This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, chassis number 3851 GT, has been owned by the same family for 49 years. Bonhams will sell it without reserve next month; last year a GTO sold in a private trade for $50 million.
The auction house Bonhams will offer what is likely to be the most expensive car ever sold at a public auction on Aug. 15 in Carmel Valley, Calif., a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that was one of just 39 built for international GT racing. Believed by many to be the most beautiful sports car ever built, its combination of voluptuous curves, strategically placed vents, glass-covered headlamps and a chopped “Kamm” style rear with a duck-tail spoiler is simply irresistible to fans of long-hood and short rear deck front-engine GT cars.
While there exist many copies of the 250 GTO, ranging from comical to convincing, the opportunity to acquire one of the 39 originals is rare indeed. The last one to sell was purchased privately in the UK last October for a reported $52 million. In the superheated environment of the Pebble Beach auctions, this one could easily break $60 million. If it does, it will shatter another record held by Bonhams by about double. Last summer, Bonhams sold a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Grand Prix car for $29 million — at the time, the most expensive car ever sold at auction. This latest auction is a “no reserve” sale, meaning that there is no minimum price; the multi-billionaire high bidder will absolutely take the car home to his James Bond villain-like compound.
This car was the property of a single owner’s family for almost 50 years, the longest tenure of ownership of any GTO. To put things into perspective, when the Italian racer Fabrizio Violati bought the car in 1965, he likely paid about $7,000 for it.