Enzo Ferrari turned the problem over to the sole authority of Giotto Bizzarrini, the engineer who had tamed the crude 250 GT Berlinetta with steering and suspension revisions in 1957 and then had designed the lightweight SWB version in 1959. Bizzarrini went to work in a tiny area known officially as "Controlli, Collaudie e Sperimentazione." Only Enzo Ferrari, executive Gaetano Florini, Bizzarrini himself and a handful of mechanics were permitted to enter the shop. There were just 2 months before the Coppa Inter Europa, a sports car race held on the Monza circuit on the day before the annual Grand Prix for Formula One cars. It was the most prestigious sports car race in Italy, and the new car was expected to defend the company's honor. Bizzarrini had just five workmen to do the job.
Bizzarrini produced a miracle. First, he made up his mind to build a tin-top Testa Rossa, not just a modified 250 GT SWB. Once again he started with the 3.0-liter V12 from the Testa Rossa, but now he located the powertrain as low and as far back as possible in the proven SWB Berlinetta chassis. This twin-tube ladder frame had been underneath the 250 GT since 1954, complete with the four-link live axle with leaf springs from the 1953 Type 340 Mille Miglia.
When Bizzarrini set about building a body, he first poured over some aerodynamic studies from the University of Pisa's wind tunnel that had been commissioned by Carlo Chiti, Ferrari's chief designer. He also considered the race team's experience with the Testa Rossa TR61. Thanks to the efforts of a panelbeater by the name of Agnani and many high-speed runs on the nearby Milan-Bologna autostrada, a new car slowly evolved.
When Bizzarrini's prototype emerged from its secret shop and began testing for the Coppa Inter Europa, the Italian press was scandalized by its low, protruding nose and high rear deck. They called it La Papera-the Goose. The car didn't compete in the race, and indeed its rough aluminum body was unpainted and marked only by a "T," to designate it as a training car. But Stirling Moss tested it extensively and ultimately ordered one on behalf of his patron, Rob Walker.
When Enzo Ferrari summoned the journalists of the motoring press to Maranello on Feb. 24, 1962, to announce his racing plans for the new season, the 250 GTO was easy to overlook, as the factory courtyard was filled with the company's successor to the mid-engine Formula One car that had won the world championship the year before, plus mid-engine sports prototypes powered by both V6 and V8 engines. Giotto Bizzarrini was not there to see it, however, and neither were chief designer Carlo Chiti, racing manager Romolo Tavoni and virtually all of Ferrari's senior management.
What the Italian newspapers called "The Revolt of the Brains" had turned Ferrari upside-down in November 1961. It began as a simple dispute about the erratic meddling in the affairs of the racing team by Laura Ferrari, still mourning the death of her son Dino in 1956. Then it escalated into an argument about the growing success of the company itself, which had built 441 passenger cars during 1961 and appeared to be on the verge of financial security at last. Enzo Ferrari would tolerate no slight to his authority, even in the name of modern management, and his senior executives all walked away. Most went to begin a new car company bankrolled largely by Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata, a Venetian industrialist for whom the very GTO on display in the factory courtyard had been intended (and would never be delivered).