The Ferrari 250 GTO is a machine in its own class. So covetable, in fact, that Wal-Mart’s Rob Walton, Sir Anthony Bamford, and hedge fund founders Tony and Lulu Wang each own not one, but two of these classic beasts. And last Saturday at RM Sotheby’s sale during Monterey Car Week, the famed automobile reached a new level of desirability by becoming the most expensive car ever sold at auction. Yes, the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO went for a stupefying $48.4 million USD price tag.
The seller, Greg Whitten, is a former Microsoft executive known among car enthusiasts as an avid collector. His multi-million-dollar, multi-acre, heated garage houses an astonishing assemblage of over 20 rare luxury cars, most of them vintage Ferraris. This 1962 250 GTO was bought by Greg in 2000 for less than one-tenth of Saturday’s sale price. Ferrari expert and historian Marcel Massini estimates that a similar model will set you back $100 million in just a couple of years.
So why did Whitten decide to sell now? “I’ve had the GTO a long time,” he recently told Forbes. “There are other cars I want to buy.” Said every car collector ever.
What exactly made this car worthy of a cool $48 mill? Well, it’s one of only 36 ever made, and also happens to be one of just four upgraded by Scaglietti, the renowned Italian design company, to include a wider, shorter, lower body. This significantly improves the handling and balance of the car, making it faster and more aerodynamic. There’s also its rich history: commandeered in the 1962 Targa Florio by one of America’s most legendary race car drivers, Phil Hill, the car came first in its class for a couple of years.
The Ferrari’s buyer smashed the previous record of $38.1 million for a 1963 250 GTO auctioned four years ago. He chooses to remain anonymous. But not for long, we suspect, as this won’t exactly be the most inconspicuous vehicle on the road.