Ferrari 250 GTO sells for record price at California auction

A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $38 million Thursday, the most expensive car ever sold publicly.

Experts said it would hit $50 million, others thought it could reach $75, but even at $38 million dollars, this 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO is still the most expensive car ever sold publicly.

The auction took place in Monterey, California yesterday. Although the price is disappointing considering what many thought it would go for, it still obliterates the previous record.

The bidding started at $11 million and within 60 seconds, it had jumped to over $30 million. This particular GTO is identified as #3851GT. Last year, a GTO was sold privately for $52 million. 

This car, previously owned by Fabrizio Violati, has endured a rough life mind you, having been raced, wrecked, and rebuilt multiple times. A man even died behind the wheel. French racer and Olympic gold-medalist Henri Oreiller crashed the car in October of 1962, succumbing to his injuries soon after.


The 250 GTO was one of the last front-engined cars to race competitively at the top levels of sports car and endurance racing before, like so many others, becoming obsolete in major motorsport competition. The car helped Ferrari on their way to three consecutive International Championships for GT Manufacturers (later known as the World Sportscar Championship), before some guy named Carroll Shelby came in and spoiled the party.

Only 39 of its kind exist (33 identical to #3851GT), with this being the 19th ever built. In 1962, the FIA mandated that in order for a car to be eligible for competition, at least 100 versions of it must be contructed. Ferrari used jumps in their number sequences for the chassis to imply cars that didn't actually exist, allowing them to get past those regulations.

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