1962 Ferrari 250 GTO becomes 2nd most expensive car ever auctioned; fetches staggering $51.7 million
The vibrant red roadster, owned by an American collector for 38 years, fetched a sale price second only to the Mercedes 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, which commanded 135 million euros in 2022.
A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sports car achieved a staggering sale of $51.7 million in New York, marking it as the second most expensive car ever sold at auction, according to Sotheby's. The vibrant red roadster had been under the ownership of an American collector for 38 years, with its auction price surpassed only by a Mercedes 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, which fetched 135 million euros in 2022, equivalent to $144 million at the current exchange rate, as reported by the auction house.
The auction for the 250 GTO took place on Monday evening, featuring a few minutes of bidding in the auction room. However, the final sale price was slightly below the anticipated $60 million, as projected by RM Sotheby's, the luxury car subsidiary of the auction house.
Sotheby's has chosen not to disclose the identity of the successful bidder for the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sports car.
This iconic Scuderia sports car, with chassis number 3765 and a four-liter engine generating 390 horsepower, has a racing history that includes a second-place finish in a 1,000 km endurance race at the German Nurburgring circuit in 1962. It also secured a noteworthy second place in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, although the team had to withdraw due to engine failure, as detailed by RM Sotheby's.
After its competitive years in Italy, both on the mainland and in Sicily, the car was sold and exported to the United States in the late 1960s. Undergoing restoration and modifications, the 250 GTO changed hands among American owners before landing in the possession of a dedicated collector in Ohio in 1985. This collector recently sold the historic vehicle in Monday's auction.
"This stunning GTO offers its next caretaker further touring and vintage racing enjoyment, or display at major concours d'elegance and marque gatherings worldwide," Sotheby's said.
In 2022, the Mercedes 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, which commanded a price of 135 million euros, stood as one of only two examples of this sports car. Sold in a confidential auction held at the German manufacturer's museum in Stuttgart, it attained the distinction of being the most expensive car ever sold globally, whether through auction or private transactions, as conveyed by an RM Sotheby's spokesperson to AFP.
This week, the autumn season of art sales concludes for New York auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's. Remarkably, these sales, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars, have remained unaffected by challenging times.
Sotheby's notes that the market's driving force originates from China and Asia, and despite a tense international context, there are no apparent signs of a slowdown in this lucrative industry.
"Whatever happens in the financial markets, a car of this caliber is a collector's item, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Michael Caimano of RM Sotheby's told AFP before the sale, comparing the Ferrari to a work of art that "can be touched, felt and heard."