Ferrari GTO breaks auction record

| 14 Nov 2023
Classic & Sports Car – Ferrari GTO breaks auction record

The only Ferrari GTO Tipo 1962 campaigned by the works team sold for $51,705,000 (c£42m) with RM Sotheby’s yesterday, 13 November 2023, in New York, becoming the most expensive Ferrari ever sold at auction.

This sale puts this Ferrari second in the all-time list of prices achieved for a car at auction, behind the one-of-two Mercedes-Benz 300SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé that went for €135,000,000 (c£114m/$142m) on 5 May 2022, also with RM Sotheby’s.

This 1962 Ferrari 330LM/250GTO, chassis number 3765, is the only works model to be fitted from new with a 4-litre engine, in this car with dry-sump lubrication, plus special camshafts and carburettors.

It is also one of 34 GTOs built with Tipo 1962 coachwork.

Classic & Sports Car – Ferrari GTO breaks auction record

This Ferrari GTO was driven at the Nürburgring and Le Mans by Mike Parkes

This car made its race debut for Scuderia Ferrari on 27 May 1962, bearing the race number 120, at the Nürburgring 1000km.

Piloted by Mike Parkes and Willy Mairesse, this car came second overall, also claiming a first-in-class finish.

This car was then prepared to take on the Le Mans 24-hour race, its triple-carb engine swapped for one with six Weber 42 DCN carburettors, producing around 390bhp.

Classic & Sports Car – Ferrari GTO breaks auction record
Classic & Sports Car – Ferrari GTO breaks auction record

Changes were made to the Ferrari’s front between its works races in Germany and France

The car’s competition scars from the Nürburgring were fixed, some changes were made at the front to accommodate the new motor, and its triple triangular cooling vents above the grille that had been blocked off for its debut in Germany were opened ahead of the French enduro.

The Ferrari also gained unique driving lamps at the outer edges of the front wings, beneath the tear-shaped markers.

This was one of four cars entered by SEFAC Ferrari into the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans. Indeed, this was one of two in the 4-litre class, alongside a 330TRI/LM, a pair of Dinos completing the works squad.

Four privately entered 250GTOs took the start, too.

Classic & Sports Car – Ferrari GTO breaks auction record

The factory-fitted 4-litre engine makes this Ferrari GTO unique

Parkes returned to the driving seat of this car, chassis number 3765, for Le Mans, this time sharing with Lorenzo Bandini, and the British driver took the start from fourth on the grid.

While battling Graham Hill in an Aston Martin, Parkes locked up and went off at Mulsanne corner, then spent half an hour digging his stricken Ferrari out the sand bank.

When Bandini took over, the car was lying 53rd, but fought up to 42nd before, part-way through the sixth hour of the race, overheating forced it into retirement.

In the hands of Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill, the works Ferrari 330TRI/LM was victorious.

Classic & Sports Car – Ferrari GTO breaks auction record

This Ferrari’s works drivers were Mike Parkes, Willy Mairesse and Lorenzo Bandini

With its 1962 racing finished, it was time for the next chapter in this unique Ferrari’s life.

It was prepared for sale and its buyer, Pietro Ferraro, commissioned some factory modifications prior to taking ownership.

Having finished fifth in class in this GTO at the Trieste-Opicina hillclimb of July 1964, he sold it to Ferdinando Latteri in Sicily, who competed in it on the island, including taking the runner-up spot in the 1965 Sicilian Hillclimb Championship.

In 1967, this Ferrari was sold to Mario Tosi in California, who had it repainted yellow, before Missouri-based Jack Reuter became its next custodian, using the car in Ferrari Club of America tours and displaying it at shows.

Classic & Sports Car – Ferrari GTO breaks auction record

This Ferrari 330LM/250GTO was sold with a wealth of factory records

The club’s chairman was this Ferrari’s next keeper and he retained the car for 10 years before, in April 1985, it was acquired by the Ohio-based owner who consigned it to yesterday’s RM Sotheby’s auction.

During that 38-year tenure, the GTO was shown at many events and collected several awards, including second in class at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Best of Show at the 2012 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Having secured an eye-watering $51.7m figure for this car on 13 November 2023 at Sotheby’s New York during its Marquee Week Sales of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gord Duff, RM Sotheby’s Global Head of Auctions, said, “The result, achieved through collaboration between Ferrari, RM Sotheby’s and Sotheby’s, echoes our mutual pursuit of perfection – mirroring the very ethos Enzo Ferrari embodied when designing this car.”

He added, “this transaction adds a new chapter to a vehicle with an unmatched legacy. Now, it ranks among the most expensive cars sold at auction, a true testament to its singular place in history.”

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