Factory-owned 250 GTO didn't meet its estimate – but still achieved the second-highest auction price ever for a car
By PH Staff / Tuesday, 14 November 2023 / Loading comments
By definition, any Ferrari 250 GTO is special. Its maker only produced 33 Series I cars, and you needed Enzo’s approval to buy one. Its rarity, place in history and – let’s face it – extraordinary beauty, has made it one of the most sought-after objects in the world. So when one comes up for auction it tends to generate a fair bit of buzz. Sufficient in this case for the car to feature as part of Sotheby’s New York Sales of Contemporary and Modern Art. The auction house simply called it ‘The One’.
As it happened, the car easily outstripped the money paid for various minor works by Picasso, Dali, Cezanne – even a Rothko. Even a $30m Monet. When the gavel came down on the closed room auction, some lucky soul had parted with (including fees) $51.7m. A little behind the breathless estimates that suggested it might go for as much as $60m – but still sufficient to ensure that the car eclipsed the $48m paid for a 250 GTO back in 2018 at Monterey, and the $38m someone forked out in 2014 at Carmel. RM Sotheby’s reckons it’s the highest price paid for a Ferrari ever at auction.
Of course, in absolute terms, it ranks a distant second to the $143m that an unknown collector paid for a ’55 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut Coupe’ – thought to be one of two, ever – just last year, but that really was something extraordinary. This ’62 GTO Tipo was merely a once-in-a-generation chance to own the only derivative raced by Scuderia Ferrari itself. It achieved 2nd place overall at the Nurburgring 1000KM and raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – where it featured a larger 4.0-litre V12 – but didn’t finish. Returned to its ’standard’ 3.0-litre configuration by the factory, chassis 3765 was bought by a privateer and eventually found its way to America where it has spent nearly four decades in fastidious private ownership. Until yesterday evening.
“The result, achieved through collaboration between Ferrari, RM Sotheby’s, and Sotheby’s, echoes our mutual pursuit of perfection—mirroring the very ethos Enzo Ferrari embodied when designing this car,” commented Global Head of Auctions, Gord Duff. “Fetching $51.7 million, this transaction adds a new chapter to a vehicle with an unmatched legacy. Now, it ranks among the most expensive cars sold at auction, a true testament to its singular place in history.”
- Mercedes 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut’ sets auction record
- GTO Engineering reveals Ferrari 250 schematics
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