The quest for the "Holy Grail" - billionaires line up for world's most expensive car
At 8pm on Saturday August 25, one of the greatest heavyweight contests in history will take place. It won't take place in a boxing ring or an octagonal cage, but on the Monterey auction block of RM-Sothebys, the collectible car auction company that has sold more elite automobiles than any other company in the world over the last decade. The contest will be for the ownership of the world's most coveted collectible car – a Ferrari 250 GTO.
The Ferrari 250 GTO is the "Holy Grail" for car collectors. Over the course of the last half century, the Ferrari 250 GTO has emerged as the most desirable and potent blend of style, exclusivity, performance, heritage and status of any automobile.
Statistics unquestionably show that Ferrari is already the most desirable collectible car marque. At any point in time, Ferraris make up more than half the top 100 most valuable cars sold at auction, and the prices paid for Ferrari 250 GTOs over the last three decades would make up the vast majority of the highest outright prices paid (including dealer sales and brokered private sales) for any automobile.
The world car auction record of US$38.1 million was set at Bonhams' Quail Lodge Sale in August, 2014 by a 1962-63 Ferrari 250 GTO, but many unverified private GTO sales have far exceeded that figure, with the outright world record for a private sale of a car believed to have been set by a 250 GTO at $70-$80 million in May, 2018.
With another Ferrari 250 GTO headed for auction in Monterey on Saturday night, the stage is set for a showdown between the world's UHNWI (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals) for an entry ticket to one of the world's most exclusive clubs.
Ferrari 250 GTO Price history
Normally, the rarity of an object is directly proportional to its value. For example, let's look at the cars that have previously sold at auction for more than $25 million (other than the world record 250 GTO).
There were only three extant (four were made) examples of the Ferrari 335S Spider that sold for €32,075,200 (US$35.7 million) in 2016.
When Juan Manuel Fangio's Mercedes-Benz W196R Silver Arrow sold for £19,601,500 (US$29,600,000) in 2013, it was one of only 14 W196R machines ever created. With 10 extant (three in museums and six owned by Mercedes-Benz), it was the only Silver Arrow W196R publicly available.
In 2015, a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM sold for $28,050,000 in New York. Only four were ever made, and this one was driven by the best driver in history too. That's Fangio poised at 6:00 am for the start of the Mille Miglia in this car in the picture above.
In 2013, one of ten 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 S NART Spiders sold at auction for $27,700,000. Unlike all the others, it had never been raced, had been with one family from new, was in perfect condition and had been donated to charity, which always adds a premium at auction.
In 2014, one of just three 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciales sold for $26,400,000.
By comparison, there are a lot more Ferrari GTOs than there should be for them to command such stratospheric prices. The exact number that were produced is a tad complex to understand: 33 Series I cars were made in 1962-63 with the Series I body we all recognize, another three series II cars with an LM style body were made in 1964, plus another three 330 GTOs (with a four-liter engine) in 1964, and four of the Series I cars were transformed by the factory to Series II bodies in 1964 too. So, depending on what you classify as a genuine GTO, the answer is 29, 33, 36 or 39. Regardless, they all still exist, and they have traditionally been so closely held that only one has been offered at auction in recent times.
The collectible car marketplace has three tiers: the auction marketplace, collectible car dealers and private sales. The auction segment only accounts for between 10 and 25 percent of the total market, so it is just the tip of this massive multi-billion-dollar iceberg, and as the only visible part, it obfuscates what has really happened and gets all the attention.
As you will see in the details below, the Ferrari 250 GTO would have held the world outright record for much of the last four decades if the real sales in the private "brokered" segment of the market had been visible.
When new, the GTO sold for $18,500, but as often happened when racing cars were no longer competitive at the highest level, they rapidly declined in value, with one selling for $4,000 in 1965, another for $3,600 in 1966 and the lowest known cash transaction price for a 250 GTO being $2,500 in 1969.
By the late 1970s, prices had risen to past $100,000, and the first known million-dollar sale occurred in 1986. A rare GTO appearance at a public (Christies) auction in Monaco in 1987 saw #4561GT sold for $1,545,750.
