Carmel, California - Even if you were a multi-billionaire, what is the most you'ld pay for a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta?
One lucky bidder has just agreed to part with $38 115 000 for an example with a rich history, making it the most expensive car ever sold at an auction. The sale was conducted by Bonhams' at its Quail Lodge Auction in California.
Let's put this into perspective. Using the exchange rate at the time of writing, the price paid equates to a shade under R402 million, which is enough to buy 3530 Chevrolet Spark 1.2 Campuses. In fact, it's almost double what Toby Venter recently paid for the Kyalami race track.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
The 250 GTO Berlinetta is regarded by many as the most iconic Ferrari ever, with its gorgeous lines and race-winning pedigree - it won the FIA GT World Championship in 1962 and 1963.
Just 39 of the road-legal, race-winning sports cars were ever made (in different guises, with some undergoing various conversions) and the recently auctioned example (Chassis number: 3851 GT) is the one with the longest single ownership - 49 years within a single family.
3851 is one of the examples powered by a 3-litre V12 engine, and this exact car came second in the 5500km Tour de France Automobile event at the hands of its first owner, Jo Schlesser, who later went on become an F1 driver. The car was badly damaged at the following year's event but then was completely rebuilt as new by the Ferrari factory, before being sold.
BOUGHT “ON THE SLY”
The car competed successfully in various track and hillclimb events at the hands of its two subsequent owners before being sold to young Italian Ferrari enthusiast Fabrizio Violati in 1965 for the equivalent of $4000. Violati was an ex-racing driver whose family had banned him from competing after he’d been injured in a nasty accident. Legend has it that the young Roman would only drive the GTO at night so his family wouldn't find out that he'd bought a race car.
After becoming an ardent Ferrari collector, Violati entered historic racing in 1979 - using 3851 and a 250 GT SWD - and in 1985 he was crowned FIA Historic Champion. After battling with ill health in his later years, Violati passed away in 2010 at the age of 74 and since then his car has been preserved by family members. The Ferrari aficionado was deeply mourned within Ferrari circles.
At the time of writing, Bonhams Auctions had not disclosed details of the new owner. Are there any new adventures ahead for 3851? Given what was paid for it, we highly doubt it.