Vintage News

10/6/2013 - 63 Ferrari GTO Sets New Top At $52 Million in Private Sale

Photo: Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 5111GT in a quiet moment, currently the world's most expensive car (courtesy ferrarilife.com)

A 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO has reportedly set a new world record price for an automobile, selling for $52 million in a private sale last month. The new mark represents a 48% jump over the previous record-holder, also a 250 GTO, purchased privately last June for $35 million by collector Craig McCaw.

Bloomberg News reported the transaction October 3, saying it confirmed the sale, to an unidentified buyer, from three specialist auto traders. The sale comes on the heels of record-setting collector car auctions at Monterey, which garnered $311 million in total with the top sale a whopping $27.5 million for a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider at RM Auctions' sale. While in Monterey, VM heard rumors of the GTO's pending sale from knowledgeable sources, but could not confirm it. GTOs represent rarified air in the collector car world, offering entre to virtually any vintage racing, concours or touring event. With only some three dozen of the 3.0-liter V12s built, the dual-purpose, svelte GTs offer both impressive on-track performance and high-speed touring capability.

Most Ferrari GTOs have impressive in-period racing resumes, and chassis 5111GT is no exception. It was originally sold to French racer Jean Guichet who won the 1963 Tour de France, then took a class win at Monthlery and subsequent European podiums with the car. Guichet then sold it in 1965 to former Road & Track writer Henry Manney III, who owned it through 1971. A string of subsequent owners included well-known Connecticut collector Paul Pappalardo, who bought the car in 1974, then fully restored and campaigned it on track from 1984-2006 before selling it in 2008 to the Torrota Collection in Spain. Bloomberg quoted Pappalardo as saying, "We don't confirm these things. I have no comment."

While the current world record for a car sold at public auction is the $29.65 million for Juan Manuel Fangio's 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Grand Prix racer at Bonhams' July Goodwood (U.K.) auction, private sales of super-collectibles are more opaque than public auction results, with buyers and sellers both maintaining discreet silence amongst themselves. According to Bloomberg, owners of other Ferrari GTOs have recently received offers of $40-$50 million from prospective buyers. The news agency also noted that the Historic Auto Group HAGI F index of public and private sales of rare Ferraris was up 54% so far this year, and quoted HAGI founder Dietrich Hatlapa saying that prices of the rarest Ferraris have risen at an average annual rate of 15% for the last 30 years.

Gooding & Co. auction founder David Gooding told VM, "The upper end of the market is a s strong as ever; in any market - whether it's art or stocks - there are of course very high 'highs' but they don't necessarily lift all boats." He noted, "Prices for the best of the best cars like this (GTO) do not surprise me, but what a lot of people aren't talking about is how many segments of the collector car market haven't moved like this," citing British sports cars, Maseratis "by comparison" and prewar sports cars. He concluded, "A lot of the (vintage) Ferrari market has come up, but not the entire market...a great GTO is in high demand, of course...but if a GTO makes $52 million, it does not mean that Ferrari 275s" like the GTO, will bump up by nearly 50% in a year. - Reported by Mike Silverman

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