In the late 1980s, during the height of the the Japanese asset price bubble (the yen strengthened from an exchange rate of JPY 300 to USD in 1985 to 150 in 1989), Japanese buyers began to buy classic cars for effectively half the previous cost in yen, and the resultant collectible car price boom saw four GTO private transactions in excess of $10 million, with a peak of $16 million.
When the bubble burst, prices fell dramatically and the subsequent lull saw private prices recede to a low of $2,000,000 in 1994.
In 2004, 250 GTO prices climbed back above the $10 million mark, with unconfirmed sales then seeing the value of the model accelerate quickly to $26 million in 2010, $35 million in 2012, then a private sale of 250 GTO #5111 in 2013 for a reported $52 million. Provenance adds a premium to the sale price of elite cars, and the car in question had an impressive competition history, including having won the epic 2,300-km (1,429-mi) 1963 Tour de France Automobile.
Hence the auction record of $38.1 million in 2014 was only a rough indication of the prices being paid privately in the 250 GTO marketplace – the auction car wasn't a perfect example, and had little provenance compared to its GTO brethren.
By November, 2016, the $38.1 million world auction record price seemed to have catalyzed movement in the private and dealer market to such an extent that three 250 GTOs were for sale privately or on the dealer market with prices all in the vicinity of $55.8 to $57 million.
The price trajectory continued upwards in late May, 2018 when another private Ferrari 250 GTO (Chassis #4153) was widely reported as having sold for $70-$80 million to WeatherTech founder David MacNeil.
The Monterey auction is hence being seen as an important milestone in the GTO price history as it will be one of a handful of sales in which the price has been publicly visible.
Why the Ferrari 250 GTO is a blue chip investment
British media personality Chris Evans (above) is one of the select few to have owned BOTH the world's most expensive (auction) car and a Ferrari 250 GTO. Evans purchased actor James Coburn's 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider at RM Auctions Ferrari – Leggenda e Passione auction in May, 2008 for €7,040,000 (US$10,894,900).
That same year he wrote an article for the Telegraph (UK) newspaper entitled Why the Ferrari 250 GTO is the best possible investment. That article encapsulates most of the reasons that an enthusiast might consider in justifying to themselves why the 250 GTO has become the apex automobile in a market worth many billions of dollars and tens of thousands of cars each year … except for the investment returns, the prestige and the networking with the world's highest performance people involved.
Following his own advice, Chris Evans purchased a Ferrari 250 GTO in 2010 for £12,000,000, selling it less than three years later for £18,000,000.
Now the 250 GTO has been openly acknowledged as the car you have to have as a car collector, it is attracting a wider audience of buyers who want to be in THE CLUB!
The Ferrari 250 GTO Owners Club
Not surprisingly, counting only people who can afford to have a car in the garage worth $50 million thins the herd to a few hundred of Planet Earth's burgeoning population, and the select group of individuals who will be eligible to join Ferrari's 60th anniversary GTO tour in 2022 are the absolute elite of car collectors, and a loose gathering of the world's highest achievers.
Not all of the owners of Ferrari 250 GTO cars are known, with many owners preferring anonymity, and though some previous lists of 250 GTO owners have been published, they are now well out of date and no-one knows who they all are.
The degree of wealth which GTO owners have stored in their garage generally runs well beyond a single car, often running to more than a hundred cars, many of them worth tens of millions into the bargain. There was a survey done a few years ago that concluded the average Bugatti owner also owns 84 cars, three jets, and a yacht. The 250 GTO owners club is infinitely more elite, because you can buy a Bugatti for a fraction of the price of a GTO.
One of the things that became obvious in researching this article is that there seems to be some sort of affinity between the GTO and the Ferrari 250 TR (Testa Rossa), because a very high percentage of GTO owners also have a 250 TR to keep their GTO company.
GTO owners who also own Testa Rossas include Rob Walton, Ralph Lauren, Charles Nearburg, Anthony Wang, Giuseppe Lucchini, John McCaw, Giorgio Perfetti, Lawrence Stroll, Tom Price, John Mozart, Peter Sachs, Chip Connor, Lord Anthony Bamford and Carlos Hank Rhon. That's 14 GTO owners who also own a Ferrari Testa Rossa.
