RM/Sotheby’s auctions at Monterey Week lived up to its billing, with renowned car collector Greg Whitten’s fabled 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, chassis 3413, the star of Saturday night’s auction. The car, Lot 247, fetched a hammer price of $44 million in just 12 minutes of vivacious bidding in a room absolutely buzzing with excitement. With buyers premium, the total price comes to $48.4 million. The winning bid was placed via an agent, with the new owner not yet known at press time. The extremely rare Ferrari was widely considered to be the most valuable vehicle to ever come to auction as detailed here.
“I’m very happy,” says seller Greg Whitten, clinking champagne surrounded by his wife and close friends.
The market for Ferrari 250 GTOs continues to grow, selling for eye-popping figures. Just this past June, German race car driver Christian Glaesel sold his 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO, chassis 4153, for somewhere between $70 million and $80 million in a private sale to WeatherTech floor mats founder David MacNeil. In 2014, chassis 3851 sold for $38.1 million at auction, at that time the most expensive car ever auctioned. Another rumored private sale by American collector Paul Pappalardo in 2013 estimates his 250 GTO sold for around $52 million.
Ferrari historian and expert Marcel Massini recently told CNBC he expects a similar car to the $70-million plus chassis 4153 will sell for over $100 million in the next two to three years. Current 250 GTO owners include Ralph Lauren; Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason; Peter Sachs, grandson of Goldman Sachs founder Samuel Sachs; and Jon Shirley, of Microsoft. Three currently own two 250 GTOs, including hedge fund founders Tony and Lulu Wang, (unrelated to U.K.-based owner Brandon Wang), Rob Walton of Wal-Mart, and British businessman Sir Anthony Bamford, who for a brief time once owned the chassis which just sold. Should any of them decide to sell, and with Whitten’s car setting a new high mark, that $100 million dollar mark inches ever closer.
The success of the RM/Sotheby’s auction bucks a vintage car market that has cooled since 2013, when aggressive investors crowded the field, seeking post-recession deals. According to José Luis Celada, a Buenos Aries vintage car collector interviewed by the New York Times here, the opportunists are less active, leaving the market once again to specialists, which also means few buyers. But vintage Ferraris continue to rank amongst the most preferred, especially those in pristine, and preferably running, condition.