Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta sold for $38.1 million at the Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction. Image courtesy of Bonhams
CARMEL, CALIFORNIA— A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta, has become the most valuable car in history to be sold at auction, Setting a new world auction record, the race car realized $38,115,000 at the Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction in Carmel, California. One of the 36 built in 1961-64, the sale was one of the highlights of the vintage car auction taking place on the Monterey Peninsula of California in conjunction with Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance.
The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta broke the record set by the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 R F1 Racer that sold for $30-million at Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Auction last year. The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 R F1 Racer was the most valuable car sold at auction until Thursday. Weeks before the auction started, The Ferrari GTO had been the subject of intense international interest. With the current increase in the prices of vintage cars, many vintage car collectors were very optimistic that the Ferrari GTOs would reset the record for the most expensive automobile sold at auction. Their expectation was clearly reflected when the auctions began.
Bidders for the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta came from around the world. Collectors in the audience and those on telephones contested vigorously to win the car. There was great excitement in the packed auction pavilion. Even those who could not get in the pavilion watched the happenings live on the numerous television screens placed outside the auction site. It was a ping pong game as collectors bided passionately against each other for the coveted vintage car. Even when there were moments of silence, the pavilion was load. When the gavel final fell to confirm the auction price, the audience erupted in applause. Although the auction price fell short of estimated value, it was still an epochal sale.
Robert Brooks, Chairman of Bonhams was most delighted by the new world auction record set by the Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta. He notes:
It’s been a genuine privilege to represent this outstanding car and we are absolutely delighted with today’s results. We’ve always maintained that we would exceed the current world record and that the car would bring between $30-$40-million and today the GTO did just that.
The 250 GTO with the serial number 3851 on its firewall is one of the earlier examples of the model to come to the auction in a many years. Beyond the design and model, the car also has valuable history and provenance. Fabrizio Violati, a wealthy Italian amateur driver who died in 2010 owned the car for most of its existence. The car which was rebuilt by the Ferrari factory also has a sad story. Henri Oreiller, The former French Olympic ski champion was killed while driving it in a race at Montlhéry, France, in 1962. Ferrari stopped building the 250 GTO in1965. The front-engine competition coupe was succeeded by the midengine 250 LM model in 1965.
The sale and world auction record price of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta according to Bonhams Auctions is a “Demonstrating the confidence in the collector car market and the strength of the Ferrari brand, today’s new world record also reaffirms Bonhams position as one of the world’s leading auctioneers of rare and important motorcars.” Several other Ferraris made great auction prices at the vintage car sale. The very special Maranello Rosso Collection of ten important Ferraris also sold extremely well for a combined total $65,945,000.
Video: Bonhams Auctions