There were only 22 serial numbers allocated by Ferrari for the the TR and 20 machines extant. Do the math!
Hank Rhon purchased the most expensive car to sell at auction in the world at the time when he outbid all comers to score the 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (#0666TR) which fetched $16.39 million at Gooding's Pebble Beach auction in 2011.
Here's a précised list of the known GTO Owners:
Lawrence Stroll | Ferrari 250 GTO #3451
Best known as the former Chairman of the Tommy Hilfiger brand, Canadian Lawrence Stroll is now an investor (ranked #722 on Forbes' list of the world's billionaires with a net worth of $2.7 billion) with a deep love of automobiles.
Indeed, high performance cars run in the family, because Lawrence's son Lance Stroll is currently in his second season with Williams Martini F1, scoring a podium position (third place, at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix) in an uncompetitive car during his first year, becoming the second-youngest driver to finish an F1 race on the podium and the youngest to do so during his rookie season. That's Lance Stroll getting blurred at the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix above. Lance was also Italian F4 champion in 2014, Toyota Racing Series champion in 2015, and the 2016 FIA European Formula 3 champion.
Lawrence purchased 250 GTO #3451 in 1996, two years before Lance was born, and immediately went about finding and installing the original engine in time to drive the 35th anniversary GTO tour in 1997, subsequently attending Brandon Wang's GTO Garden party and the Coys International Historic Festival at Silverstone in 1998.
Stroll has driven #3451 in all the anniversary tours since then, the period-dress Goodwood Revival Meeting in the United Kingdom, and dozens of events in the United States. Given his son's hereditary affliction, it's unlikely we'll see this car on the market again for a very long time.
Craig McCaw | Ferrari 250 GTO #3505GT
Craig McCaw was one of America's mobile phone pioneers who saw the future and moved faster than the incumbent telcos to develop the networks and mobile services the public wanted. He was one of four brothers who inherited McCaw Communications and created McCaw Cellular (now part of AT&T Mobility) then Clearwire, and his philosophy of "filling a need that others aren't addressing" has built his net worth to $1.76 billion. Two of his brothers own another GTO.
McCaw purchased this car in May, 2012 for a reported $35 million from Dutch-born British vineyard owner Eric Heerema. Heerema bought the GTO in 2005 for $8.5 million from Japanese collector Yoshiho Matsuda, who in turn had traded his way into the car in a deal brokered by Talacrest in 2000 for a price in the vicinity of $8.0 million.
As is the case with most GTO owners, it's not the only car in the shed, and in McCaw's case it is just one of many superb examples of almost every conceivable piece of automotive exotica one can imagine. The collection built by Craig and his brother Bruce included more than 400 cars, before they began pruning the less-than-perfect examples.
McCaw's GTO was originally built for legend Stirling Moss, but Moss never actually raced it because his career finished on April 23, 1962 when he crashed a Lotus during the Glover Trophy at Goodwood, putting himself in a coma and partially paralyzing his left side for six months.
The car had been ordered by British Racing Partnerships which raced under the UDT Laystall banner in 1962, hence its distinctive green colour. The team was owned by former Indy 500 competitor, Alfred Moss, father of Stirling, and was shared by Innes Ireland and Marsten Gregory for the remainder of the season. Gregory took a second place at Silverstone before the pair struck trouble at the halfway mark in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and retired. Ireland took wins at Brands Hatch and the 1962 Tourist Trophy at Goodwood before season's end when the car was sold to Austrian actor Gunther Philipp who won the 1963 and 1964 Austrian GT championships in the car.
Baron Irvine Laidlaw | Ferrari 250 GTO #3527GT
Scottish businessman Irvine Laidlaw is a former member of the House of Lords who made his fortune by starting the international conference company Institute for International Research (IIR) in 1974 and selling it for £768 million ($1.4 billion) in 2005.
