A fire-engine red Ferrari is officially the most expensive car in the world after it was auctioned off for a record-breaking US$48.4 million (A$66 million).
The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, previously owned by former Microsoft executive Dr Greg Whitten, went under the hammer recently at RM Sotheby’s annual Monterey collector car auction, fetching a phenomenal seven-digit figure.
After an intense bidding battle between three collectors, Chassis 3413 was sold after just 10 minutes, almost 20 years after it was last auctioned.
The iconic sports coupe is so rare that, between 1962 and 1964, only 36 were built, and the recent lot proved to be a powerful investment for Whitten who paid about US$7 million (A$11.86 million) back in 2000.
The iconic prancing racehorse saw victory at the 1962 Italian GT Championship driven by Edoardo Lualdi-Gabardi (a personal friend of Enzo Ferrari) and established a successful record with 15 wins between 1962 and 1965.
“Never again would the factory develop and build a so-called production GT car purely for the sake of racing,” a spokesperson for RM Sotheby’s says.
Described as being one of the finest sports cars, the 250 GTO’s achievements in its first year are “virtually unbelievable” through a combination of talented drivers and world-class engineering, establishing the legend of Ferrari racing.
“Acquisition of these cars is regarded the crowning achievement in an almost impossible hunt.” – RM Sotheby’s spokesperson
The salient coupe with its distinctive exhaust has moved between several owners including Japanese collector Yoshiyuki Hayashi and former L’Oréal chairman and CEO Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones.
Due to its incredible rarity, experts predicted the car would sell for up to US$60 million, which means the anonymous buyer got a bargain.
The GTO is just one of seven cars to showcase Scaglietti’s scintillating Series II coachwork, adding to its exclusivity which has made it one of the most successful, and regularly exhibited, examples in the world.
Fitted with the original gearbox and rear axle, the heritage race car is considered one of the “very best examples” of Ferrari 250 GTO’s because of its originality.
“At any given point in time, 36 or fewer collectors can claim to be GTO owners,” RM Sotheby’s spokesperson says.
“It is a club with virtually immediate access to the world’s most important automotive events … acquisition of these cars is regarded the crowning achievement in an almost impossible hunt.”
The superb state and quality of the prancing racehorses marries together to create an extremely rare vehicle deemed “quite literally, the opportunity of a lifetime”.
“A moment in one’s collecting span that is quite likely unrepeatable … 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,” RM Sotheby’s spokesperson says.
Previously, the 1962-63 Ferrari GTO held the record of being the world’s most expensive car after it was sold for US$38million (A$51.74million) in 2014.