A 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO racer has become the world’s most expensive car, selling for $52 million.
The red competition car, formerly owned by the Greenwich, Connecticut-based collector Paul Pappalardo, was acquired by an unidentified buyer in a private transaction, said three specialist traders who independently confirmed the purchase and price to Bloomberg News. Recently, the car has been owned by a Spanish collector, the car website barchetta.com
The price is a 49 percent increase on the record for any auto, achieved last year for another 250 GTO. Values of classic cars, particularly Ferraris of the 1950s and 1960s, continue to grow, attracting new enthusiasts, investors and speculators -- and prompting fears of a bubble in the market.
“Today the GTO is considered the top car to own,” the California-based dealer Don Williams of Blackhawk Collection said in an interview. “It’s like the Mona Lisa. It has a mystique. If you have a GTO, you have a great collection.”
The car was acquired by Pappalardo in 1974, restored and subsequently driven by the collector in many historic races, including the 2002 Le Mans Classic, before being sold on.
“We don’t confirm these things,” Pappalardo said when telephoned last night. “I have no comment.”
The Italian marque’s 250 GTO, created in 1962 to compete at the Le Mans 24-Hour and other Grand-Touring car races, is the world’s most desirable and expensive car. Only 39 were produced. An apple-green version, made for the British race driver Stirling Moss, was sold privately for a record $35 million, Bloomberg News reported in June 2012.
The latest record-breaking GTO, chassis number 5111, has a distinguished competition history, having won the 1963 Tour de France road race with the French driver Jean Guichet at the wheel.
New buyers have been attracted by classic cars’ investment potential, as well as the chance they give to participate in concours and racing events.
The bellwether auctions in California timed to coincide with the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance raised a record $301.9 million in August. The total, which included $27.5 million for a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder convertible, was the highest for a series of classic-car sales anywhere in the world, according to the Michigan-based Hagerty database.