There are many indications that the good Baron understands what money is meant to be used for, including that at his current tender 72 years of age, he only gave up racing cars five years ago. When his collection of racing cars were sold by RM-Sothebys in 2013, they included a Le-Mans-winning 1955 Jaguar D-Type, a 1965 Porsche 904/6 Carrera GTS, a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Berlinetta Competizione, a 1957 Maserati 250S by Fantuzzi, a 1960 Maserati Tipo 61 "Birdcage", a 1970 Chevron B16 and a 1971 Chevron B19.
This particular 250 GTO was driven in period by the likes of Umberto Maglioli, Lucien Bianchi and Claude Dubois, and had a spectacularly successful year in 1963 in the hands of Swiss banker Armand Boller. The car's provenance includes being owned for seven years by Lord Anthony Bamford. Laidlaw purchased Ferrari 250 GTO #3527GT in January, 2005 for an undisclosed price.
Engelbert Stieger | Ferrari 250 GTO #3589GT
The founder of Stieger Textiles, Engelbert Stieger purchased 250 GTO #3589GT in July 1988, immediately having the car comprehensively restored by Sportgarage Fritz Leirer and showing it for the first time at the 1990 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Over the subsequent decade it appeared at the most prestigious events across Europe before becoming part of the Stieger Family's Turning Wheel Collection in St.Gallen.
The collection also includes a 1951 Ferrari 212 Inter Vignale Berlinetta, a 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Vignale Spider, a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider, a 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM, a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/2, a 1966 Ferrari Dino 206S, a 1970 Ferrari 512 S/M, a 1972 Ferrari 312 P, a 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Coupe, a 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC/4, a 1973 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider, the 1973 Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2 Prototype, a 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO, a 1988 Ferrari F40, a 2003 Ferrari Enzo Collectors Edition and a dozen more recent Ferraris.
This GTO's journey reflects the racing car's curse of being considered worthless once it was no longer competitive in its class. In the immediate years after it was built it had a spectacular history, being driven by such notables as Michael Parkes, Richie Ginther and Innes Ireland, before falling on hard times. By 1970 it was being rented out by the "Motor Cars Masculine" exotic car rental business of North Royalton, Ohio at $34 a day – #3589 couldn't keep a job, however, and from 1972 to 1986 it sat on an open-top trailer in a field. What happened between 1986 and 1988 is unclear, because 250 GTO #3589GT went from being effectively abandoned to being sold to Engelbert Stieger for $4.2 million and was subsequently restored.
Rob Walton | Ferrari 250 GTO #3607GT &
Ferrari 250 GTO #5575GT & Ferrari 330 LMB #4453SA
Samuel Robson "Rob" Walton is the eldest son of the founder of Walmart, Sam Walton. He served as Chairman of Walmart from 1992 to 2015. With a net worth of more than $40 billion, Rob Walton is one of the 20 wealthiest people on the planet.
Ferrari 250 GTO #3607GT has a fascinating history, having sold at a Sotheby's Monaco auction in May, 1990 for $9,588,780 plus commission but the buyer didn't pay up. In August, 1991, it sold again for $6.9 million before being traded back to one of its previous owners, Pierre Bardinon, in exchange for a Ferrari 330 P3/4. In 1994 it was sold by Talacrest to Walton for $3.5 million.
Walton has since driven it in Tour de France Auto, Spa Ferrari Days, the 40th, 45th and 50th anniversary GTO tours, and shown it at Pebble Beach. His car collection includes a 1965 Shelby Cobra, a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM, a 1960 Maserati T60, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB, a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, plus another 250 and a 330 LMB.
Both of Rob Walton's GTOs had successful in-period racing histories, with his second Ferrari 250 GTO (#5575GT) campaigned from new by the famous Ecurie Francorchamps Racing Team. The car finished fourth outright and second in class at the 1964 1,000km Nurburgring race, and fifth outright and second in the GT class at the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans, both times driven by Lucien Bianchi with Gerard Langlois van Ophem sharing the first result and Belgian Jean Blaton the second.
#5575GT was owned by Carlos Hank Rhon from 1998 to 2012 when it was sold to Walton.
