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.
For context, that’s more than a 30-bed teaching hospital would cost to build. But, somehow, 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.”
a version of this article first appeared on thetruthaboutcars.com