A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO has become the most expensive car sold at auction after changing owners for a whopping $38,115,000 at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Auction in Carmel, California. The classic Prancing Horse surpassed the auction record set by a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula One race car that sold for $30 million at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed Auction.
Only 39 of these Ferraris were built in the 1960s, with many of them fetching millions of dollars during either public auctions or private sales. One example that was owned by Stirling Moss changed hands for $35 million in 2012, while another 250 GTO sold for $52 million in 2013. Both were sold privately.
Powered by a 3.0-liter, V-12 engine, the 250 GTO shown above — chassis and engine number 3851GT — was driven to a second-place overall finish in the 1962 Tour de France by Jo Schlesser and Henry Oreiller. More a maintained car than a restored one, the 3851GT has been active all its 54-year-long life, being raced in many classic motorsport events. It’s one of the most often raced 250 GTOs and it has been in a single family ownership for the past 49 years. This pretty much explains the huge price tag, doesn’t it?
The $38-million 250 GTO wasn’t the only Ferrari to fetch big bucks at Bonhams’ sale in California. Ten other Italian sports and race cars crossed the block for a combined total of $65.9 million. The bundle included a 1962 250 GT SWB Speciale that sold for $6.8 million, a 1953 250 Mille Miglia Berlinetta driven by Phil Hill for $7.2 million, and a 1978 312 T3 Formula One car for $2.3 million.
Click past the jump to read about the Ferrari 250 GTO
Why It Matters
It is widely known that classic Ferraris are more precious than gold nowdays, but it seems the 250, no matter the iteration, keeps gaining value with each year. The $38 million bid shouldn’t surprise you, initial estimates claimed this 250 GTO would sell for around $50 million. Although it’s still $12 million short, we have a hunch a 250 GTO will fetch at least $50 million within the next couple of years. You might as well stop taking your hard-earned money to the bank and start investing in classic Ferraris. It certainly pays off.
Officially known as the Ferrari 250 GT Omologato, the 250 GTO was developed to race the 3-liter class of the FIA GT Championship series. Built in 39 examples, most of them fitted with 3.0-liter, V-12 engines, the GTO won the world title for three consecutive years between 1962 and 1964.
Raced between 1962 and 1968, the Ferrari 250 GTO scored 57 overall wins and 77 additional class wins. Besides being a successful race car , the 250 GTO is also regarded as one of the most beautiful Ferraris ever created. It is also the most recognizable classic Ferrari to come out of Maranello, which explains the insane publicity each example benefits while being listed for auction.
Gallery Ferrari 250 GTO
Carmel, California – Thursday, 14 August 2014 – The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta has become the most valuable car in history to be sold at auction when it realized $38,115,000 (£22,843,633 or €28,528,626) moments ago at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Auction in Carmel, California.
Surpassing the current record of the most valuable car sold at auction, which was also set by Bonhams with the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 R F1 Racer that sold for $30-million at Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed Auction last year, the Ferrari GTO had been the subject of intense international interest.
Bidders from around the world were in attendance in the audience and on the telephones. The auction pavilion was filled to total capacity with overflow on the lawns watching the happenings live on the numerous television screens. After the start of a passionate bidding war that at times resembled a tennis match, complete with moments of silence interrupted by cheers, the audience erupted in applause when the fall of the gavel confirmed the final price.
Says Robert Brooks, Chairman of Bonhams, "It’s been a genuine privilege to represent this outstanding car and we are absolutely delighted with today’s results. We’ve always maintained that we would exceed the current world record and that the car would bring between $30-$40-million and today the GTO did just that."
Demonstrating the confidence in the collector car market and the strength of the Ferrari brand, today’s new world record also reaffirms Bonhams’ position as one of the world’s leading auctioneers of rare and important motorcars.
Other cars from the very special Maranello Rosso Collection of ten important Ferraris also sold extremely well for a combined total $65,945,000 (£39,522,440 or €49,359,559).
Tomorrow promises to be another extraordinary day as Bonhams hosts the second day of its two-day auction at Quail Lodge. Another 107 exquisite automobiles of numerous British, European and American makes and models and every vintage will cross the auction block starting at 11:00am local time. Complete details can be found atBonhams.com/Quail.