At the RM Sotheby’s automobile auction in Monterey, California, on Saturday, August 25, an extremely rare 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was picked up for a cool $48.4 million, which is a new auction record.
The classic car was driven onto the auction block by five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell. It was being sold by renowned car collector Greg Whitten, who was the vehicle’s owner for approximately 18 years.
The opening bid was $35 million, noted Automobile magazine, and increased until the hammer fell at $44 million. The bidding frenzy lasted just 12 minutes, according to Forbes. Once the buyer’s commission was added, the final price of the shiny red beauty was $48.4 million.
Since the bid was placed via an agent, the identity of the car’s new owner has yet to be revealed.
“My journey with the 250 GTO has come to an end, but I am excited to see how this fantastic car is enjoyed by the new owner,” said Whitten, the former chief software architect at Microsoft and now the chairman of Numerix, according to Sports Car Digest. “They will have seen the seemingly unbelievable list of superlatives that are used to describe it — legendary, historic, holy grail — but I can assure them that once they get behind the wheel, they will understand that every one of them is true.”
“The 250 GTO that sold is one of fewer than 40 cars built, and is widely considered to be the most desirable Ferrari model ever built due to the story of its creation, its success on track in period, and its legacy as the last Ferrari race car that was equally at home being driven on the track as it was on the street,” explained Automobile mag’s expert.
“Because 250 GTOs were built to race, many were heavily crashed or received replacement powertrains. While this car, originally a more desirable Series 1 example, did receive new Series 2 bodywork in period, the work was commissioned by the factory, and the car went on to win the Targa Florio with its new sheetmetal. The car miraculously still retains its original engine and gearbox after all its years of racing, which undoubtedly helped the car’s value when it crossed the block.”
Before this car became the highest-selling vehicle ever auctioned off, another Ferrari 250 GTO held the record. At Bonhams’ 2014 Quail Lodge sale, the winning bidder paid just over $38 million for the car.
However, Forbes reported that in a private sale this past June, race car driver Christian Glaesel sold his 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO to WeatherTech founder David MacNeil for somewhere between $70 million and $80 million.