, this surely was it.
But the book was much more than a list of serial numbers and races. It brought the subject alive, principally through a sensational selection of photographs, the Tour de France Automobile and Le Mans 24 Hours in particular. The rivalries between hard-driving 250 GT men such as Gendebien, Mairesse and Abate were described as if it were yesterday. Every crash with a milk float, errant animal, rock or tree was noted; the book spared no detail in accurately recording the fate of every car carrying the glorious title ‘Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione’.
Pourret wrote with passion and from experience, once owning GTO 3607 GT, the car first delivered to Count Volpi. More than that, his name was referenced in every car sale and subsequent book on the subject.
Simon has referred to Jess Pourret as “the Ferrari 250 GT authority sans pareil”. The author’s own copy of the book (above) wears its years of use and abuse with pride.
Pourret dedicated his masterwork 'To Enzo Ferrari; To the men at Maranello; To the Piloti'.
Tonight, we raise a glass to Jess G Pourret.
Photo by Alamy