One of only 36 produced, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO achieved an even rarer honor this past Saturday, breaking the world record for most expensive car ever sold at a public auction when it went for $48.4 million at an RM Sotheby’s annual collector car sale in Monterey, California.
Previously owned since 2000 by former Microsoft executive Greg Whitten, the GTO was purchased by an anonymous bidder for $48.4 million (after auction fees), which broke the $38 million auction record set by a 1962-63 Ferrari GTO at a 2014 Bonhams auction.
Earlier this year, a 1963 GTO went for a whopping $70 million at a private sale. So, what is it that makes Ferrari GTOs such valuable cars? Well, it turns out that the GTOs happen to be among Ferrari’s most successful racing cars.
The particular Ferrari 250 GTO that was just sold (which also happened to be the third GTO ever built) has quite the impressive racing record under its belt, winning the 1962 Italian GT championship and racking up over 15 race wins from 1962 to 1965. When it comes to famous folks that have gotten behind the wheel of the race car, Phil Hill — the first American to be a Formula 1 World Champion — drove the GTO as his practice car before the Targa Florio race in 1962. Renowned jewelry designer Gianni Bulgari also raced the car in 1963.
Another big selling point of the Ferrari GTOs is their exclusivity. All 36 of the GTOs that were built are still running, and the owners will gather every now and then for road rallies, creating a unique owner’s club of sorts.
“The GTO tours are, as far as that level of net worth goes, the ultimate event and there really is only one way to get in and that’s to own one of the 36 cars,” Jake Auerbach, RM Sotheby’s car specialist, told CNN Money.
Now that sounds like our kind of club.