The pastel-green 1962 Ferrari 250GTO that was made for legendary racing driver Sir Stirling Moss has set a new bar for expensive collector cars: It was sold for a record $35 million in a private sale last month. It takes the crown as the most expensive car ever sold from a 1936 Type 57SC Bugatti Atlantic that reportedly sold for $34 million in 2010.
This 250GTO (chassis number 3505GT) was originally built for Moss to use in the 1962 Le Mans 24-hour race, although he never got to drive the car in anger after a career-ending crash at the Goodwood circuit in England on April 23 of that year. The GTO did race at the Circuit de la Sarthe in ’62 with Innes Ireland and Masten Gregory sharing driving duties, but it didn’t finish, dropping out of the race with electrical problems after 165 laps. Ireland went on to pilot 3505GT to a win the 1962 Tourist Trophy at Goodwood, and the car also captured a few race and hillclimb titles over the next couple of years.
A 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype sold during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for a whopping $16.39 million, making this lithe red racing car the most expensive vehicle ever sold at auction. Built for racing – and not white suit-wearing Miami detectives like the mid-engine 1980s version – the original pontoon-fenderedTesta Rossa is widely considered one of the most beautiful cars ever created. The name, Italian for “red head,” is derived from the car’s red valve covers.
Hot on the heels of this phenomenal Ferrari was a 1931 Duesenberg Model J “Whittell Coupe,” which sold for $10.34 million. This represents a new record price for an American car sold at auction. In total, Gooding & Company, the official auction house of the Pebble Beach weekend, sold in excess of $78 million in collector cars. That’s proof the recession might finally be coming to an end, or wealthy investors are giving up on volatile stocks for something a lot more fun to own.
Other notable sales included a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider, which sold for $3.35 million, a $2.58 million sale of a Shelby Cobra 289 Factory Team Car, along with the sale of Bentley’s oldest surviving production car, a 1921 Bentley 3-Liter which found a new home once bidding stopped at $962,500.