1962 Ferrari Fetches $51.7 Million at Sotheby’s

A bright red Ferrari with a storied history sold Monday for $51.7 million including buyer’s premium, making it the Italian automaker’s most expensive car ever sold at auction. Still, the price fell short of the auction house’s expectations, at a time when the once red-hot collectibles market began to cool due to geopolitical uncertainty and rising interest rates.

Sotheby’s RM, the automobile seller in which Sotheby’s acquired a majority stake in 2022, offered Scaglietti’s 1962 Ferrari 330 LM/250 GTO with an unpublished estimate of $60 million. Two bidders pushed the price to $47 million before auction house fees. (RM Sotheby’s declined to provide buyer information.)

Sotheby’s promoted the car as a luxury item and offered it as a retail sale during its major fall fine art auctions in New York. To make the point, auctioneer Oliver Barker – who is also chairman of Sotheby’s Europe – led the negotiations at Sotheby’s headquarters on York Avenue, where the car was parked in front of a painting by contemporary art star Jonas Wood.

There are only 36 Ferrari 250 GTOs made between 1962 and 1964. Owners of the car immediately become members of an exclusive club that includes fashion designer Ralph Lauren and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.

Sotheby’s RM described this particular car as “one of a kind.” Although it looks almost identical to a 250 GTO, it was originally configured as a 330 LM, an even rarer car with a slightly larger engine. Later in 1962 it was converted into a 250 GTO and is the only car ever raced by Scuderia Ferrari, the car manufacturer’s racing division. Ferrari sold it to a Sicilian surgeon in 1964 for $6,000.

The car, chassis number 3765, failed to match the current auction record for a classic car, set last year when Sotheby’s RM sold a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe for 135 million euros, about $144 million today. (A Ferrari 250 GTO was reported to have sold privately in 2016 for more than $70 million.)

The $51.7 million price tag is still a significant premium over the roughly $500,000 the property sold for when it last changed hands in 1985 — or $1.4 million today — according to Gord Duff, global head of auctions at RM Sotheby’s. An RM Sotheby’s spokesman confirmed that the seller was Jim Jaeger, an Ohio-based collector and co-founder of a radar detection company.

Simon Kidston, a Geneva-based classic car dealer, said chassis number 3765’s unique history may have done more harm than good. “It’s a great car. Unfortunately, I don’t think everyone understands it,” he said. “In a market where appearance is very important and people value the comfort of being part of a group of like-minded owners, it is always a little more challenging to sell anything that requires an explanation.”

Originally posted 2023-11-14 02:14:20.