Walton's third "GTO" is the 330 LMB 4-liter front-engined prototype ( #4453SA) that Mamie Spears Reynolds purchased on June 5, 1963 to replace Ferrari 250 GTO #4219GT in her Reynolds Racing Team (read more about Mamie when we get to Brandon Wang's Ferrari 250 GTO #4219GT further down this list).
#4453SA's first start was just 10 days later (June 15/16, 1963) in the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it ran under the N.A.R.T banner with Dan Gurney and Jim Hall driving. In practice, one of the other Ferrari 330 cars (#3765GT) became the first car to surpass 300 km/h (186 mph) on the 6-km (3.7-mi) Mulsanne Straight. In the race, #4453SA was in third place at the halfway mark, but a half-shaft broke and they retired.
The car's only other start was the Bridgehampton Double 500 in September where Dan Gurney finished second in class and third outright and it was onsold before the end of 1963, having eight owners in the next six years. Life was interesting for #4453SA, being owned by one of the heirs to the Coca Cola fortune and during 1968 it was traded for a Bugatti Type 57 SC Atalante and a Mercedes 300SL roadster. Hindsight is indeed the only 20:20 vision.
The churn of owners continued until 1989 when Anthony Wang (now owner of Ferrari 250 GTO #3769GT) purchased it, reselling it 15 years later to the current owner, Rob Walton.
Rob Walton arguably owns three Ferrari GTOs, even if one is a 330 GTO with a different name.
Ed Davies | Ferrari 250 GTO #3705GT
GTO #3705GT was purchased by Ed Davies of Coral Gables, Florida in 1994 from Japanese collector Yoshiyuki Hayashi, and has been driven in all the anniversary tour events, raced all around the world at the most prestigious historic race meetings, and shown across America at the most important concours events.
Indeed, we're not sure what Ed and wife Leslie have done work-wise to accumulate their stellar car collection, because a few years ago a motoring journalist asked Ed what he did for a job, and he answered, "not much of anything." That's not bad considering there's at very least a 250 TR, a 290 MM, an Enzo and an F50 in the garage.
In its day, GTO #3705GT raced in all the famous events from the Targa Florio and Tour de France to the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning its class in the latter and finishing second outright.
It was offered for sale in 1969 by then owner Cox Kocher for CHF 30,000 (around US$6,380 at that time) but no other price points have been made public along the way.
Jon Shirley | Ferrari 250 GTO #3729GT
Jon Shirley is a former President, Chief Operating Officer, and a director of Microsoft Corporation who guided the company through its Initial Public Offering. Prior to Microsoft, Shirley worked for Tandy Corporation.
Jon's #3729GT had a successful racing history in its youth, being driven by such greats as Roy Salvadori, Graham Hill (pictured below in this car) and Richie Ginther.
In 1998, 250 GTO #3729GT was offered privately by Brooks Auctions (Brooks would buy Bonhams in 2001, become Bonhams & Brooks and subsequently Bonhams again), at an asking price around $6 million. It was purchased shortly thereafter by Shirley, though the final price was not disclosed. Shirley is a serious car collector, as this SportsCar Digest interview indicates, as does the clip below.
At the time of the interview, Shirley owned 27 cars, including an 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B, a 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti coupe, a Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder, a 1949 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta, a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, a Maserati 300S, a 1934 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3, a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, a 1967 Jaguar E-Type 4.2 Roadster, a 1954 Jaguar XK120, and the ex-Michael Schumacher 1997 F310B Ferrari F1.
Nick Mason | Ferrari 250 GTO #3757GT
Nick Mason was the drummer in Pink Floyd, the English rock band that began in 1965 (when the GTO was still winning races), broke up in 1995, got back together again in 2005 for a short time, then reformed in 2012 through 2014.
Wikipedia describes Pink Floyd thus: Distinguished by their use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, extended compositions, and elaborate live shows, they are one of the most commercially successful and influential groups in popular music history.
Mason may well be one of the world's most influential and financially successful musicians, but he has motor oil running in his family's veins. Nick's father Bill was a film maker who drove in the Mille Miglia and he made countless documentaries about the history of motorsport.
