2008 Vandenbrink 599 GTO
May 24th, 2007-Over the past few years, Michiel van den Brink has been building his reputation around impressive Ferrari designs and a mastery of Photoshop. The most recent of these depict a pair of highly modified images that are the upcoming 599 GTO. They were so well received on Ferrarichat.com that the project has now become reality and three cars are being made.
Almost any devote Ferrari fan would recognize that Vandenbrink's design lends heavily from the original 1962 250 GTO. Michiel's initial sketches take the 599's overall shape and then adds the GTO's fastback profile. Some of the original GTO details are present including the three intake vents above the grill and the swept up Kamm tail at the rear. Probably the most daring and forward thinking aspect of the design is its huge front, double vaned grill. Other details such as the integrated door handle blend well, but might be hard to produce.
Getting the motivation and inspiration to bring the 599 GTO to fruition is the first major step, but now prototyping, extensive testing, manufacturing and optimization will take hold. Hietbrink Coachbuilding in the Netherlands will do most of the grunt work. Like the vintage Ferraris Alwin Hietbrink repairs, the new GTO will be covered in a new aluminum body over the extruded 599 frame. It will also mean replacing the rear underbelly of the car, which gives Michiel some new freedoms, including working with the aerodynamics and rear diffuser. Michiel is also willing to consider a carbon fibre body if desired.
Whether or not these companies can come up with a better 599 is up for debate. Some people have criticized the design for its similarity to TVR, but we can't really be sure of its influences until the aluminum is hand rolled into its final shape.
Another point of contention is the usage of the hallmark GTO moniker to grace a Ferrari that is decidedly unofficial. And if they do get the green light from Ferrari, they still have to produce a superior 599 that lives up to the GTO. Like the 250 SWB Competitzione to the 250 GTO, this would mean less weight, better aerodynamics and a successful racing career.
If Michiel's incredible design sketches are any indication, then his new GTO is a very exciting project and one to look out for in the following months. He plans to sell just five copies, but if we see just one, the world will be a better place.
Story by Richard Owen for Supercars.net