1962 Ferrari Auctioned for $51.7 Mn in New York: Sotheby’s
New York (AFP) – Sotheby’s announced that a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sports car was sold for a staggering $51.7 million in New York on Monday, making it the second most expensive car ever sold at an auction.
The bright red roadster was in the possession of an American collector for 38 years and its auction price ranked second only to the 135 million euros ($144 million) achieved by a Mercedes 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe in 2022, as reported by the auction house.
The auction for the 250 GTO commenced on Monday evening and lasted only a few minutes, with the winning bid falling below the expected price of over $60 million, set by RM Sotheby’s, the luxury car subsidiary of the auction house. The identity of the winning bidder remains undisclosed.
Dating back to 1962, this legendary Scuderia sports car, with chassis number 3765 and a four-liter engine producing 390 horsepower, secured a second-place finish in a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) race at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit. The car also participated in the renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it had to retire due to engine failure.
After several years of competing in Italy and Sicily, the vehicle was sold and exported to the United States in the late 1960s. It went through multiple American owners, underwent restoration and modifications until it landed in the possession of a dedicated collector from Ohio in 1985. The collector decided to sell the car on Monday.
Sotheby’s stated, “This stunning GTO offers its next caretaker further touring and vintage racing enjoyment, or display at major concours d’elegance and marque gatherings worldwide.”
The Mercedes 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, which fetched 135 million euros in 2022, is one of the two existing examples of the sport car. It was sold in a confidential auction held at the German manufacturer’s museum in Stuttgart and ranks as the most expensive car ever sold globally, regardless of whether it was through auction or private sale, as confirmed by an RM Sotheby’s spokesperson to AFP.
This week, New York auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s are concluding their autumn season of art sales, which have remained unaffected by challenging times and have garnered hundreds of millions of dollars since November 7.
By late Monday, Christie’s reported a total of $864 million, boosted by the sale of Claude Monet’s “Le bassin aux nymphéas” (“Water Lily Pond”) for $74 million and three paintings by Paul Cezanne for $53 million.
Sotheby’s, which is closing its New York sales on Thursday, achieved a record-breaking sale with Pablo Picasso’s “Femme à la montre” (“Woman with a Watch”) for $139 million on Wednesday, the second-highest amount ever realized for the Spanish master. Furthermore, Sotheby’s sold a Cezanne painting, “Peupliers au bord de l’Epte, temps couvert” (“Poplars on the banks of the Epte, overcast”), for $30.7 million to an Asian collector on Monday.
Meanwhile, an 1892 Monet painting, “Le Moulin de Limetz” (“The Mill at Limetz”), which had been in the possession of the same American family for 130 years, was sold for $25.6 million. Lastly, American painter Mark Rothko set a new record for works on paper with the sale of his piece titled “Untitled” to an anonymous bidder in the room for $23.8 million.
Despite the tense international context, the market remains driven by China and Asia and shows no signs of slowing down, as acknowledged by Sotheby’s. Michael Caimano of RM Sotheby’s remarked before the car sale, “Whatever happens in the financial markets, a car of this caliber is a collector’s item, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” He further compared the Ferrari to a work of art that “can be touched, felt, and heard.”