Aside from the Queen’s diamond jubilee, UK historians have the sale of an extremely rare Ferrari 250 GTO to jot down in their books this month thanks to its record breaking £20.2 million price tag – making it the most expensive car ever sold in Britain.
Although declining to comment, the lucky man receiving the cheque is thought to be Jon Hunt, founder of Foxtons estate agency, who purchased the vehicle for £15.7 million in 2008. It is the second most-expensive car ever sold in the world after a 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC allegedly received £26 million in 2010.
The legendary Ferrari 250 GTO is one of the world’s most sought-after cars, made even more special by the fact that only 39 models were built between 1962 and 1964. It has a three litre V12 engine that develops 225kW, will hit 100km/h from a standing start in 6.1 seconds and go on to a top speed of 280km/h. Despite all of these things, when it was launched in the 1960’s the 250 GTO could have been yours for a mere £6,000.
The specific vehicle sold was built in September 1963 and enjoyed a distinguished racing career. It made its motorsport debut later on that month in the Tour de France road race, finishing second at the hands of Carlo Maria Abate and Lucien Bianchi. The following year it enjoyed victories at the Rallye de Picardie, Rallye du Limousin and Les Andelys hillclimb.
It continued to race until 1996 when it was bought by the chairman of Korean electronics giant Samsung, Mr Lee Kun-hee. In 2007 the vehicle changed hands again when it was sold to British property developer William Ainscough, with Mr Hunt taking ownership the following year.
The most recent sale was confirmed this week by John Collins, from classic Ferrari specialist Talacrest. The company has been in the business for some thirty years and despite the economic downturn had record sales in 2011.
“Classic Ferraris have seen more gains than others; they’re like the Picassos of the car world,” explained Mr Collins.
“Wealthy people are spending a lot of money on classic Ferraris and everyone wants a GTO at the moment.”
* First published in Autodealer KZN – 17 February 2012