A 1962 Ferrari became the most expensive car to ever sell at auction, fetching $ 48.4 million over the weekend.
The car, a Ferrari 250 GTO, was sold at RM Sotheby’s on Saturday night as part of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance – a sort of Coachella for classic cars and wealthy collectors that includes five days of auctions, parties , unveils, tours, and races around Monterey and Pebble Beach, California.
The events ended on Sunday with the Concours d’Elegance awards for the best car restorations.
The sale of Ferrari helped bring total vintage car auctions to around $ 368 million, a 12% increase from last year and the first increase since the auto market peaked in 2014 , according to Hagerty, the insurance and research company for classic cars.
A 1935 Duesenberg SSJ Roadster also sold Friday at Gooding & Co. for $ 22 million, breaking the record for the most expensive American car ever sold at auction. Auto analysts said the results show that super rare trophies can still break records even though the wider classic car market remains subdued.
“The heavy-duty bidders took on the challenge posed by so many A-List cars, but the rest of the buyers weren’t so optimistic,” Hagerty said.
The record-breaking Ferrari has shown once again that the 250 GTOs remain the holy grail for vintage car collectors. Ferrari made just 36 and they dominated the races in their day, winning over 300 races combined. Many also consider the 250 GTO to be the most beautiful Ferrari ever made, with its sleek, clean styling that remains timeless. As CNBC reported, a GTO sold in a private sale this spring for over $ 70 million.
The car that broke the record on Saturday was the third Ferrari GTO made and it retains many of its original parts. It was sold by Greg Whitten, a former Microsoft executive who bought the car in 2000 for what experts say was less than a tenth of the Saturday selling price.
Whitten said he bought the car to compete in vintage car races and has already ridden it above 155 mph.
“It’s a nice car, but it’s not complete until you drive it,” he said.
Yet over time, as vintage racing opened up to a wider variety of cars, Whitten said he struggled to race the car against more powerful and newer cars. And he said owners of cheaper cars could get careless on the race track around the much more valuable GTO – so it wasn’t so much fun to race and own anymore.
“Some of these people have no respect for the car,” he said. “If they break down, that’s okay.”
Even though he sold his GTO, Whitten said he still has “a dozen” more Ferraris and hopes to buy many more classic racing cars.
When asked how a car could be worth the price of several mansions, he replied, “It’s very hard to understand. But you’re in a space where you have collectors, and Ferraris are the most important car. collectible and the GTO is the pinnacle of Ferrari. You really are in rare territory and there are collectors who want to have one. “
Whitten, who was on 15e Microsoft employee and joined in 1979, said he didn’t buy cars as investments, but to drive and run them.
When asked what was the best investment, Microsoft stock or GTO, he replied that it depends on the timing. From 2000, when he bought the car, the GTO had been “a much better investment”, because of where Microsoft was trading in 2000. But since 1979, “Microsoft was a much better investment. But the GTO is a lot more fun, ”he said.