The $48.4 million price tag was the most a classic car has ever sold for at an auction. The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was sold by Dr Gregory Whitten, the chairperson of Numerix Software, car enthusiast, Ferrari connoisseur, and vintage racing driver. According to Bloomberg, Whitten had purchased the Ferrari in 2000, with the market price for Ferrari's being around $10 million at the time.
The sale came at RM Sotheby's annual Monterey auction held at the Monterey Conference Centre. RM Sotheby's website says this year's event welcomed bidders from 37 different countries and was the highest grossing event from Monterey Cars Week, with 83% of all cars offered at the RM Sotheby's auction finding new owners.
As for the 250 GTO, RM Sotheby's notes that this car was long considered "the holy grail" of the car collector world, leading to much anticipation for its public auction.
According to a statement on RM Sotheby's website, "There were cheers and applause when five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell stepped out of the car after driving it across the auction block in front of an overflowing salesroom, followed by gasps as auctioneer Maarten ten Holder opened the bidding at the unprecedented level of $35 million (over R500 million)."
Sotheby's said the three collectors bidding for the car actually competed by telephone for 10 minutes as the packed house listened and looked on, with multiple millions moving in increments before the new owner hit the final auction price of $44 million. An additional $4.4 million in auction fees were added to bring it to the record-breaking price.
The new owner's identity has not been released.
Bloomberg reports Ferrari built just 36 examples of the 250 GTO Model model between 1963 and 1964.
RM Sotheby's said the $48.4 million dollar auction price exceeds the previous record-breaking price by more than $10 million.
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