Rare Ferrari 250 GTO Becomes Most Expensive Used Car in History

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO became the most expensive car ever to have the gavel dropped on it at an RM Sotheby’s auction during Monterey Car Week. How much did the the cavallo rosso sell for? A jaw-dropping $48.4 million.

That’s the kind of money you’d expect someone to spend on a second-hand jet fighter, not an automobile. But it’s not as wild of a price for a vintage Ferrari as one might expect. The previous auction record was also set by 250 GTO. That vehicle, a 1963 model, was sold for $38.1 million four years earlier.

The Sotheby’s listing claims the Ferrari as “the world’s most important, desirable, and legendary motor car,” the former of which is highly debatable. It is, however, exceptionally rare. As the third of only 36 GTOs ever built, the recently sold example was also one of the precious few to receive aggressive Series II bodies that resemble the Ferrari 250 Le Mans racers.

The GTO also has an impressive list of racing wins in its own right. It took first in the 1962 Italian GT Championship, and participated in a swath of other races in the 1960s — performing exceptionally well throughout.

Owned for the last 18 years by Dr. Greg Whitten, the former Chief Software Architect for Microsoft, the record-breaking Ferrari boasts matching numbers and was inspected by both marquee specialist Marcel Massini and Ferrari Classiche representatives to prove its authenticity. Sotheby’s also compiled a list of the vehicle’s racing history, which will be included with its credentials.

However, not all of the original components are currently installed within the vehicle. A 250 GT engine block built to GTO specification is currently residing within the model, which is supposed to encourage its new owner to take it rallying and not leave it in a garage. Frankly, considering it’s immense value, we’d be extremely cautious even when moving it from one air-conditioned parking space to another — regardless of which motor was installed.

All the original hardware comes with the car and has been recently serviced, so its new owner can put it back together in museum-grade condition if desired.

“The superb state and quality of 3413 further adds to this extreme rarity and makes its offering, quite literally, the opportunity of a lifetime — a moment in one’s collecting span that is quite likely unrepeatable,” the auction house said. “For one collector, then, there is no higher honor, there is no greater custodianship of history, and there is no greater achievement in the search of the world’s most important car.”

[Images: RM Sotheby’s]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

More by Matt Posky

Join the conversation
2 of 29 comments
  • The Oracle This thing got porky quick.
  • Kwi65728132 I'll grant that it's nicely kept but I'm not a fan of the bangle butt designs, and I know better than to buy a used BMW while living anywhere in the world other than in the fatherland where these are as common as any Honda or Toyota is anywhere else.
  • ChristianWimmer When these came out I thought they were hideous: now they’ve grown on me. This one looks pretty nice. Well-maintained, low mileage and some good-looking wheels that aren’t super fancy but not cheap-looking or boring either, they are just right.
  • Aja8888 Someday in the far away future, all cars will look the same, people will be the same color, dogs will be all mixed beyond recognition, and governments will own everything. That car looks like my son's Hyundai Tucson without badges.
  • Tassos Of course, what the hell did you expect? A SERIOUS, BEAUTIFUL car you can ACTUALLY USE AS YOUR DAILY DRIVER???............. NOOOOO, THIS IS TIM WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. SO HE FINDS SOME OBSOLETE POS WHICH IS 22 years old, .............AND HE PURPOSELY MISSES THE BEAUTIFUL MODEL, THE Classical Beauty E39 that ended in 2003. ...........So he uses his column as a WASTEBASKET once again, to throw the first year of BMWs BANGLED 5 series (as in the INFAMOUS CHRIS BANGLE WHO SCREWED UP THE DESIGN ROYALLY). ................................................ As Dr. Evil, Fake Doctor Jill Biden would scream at the top of her voice, so her senile idiot husband could hear her, "Good Job, (Tim)! You answered all the questions and ticked all the boxes!" ..... KEEP UP THE S---Y work, Tim!