All eyes are on the prestigious classic car sales weekend in California next month when one of the most desirable cars ever made goes up for auction.
And there is no telling what the Ferrari 250 GTO (above) will fetch at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Only 39 were ever made – and the last one to sell sold for $US52 million.
The car for sale is chassis No. 3851 GT, the 19th example, completed on September 11, 1962, and delivered new to French racer Jo Schlesser (who would be killed in an experimental Honda F1 car six years later at the French Grand Prix).
The 250 GTO was later damaged in a race and returned to the Ferrari factory to be repaired. It returned to competition the following year, trading hands once more before pioneering Ferrari collector Fabrizio Violati bought it in 1965.
The Italian businessman and historic race driver owned it as part of his celebrated Maranello Rosso Collection until he died in 2010. Now his family is offering it for auction – making it the longest single-owner GTO in existence.
The Italian marque’s 250 GTO was created in 1962 to compete at the Le Mans 24-hour race and other grand touring events. Back in the 1980s they traded hands for six figures. In 1989, one sold for US$10 million.
A few months later another went for $US13 million. Prices fluctuated over the next 20-odd years until 2012 when an apple-green version, made for British racer Stirling Moss, was knocked down for $US35 million. In October last year, a 1963 model – chassis No. 5111 – fetched $US52 million.
Owners of other Ferrari GTOs include Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Goldman Sachs banking scion Peter Sachs, Rob Walton, chairman of America’s Wal-Mart, and Lawrence Stroll, the financier who built Tommy Hilfiger into a global brand in the 1990s.
Another Ferrari with a celebrated race history sold for $US18.2 million at the last month’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in Britain. The 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus, chassis No. 0384 AM, is one of only five made. It ran a 4.9-litre V12 with 245kW under aluminum bodywork by Pininfarina.
In 1954, it raced at Le Mans, Italy’s Mille Miglia and Britain’s Silverstone endurance event, where it won with Argentina’s Jose Froilan Gonzalez at the wheel. Gonzalez of course won the 1951 British Grand Prix in a Ferrari, the marque’s first F1 win.