At a recent RM Sotheby’s auction centered on modern art, the auction house wanted to make a splash by bringing the hammer down on a different kind of art: a classic 1962 Ferrari. More precisely, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in cherry red. The bidders at the event showed up to win, eventually driving the final sale price up to a staggering $52 million.
That sale price makes this car the second-most expensive ever sold at auction, behind the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe that sold for $142 million last year (that particular item is a prototype and one of only two in the world, which contributes strongly to its market value among collectors). To compare, this 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was one of 34 manufactured by the legendary Italian automaker, and one of just two to be used on the racetrack by the company’s racing team Scuderia Ferrari.
Ferrari GTO models that have actual racing in their histories are especially desirable among classic car collectors and Ferrari enthusiasts. And this one definitely has that, having been driven to a second place finish (and first in its class) at the 1962 Nürburgring 1000 KM. Additionally, it was driven during the 24 Hours of Le Mans race that same year.
The car was sold by collector Jim Jaeger, who made out quite well in the deal, having purchased it back in 1985 for the relatively paltry sum of $500,000. The buyer’s identity, on the other hand remains unknown as of this writing.
Despite the sky-high final sale price of the vehicle, that $52 million sum is actually reported to be a little less than pre-sale value estimates for the car. In fact, back in September it was reported that the vehicle’s opening bid would be for $60 million, so there appears to have been some cooling off in between then and when it actually went up for sale. For some added context, it’s been about five years since RM Sotheby’s had a Ferrari GTO on the auction block, when in 2018 another 1962 model sold for $48.4 million.