GTO Engineering Squalo: retro sports car interior revealed in sketches

GTO Engineering has tried to capture the essence of a classic sports car interior, shunning infotainment screens for dials and solid switchgear


GTO Engineering has released the first interior images of its upcoming V12-engined Ferrari 250 GTO-inspired sports car. Called the Squalo, it’ll make its debut in 2023

The images are just sketches for the time being, but it’s clear that the Squalo’s cabin will feature the same yesteryear design language as its exterior. Key features include classic fixed-back bucket seats, a wood-rimmed steering wheel and an H-gate manual gear shifter, which is set into a leather-trimmed centre console.

There’s also no visible digital screens in the Squalo, as GTO Engineering wants nothing to damage its classic sports car aesthetic. So, there’s analogue gauges, analogue climate controls and a row of toggle switches for items like the hazards and the demister.

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That’s not to say there’s a complete absence of modern conveniences in the Squalo, though – you just have to look hard to find them. Hidden somewhere in behind the interior trim, there’s a modern stereo system, USB ports for smartphone connectivity and an infotainment system, which we assume can be deployed from the dash like a Bentley Continental GT’s.

GTO Engineering has even designed some practical additions, such as storage bins and cup holders, which are also hiding behind panels in the dashboard in an effort to keep the interior clutter-free. In the coming months, the firm will release more sketches which show how all these sneaky extras fit into the cabin.

The company’s managing director and founder, Mark Lyon, said: “Squalo drivers will spend more time inside the car than looking at it from the outside, so it was vital to us that we not only listened to our customers but also drew on our experience of driving sports cars to focus on what’s important within the cabin: simplicity and driver engagement.”

GTO Engineering Squalo: engine and drivetrain

GTO Engineering recently confirmed that the Squalo will be powered by an in-house developed, naturally aspirated, quad cam 4.0-litre V12 engine, which will rev to 10,000rpm. The firm is also targeting an output of 460bhp and a total weight of less than 165kg – or, more than 10kg less than the original Ferrari 250 GTO’s unit.

Like the engine in the classic Ferrari racer, GTO Engineering’s V12 will have carburetors rather than modern fuel injection, and it’ll be mated to a manual gearbox. However, the unit will sit lower down and further back in the Squalo’s chassis than it did in the 250 GTO, for better weight distribution. The company is targeting a 55/45 split across the axles, and has pledged that the finished car will tip the scales at less than 1,000kg.

Despite the similarities to the 4.0-litre V12 engine in the Ferrari 250 GTO, Mark Lyon was quick to dismiss any claims that his company’s new engine is nothing more than a quick rehash of the original Ferrari unit.

“People often ask us what the similarities are between Squalo and any 250-series car, and it’s easier to say this: there are none. There aren’t any parts that are shared between the two [Squalo and any 250-series model], and one key case study for that is the engine.

“We know most V12 Ferraris inside out, and recently weighed a 1960 4.0-litre V12 engine; it was 176kg as a complete unit with the starter motor, oil and oil filler tubes too. That’s so much lighter than a modern V12, and we know we can do even better with our knowledge as well as modern advancements and techniques.

“Every part and configuration on our quad-cam V12 has had a complete engineering re-focus to ensure our engine for Squalo is the very best it can be.”

GTO Engineering Squalo: design

GTO Engineering was founded in 1991 as a specialist Ferrari restorer and servicer, so it should come as no surprise that the firm’s first attempt at a purpose-built car draws heavy inspiration from what’s arguably the most iconic Ferrari of all time – the 1962 250 GTO.

Although it looks like an extensive restomod, GTO Engineering stresses that the Squalo is all-new from the ground up. Along with the all-new engine, the company’s design department recently signed off the car’s bespoke bodywork, meaning all the elements you can see in the firm’s official images will make their way onto the production car.

The triple bonnet vents, quad-exit exhaust system and aggressive vents in the quarter panels are all clear nods to the project’s muse. However, they’ve been augmented with a few modern touches, such as LED headlamps and fresh 18-inch alloy wheels, which have been styled to look like a set of period racing steelies.

GTO Engineering has been taking orders for the Squalo for the past few months, with the first customer deliveries scheduled for 2023. A final price for the car is yet to be confirmed, although it should be significantly cheaper than buying an original Ferrari 250 GTO. An example that went to auction back in 2018 changed hands for an eye-watering £52 million.

Check out our run-down of the greatest Ferraris ever by clicking here

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