1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Buy this 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, and you’ll gain access to one of the world’s most exclusive clubs. However, it doesn’t come cheap, with RM Sotheby’s slapping a $45 million (£34 million in the UK) pre-auction estimate on what is described as the “holy grail” of classic and collector cars.

What makes it so valuable? Aside from its jaw-dropping beauty, the 250 GTO was effectively the final evolution of the 250 model, which debuted in 1953 and ended with the last GTO in 1964. Just 36 GTOs were ever built, all of which survive today.

This is car number three – chassis no. 3413 GT – which began life as a factory car and was driven by Phil Hill in the 1962 Targa Florio. Its first owner was one of Ferrari’s favorite customers, Edoardo Lualdi-Gabardi, who entered the GTO in 10 races in 1962, winning all but one.

In 1963, Lualdi-Gabardi sold the GTO to fellow racing driver Gianni Bulgari, the former chairman and CEO of the Bulgari jewellery company. Under his ownership, the car competed in and finished a further 20 races, avoiding any accidents in the process.

Ferrari 250 GTO most expensive car

Microsoft, excelled

Today, it retains its original engine, gearbox and rear axle, as well as its factory Series II body. With such originality and provenance, you can see the pieces of the jigsaw contributing to the eye-opening pre-auction estimate.

Having passed through an unbroken chain of ownership in the hands of the world’s preeminent Ferrari collectors, ‘3413’ ended up in the care of Dr Greg Whitten, chairman of Numerix and former chief software architect at Microsoft.

In Dr Whitten’s custody, the GTO has competed in events around the world as well as four of the fabled GTO anniversary tours. These gatherings, which take place every five years, are a celebration of the GTO and involve driving on some of the world’s best roads and dining in the finest establishments. As you’d expect, entry is restricted to GTO ownership. If your name’s not down…

Ferrari 250 GTO interior

Access to the club can be bought. The price: whatever the Ferrari 250 GTO sells for at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale in August. You have two months to find the necessary $45 million. May we suggest starting with the back of the sofa and going from there?

Shelby Myers, car specialist at RM Sotheby’s is understandably thrilled at the prospect of the GTO going under the hammer, saying: “Due to the evolution of technology and safety regulations that followed, the GTO was essentially the final true road racer, marking the end of an era when drivers really got their hands dirty. This was the last car that you could park in your garage, drive to the track, win the race, and then drive home.”

“This marks just the third time that a GTO has been offered for public sale in the new millennium. I can think of no better place than our flagship Monterey event, an auction that has borne witness to the record-smashing sale of some of the most important cars in history, for the presentation of such an exceptional example of Ferrari’s most successful racer and the world’s most sought-after collector car, full-stop.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO engine

“The fact that the GTO exists as it did in period, along with Dr Whitten’s long-term, enthusiastic ownership, only adds to the car’s impeccable pedigree.”

The RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale is held during the world-famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance motoring week in August, with the auction taking place on the 24 and 25 August 2018. Time to cash in your Premium Bonds?

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