After an opening bid of an astounding $35 million, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was hammered sold for $44 million at the RM Sotheby’s auction Saturday night in Monterey, California, setting a world record for the most expensive car ever sold at a public auction. The final price with buyer’s fee is $48.405 million.
Called the Holy Grail of collector cars, this Ferrari is loaded with racing provenance, including drives by legendary racers. It has never been crashed and was presented on the block in immaculate condition.
Chassis 3413 GT is one of just 36 built (plus three subsequent 330 GTOs). The car is considered among the greatest and most beautiful competition machines ever constructed, as well as the most glorious of all Ferraris. Powered by booming 3.0-liter V12 engines, the GTOs were highly successful racers, admired and collected throughout their existence: all 36 examples still exist.
The 250 GTO comes from long-term ownership of well-known collector and vintage-racing enthusiast Greg Whitten, the chairman of Numerix and former chief software architect at Microsoft, where he was an early employee. A video supplied by RM Sotheby’s shows Whitten driving the car on a private race course, accompanied by the spirited music of the high-performance V12 engine, which is original to the car.
Chassis 3413 GT was the third Series 1 GTO produced, with a known history of factory racing exploits and subsequent ownership. After its competition introduction at the 1962 Targa Florio road race, driven by Phil Hill, the GTO went on to claim the 1962 Italian National GT Championship, winning nine of 10 races, and first-in-class victories at the 1963 and 1964 Targa Florio races.
After its racing successes – and this GTO never failed to finish a race – the car was updated with a Series II body created by Sergio Scaglietti while keeping all of its original mechanical parts.
“A rare case and incredible feat for any race car, it retains its original engine, gearbox, and rear axle, as well as its factory Series II body, in which it was clothed by Carrozzeria Scaglietti in 1964,” according to the RM Sotheby’s description.
The sale comes on the heels of a private deal in June for a 1963 250 GTO for a world-record $70 million, making it the most expensive automobile sold in known history – private or otherwise. Chassis 4153 GT was reportedly purchased by an American businessman.
The last time a Ferrari 250 GTO was sold at auction was 2014, when a 1962 example sold for $38.1 million during Bonhams’ sale at the Quail Lodge in Monterey, California, setting the mark for the highest-priced collector car sold at auction.