Ferrari 250 GTO: The Most Expensive Car in the World

July 10th, 2019 by

Ferrari is one of the world’s premier luxury automakers. It’s no surprise that Ferrari models are among the most expensive in the world.

In fact, back in 2017, New Atlas comprised a list of the top 100 most valuable vehicles based on auction price and 62 of those cars were Ferraris. Moreover, 41 of those 62 vehicles were the Ferrari 250 GTO. This is naturally the most prized vehicle in the world owing in part to its history and exclusivity. The 250 GTO was in production from 1962 to 1964. While sources differ, it’s believed there was only around 30 or 40 produced. The New Atlas 2017 list had the Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta as the most expensive car ever sold at $38.12 million. However, at least two 250 GTOs have since sold for more than that. Here’s what you need to know about the most expensive car in the world:

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Sold for $48 Million

A 1962 make of the “Holy Grail in collectible cars” was sold for $48.4 million at the 2018 RM Sotheby’s collector car sale in California. This vehicle, in particular, was valued at such a high price given its history. It was the winning vehicle in the 1962 Italian GT championship and was driven by Phil Hill, who holds distinction as the first Formula 1 World Champion from the United States. The car was sold by Microsoft executive Greg Whitten, who purchased it in 2000 for less than one-tenth of its 2018 sale price. The owner of 12 Ferraris, he attributed his decision to sell the 250 GTO to the rise in luxury vehicle collectors which has in turn boosted the value of limited production vehicles.

1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Sold for $70 Million

The aforementioned 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO broke the world record for the most expensive vehicle ever sold at an auction. However, it’s not the most expensive vehicle ever sold, nor is it even the most expensive Ferrari ever sold. That distinction belongs to a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO, which was sold to WeatherTech CEO David MacNeil in June 2018 for $70 million. Like Whitten, MacNeil is an avid car collector. He owns several Ferraris, including a 1960 250 GT Berlinetta SWB, 250 GT Lusso, and a 275 GTB.

In addition to owning the world’s most expensive vehicle, MacNeil earned entry into the owners-only 250 GTO Tour. This is regarded as one of the world’s most exclusive events and includes fellow owners like Ralph Lauren, British billionaire Lord Anthony Bamford, and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason. Although he spent what seems like an excessive amount on a single vehicle, the 250 GTO is expected to continue to rise in value, at least according to Marcel Massini. The Ferrari historian anticipates a sale price of at least $100 million within the next five years.

“The Ferrari 250 GTO is the motoring market’s equivalent of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ and a talisman for any top-end collection,” added James Knight, Bonhams’ group motoring chairman. “And the GTO that recently sold is one of the best five extant. It doesn’t mean that a Jaguar E-Type is all of a sudden worth more, but it does instill reassurance and confidence that collectors are willing to pay new levels to secure the right car.”

Officially Considered a Work of Art

Knight’s comparison of the 250 GTO to Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” is particularly pertinent as of recent developments in an Italian court. This past June, lawmakers responded to complaints from Ferrari suggesting a Modena company intended to make clones of the vehicle by legally declaring the 250 GTO a work of art. As a result, it is now illegal to imitate or reproduce the vehicle. The ruling attributed this decision to the car’s aesthetics and its status as a “true automobile icon.” The decision is bad news for prospective third-party companies hoping to replicate the vehicle’s design. On the other hand, it’s welcome news for owners of the 250 GTO, as it should help drive increases in value.

Ferrari 250 GTO Vehicle Specifications

The fact that there were only a few dozen 250 GTOs produced is a major reason why the vehicle has been sold for record prices at auctions and through private sale. However, there’s more to it than that. When it was first produced in 1962, its engineering was unrivaled. It boasted unmatched styling, power, and speed, which was evident in its success on the race track. The outstanding elements of its exterior include its beautifully sculpted fenders and bulged hood. The latter comprised more than one-third of the vehicle’s total length. The few 250 GTO vehicles made during the final year of production in 1964 featured slight modifications to the roof and rear end. Meanwhile, its interior speaks to its racing intentions. It’s relatively “bare bones” and lacks many of the amenities common to road-driving Ferraris like the leather upholstery and roof headliner. Its V-12 engine had a 302-horsepower capacity and allowed the car to go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Moreover, its top speed of 174 mph was particularly impressive for the early 1960s.

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