A while ago, some magazine published that there were more Ferrari vehicles registered in Orange County, California than in all of Italy. It furthered the topic with the information that Los Angeles, California was home to more Ferraris than all of Europe, and that California on the whole was home to more Ferraris than anywhere in the world.
Maintaining them is a privilege for a rare few number of skilled technicians, many of whom have spent decades learning the craft, acquiring knowledge, and establishing relationships. In spite of the vastness of the numbers, the fact is the Ferrari world is exceedingly small and many people know one another. A misstep could be disastrous for a reputation, both professionally and personally. GTO Engineering, headquartered in London, England has long held an esteemed reputation in the tiny community and recently set down roots in the world of the Prancing Horse, Los Angeles, California.
An artisan workshop specializing in classic Ferrari automobiles, GTO Engineering was started in the early 1980s by Mark Lyon, a Ferrari master mechanic and enthusiast. The shop became legendary in the Ferrari world for their fabulous restorations and vintage race car preparation. They specialty was, and still is, the Enzo-era of Ferrari, and they have a full staff of marque experts intimately knowledgeable of every facet of Ferrari drivetrain and coachwork.
Just four months ago, GTO Engineering opened their new Los Angeles-based operation to service the American-based Ferrari clientele. Under the guidance of Steve Kittrell, operations manager, the scope of services for the new GTO Engineering location will closely parallel that of the London location. But what separates GTO Engineering from the other Ferrari specialists, and what makes them so renowned and respected? There are really five basic reasons: they use old world methods (i.e. sandcasting) to reproduce parts for the vintage Ferrari V12 engines; they own the OEM radiator company that directly supplied parts to Ferrari during the Enzo era; they have worldwide source connections for both NOS parts and specialized fabrication experts that they have nurtured and developed for over 35 years; they have longterm master technicians who take immense pride in each of their respective areas of expertise; and, they have the highest standards of quality.
As the Garage Style Magazine staff toured the Los Angeles facility, there were a number of interesting projects underway. A 1959 Ferrari LWB California Spider with a six Weber carburetor setup was getting properly synchronized and adjusted, a Ferrari 250 PF Cabriolet was being inspected and documented for “Classiche” certification, and a prototype Ford GT Roadster (1 of 2 built) was undergoing the rebuild of its Collotti transaxle. There were a number of other classic Italian cars awaiting service such as a Ferrari 250 GT SWB, a Lusso, a 330 GTS, a 512 Berlinetta Boxer, and a Lamborghini Countach. Car enthusiasts in general don’t just trust their vehicles to anyone, let alone exquisite exotics such as these. There must be something about GTO Engineering in Los Angeles that’s right, and while a lot of it has to do with the company culture itself and Steve Kittrell, Eric Sander, master technician, has a lot to do with the relationships. Having spent over 25 years working on European exotics, specifically Italian cars, there’s little he hasn’t seen and few he hasn’t known in the business and hobby.
GTO Engineering also has an on-site boutique that sells unique Ferrari gifts such as ear rings that are shaped to replicate a Borrani Wire Wheel Knock Offs, wallets that have the same seat pleat pattern of a 275 GTB (in the factory correct interior colors and made with Schedoni leather), and a wide variety of equally as
interesting items. All of the gifts are made to the same exacting quality standard that one would expect from GTO Engineering.
Another interesting facet of GTO Engineering is the cross pollination between the London and Los Angeles locations. Specialized technicians are “traded” between locations when the need arises ensuring quality control, accountability, and the passing of tribal knowledge among the skilled work staff. Owner Mark Lyon is absolutely committed to the highest performance standards and has a “hands on” management approach at both locations.
The manta of GTO Engineering is best articulated by Steve Kittrell, “We don’t strive to be the biggest classic Ferrari care center;we strive to be the best.” GSM
1450 LaCienega Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90035