By on August 26, 2018

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]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

29 Comments on “Rare Ferrari 250 GTO Becomes Most Expensive Used Car in History...”

  • avatar

    $50m after sales fees and taxes for car guaranteed to have a catastrophic failure before it made it to Carmel. BTW, is that a Fram oil filter? Obviously whoever did the last oil change was definitely amateur hour.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t put a Fram on a Prius I planned to crush the next day.

    • 0 avatar

      I see lots of pictures of old Ferraris with Fram filters (some have 2). Always wondered why myself. They’re also usually mounted upside-down, so they’ll lose their oil charge; resulting in a dry start eventually (‘anti-drainback’ valves leak down sooner or later). FWIW, though, my dad used Fram filters on a dozen or more of his cars for years, and never had a failure.

  • avatar

    With modern CAD-CAM, water jet machine tools, 3D printers, etc. I expect someone could make an exact GTO replica for way less than $48M – surprised someone like Pur Sang is cranking them out.

  • avatar

    Logged in straight back here! I won’t be overly praising but good stuff.

    That price is simply a sign of people with too much money. It’s a sign of extreme wealth distortion that’s been building for decades. That is a sweet, sweet car but on no reasonable planet is that a reasonable price. The last time the world was like this was in the years before WW1… this is not a good sign. Anyway, back to horse-power.

    • 0 avatar

      I have to agree. The price is just absurd.

    • 0 avatar

      Correction Hogey: that price is a sign of diminishing rate of profit return, whereby capital goes towards speculation instead of productive investment.

      50 mil is not too much money, more like absolutely pocket change for actual wealthy people. the market for this speculative investment on the other hand – Rembrands and what-not – is definitively crazy.

      That’s what my econ prof said back in the day anyway. Dutch tulips something something.

    • 0 avatar

      Two words: Money Laundering. Same with blockbuster prices in the art world. Not necessarily for drug proceeds, although that is common too, but often just to skirt taxes. I doubt it has anything to do with intrinsic value, even among the super rich.

  • avatar

    Meh, I have no place to park it. Oh well.

  • avatar

    We’ll have to rewrite that line from Del Amitri’s “Nothing Ever Happens”: “And crazy rich people buy GTOs for the price of a hospital wing”.

  • avatar

    It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

  • avatar

    Also, “world’s most important car”? Automotive history wouldn’t have been notably different without the GTO, or Ferrari for that matter. The Mercedes Simplex, the Citroen 2 CV, the VW Bug, the Austin Mini, the Range Rover, the Renault Espace, the Tesla Model S — those were *important* cars in history.

    And even a clapped-out Chevy wagon or fried-out VW Kombi has been more important to the people who owned it, travelled in it, “lived in it, loved in it, polished its chrome” as the song goes, than any race car ever could be.

    I would not swap my old Citroen BX for this if I had to drive it afterwards.

  • avatar

    I can’t even imagine having so much money that spending this much on an indulgent hobby would be ok. Like someone else said that’s the price of a whole hospital wing

  • avatar

    “Rare Ferrari 250 GTO Becomes Most Expensive Used Car in History”

    Obviously the author has never bought a used Chrysler.

  • avatar

    This reminds me of the summer of 1991 when I saw a 250 GTO along with a number of other exotics parked overnight in the parking garage of a hotel in Heidelberg, Germany. The cars and drivers were in town for a vintage event at Hockenheim. I was walking past it with a friend of mine who just went bananas upon seeing the 250 GTO. He had stated that one like it had been sold not long before in the $8-9M range, if I recall correctly. I snapped a quick photo of it. I’ll have to look it up. Only later, did I realize how exclusive that company was…that car was among just a few dozen production models and my friend went on to hold a significant position at TRD.

  • avatar

    Oh wow the 250 GTO is the most expensive car again

    I wonder what the next trust fund baby will pay for it

  • avatar

    I think this 1962 car is less desirable than the 1964 cars that everyone recognizes, but at the same time, I genuinely think it’s impossible to pay too much for a 250 GTO in a genuine competitive auction setting.

    The 250 GTO (along with the McLaren F1, among others) is one of those cars that is limited production, actually good to drive, beautiful, and makes the right sounds. There is a hard cap on supply and each car is really well documented, and the demand is only getting higher as more people with means to buy one actually want to buy one.

  • avatar

    Pure sex on four wheels. Oh my.

    It’s too bad those pictures likely represent the closest this magnificent beast will come to being seen by actual people on an actual road.

    • 0 avatar

      Nick Mason has run his 250 GTO flat out on the track at the Goodwood Festival of Speed for the world to see. Nick drives his cars and if there is any anxiety about what he is doing, it doesn’t show.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not on a road.
      Those pictures were taken at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington.

      I’ve raced there dozens of times, it’s a great track.

  • avatar

    This is the perfect car for one of those 280Z based knockoffs. 23 in Japanese: 2 is pronounced “Ni” 3 is “San” (why so many Nissan race cars are number 23).

  • avatar

    Anyone here know what became of the one that crashed at Goodwood last year?–8DXM123E

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • 28-Cars-Later: Define “progress”.
  • SCE to AUX: “Market listing via SPAC route has become popular among EV makers that have a vision but no...
  • FreedMike: The problem isn’t unions – it’s the ability of unions to buy off politicians. Meanwhile,...
  • FreedMike: I agree with Mitch. If the company’s dirty, then we need to know about it.
  • FreedMike: ” Do you know which company’s technology was behind the engine and drivetrain of a Fisker? Do you...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber