Would You Spend $60 Million on a Ferrari?

Would You Spend $60 Million on a Ferrari?


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The Wall Street Journal
2 min
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18 Aug 2023,
08:03 PM IST





Collectors covet GTO models because of their race history.

Summary

  • RM Sotheby’s is putting a 1962 race car up for auction, with an asking price in the high eight figures

A bright-red 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO with an asking price above $60 million will go to auction this fall in a classic-car market that has continued to accelerate its prices even as other collectibles categories have slowed down.

The race car, whose sale will take place in New York during Sotheby’s major fall sales series, is a particularly rare model—one of only 34 produced by Ferrari. It is also one of two GTO models ever raced by Ferrari’s own team, Scuderia Ferrari, before being sold, according to Gord Duff, global head of auctions for Sotheby’s car-auction arm, RM Sotheby’s.

GTO models are coveted by classic-car collectors because of their race history, Duff said. From 1962 to 1964, GTOs took home victories in world races such as the Tour de France Automobile and the International Championship for GT Manufacturers.

The car initially sold for about $6,000 in 1964, Sotheby’s said, which would be about $59,000 today. In 1985, it was purchased for approximately $500,000, or about $1.4 million today.

The last time RM Sotheby’s sold a 250 GTO was in 2018, a 1962 model that went for $48.4 million.

“People will definitely understand why we’re asking the price we’re asking for,” Duff said.

The Ferrari belongs to Jim Jaeger, 75, an Ohio resident who bought his first sports car when he was a teenager.

He said he began hunting for the ultimate Ferrari in the 1980s and quickly realized what he wanted was a 250 GTO. In 1985, after a lengthy search that took him across Europe, he bumped into someone at a race who knew an owner looking to sell the exact model he wanted. The car was sitting in Detroit, just four hours from his Cincinnati home.

“After looking over the car and driving it, I knew that this was the one,” Jaeger said. “It was a car that could also be enjoyed around town.”

He added that “this car strikes every nerve in your body when you drive it.”

Duff said selling the car was never discussed until now.

Last May, RM Sotheby’s sold a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe for 135 million euros, or $142 million, the most expensive car ever sold at auction. But that car was one of a kind and never intended to be sold on the open market, unlike this latest Ferrari.

Placing the car in the auction house’s high-profile fine-art-focused week in New York also reflects the growing prestige of fancy race cars and more collector interest in snapping up vintage vehicles. The sale generated by the 1955 Mercedes last year showed the auction house that it wasn’t just car collectors who were interested, Duff said.

“We wanted to be able to expose this car not just to the collector car market, but to the entire market of collectible items,” Duff said.

Collectible-car prices depend on factors such as a model’s rarity—based on how many were produced and how often the vehicle was sold or seen in prominent shows and races—as well as condition and mileage.

Ferraris remain one of the most sought-after race cars in the world, and among the most exclusive.

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