Nick Mason and fellow-superstar Dave Gilmour (also of Pink Floyd) made a documentary about the famous Carrera Panamerica that is well worth checking out.
At the time of Nick Mason's purchase of GTO #3757GT for $86,000, Pink Floyd's albums The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975) and Animals (1977) had all been released. Remarkably, The Dark Side of the Moon was still on the Billboard charts five years after its release and would remain so for another nine years.
The band was beginning work on The Wall (1979) at the time – an album so broad in concept that, like Michael Jackson's Thriller, it would be a landmark in entertainment, pointing the way to the future. The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall are now amongst the top 30 best-selling albums of all time. The Dark Side of the Moon sits at number #3 on the all-time best seller list behind Michael Jackson's Thriller and AC/DC's Back in Black. The Wall is #2 on the all-time best-seller list of double albums.
Despite a hectic schedule in his day job, upon taking delivery of Ferrari 250 GTO #3757, Mason immediately prepped the car for combat and drove it in the Oldtimer GP at Nürburgring on August 12-13, 1978. For those unfamiliar with motorsport, the Nürburgring racetrack is regarded to this day as the most demanding racetrack in the world, and the 22.8-km (14.2-mi) Nordschleife section in particular is legendary for its complex mixture of surface, camber, altitude (the altitude of the surface varies 300 meters), track temperature (many sections are shaded by trees), technically complex corners and braking areas. Four-time World Champion Jackie Stewart famously called it the "Green Hell" and it isn't the place for an inexperienced numpty to learn how to drive a 300-hp, 800-kg racing car, lest they be smeared across the scenery.
Nick Mason was most certainly never a motorsport numpty, having driven his beloved Ferrari 250 GTO #3757 in every anniversary tour event since 1982, famously "dropping a valve" on the outskirts of Paris during the 20th Anniversary Tour event, plus countless races since he purchased the car 40 years ago. As often as not, he let's others play with his $50 million toy, and those who have demonstrated the surgical precision of the GTO on the racetrack range from his wife Annette, through internationally recognised stars Damon Hill, Marino Franchitti, Martin Brundle and Jean Alesi.
Lord Anthony Bamford | Ferrari 250 GTO #3767GT &
Ferrari 250 GTO#4399GT
Anthony Bamford (Oakamoor, U.K.) succeeded his father, Joseph Cyril Bamford, as Chairman and Managing Director of JCB (Joseph Cyril Bamford Excavators Limited) in 1975, at the age of 30. He was knighted in 1990 at the age of 45. He owns two Ferrari 250 GTOs.
Anthony nearly purchased Jaguar from Ford in 2006, but reportedly didn't want Land Rover (we can't be right all the time) and has an approximate net worth of $3.9 billion. He purchased Ferrari 250 GTO #3767GT in 1974 for an unknown price.
#3767GT was successfully raced in period, with a fourth place in the 1962 Tour de France Auto (behind a Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competition and two identical Ferrari 250 GTOs) and wins in the 1962 Kyalami 9 Hour, 1962 Angola GP and a class win at the secondFIA 500-km race at Bridgehampton of the Double 500. Other notable results included a fourth and a fifth place in class at the 12 Hours of Sebring and third in class and sixth outright at the 1963 1000 km Nürburgring.
This car has been driven in competition extensively by Anthony, who drove it in the 30th, 35th and 40th anniversary GTO tours, by daughter Alice in the 45th Anniversary Tour and by his son Joe in the 50th Anniversary Tour. Joe has also been racing the car since 2006, usually sharing the driving with TV presenter, race engineer and driver Alain de Cadenet.
That's Lord Bamford's other GTO #4399GT above, which he purchased in 1969, subsequently driving it in the25th anniversary GTO tour (1987). Along the way, he has slotted such luminaries as John Surtees, Damon Hill and Jean Alesi behind the wheel. Lord Bamford also once owned the Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196 F1 car mentioned elsewhere in this article.
Anthony Wang | Ferrari 250 GTO #3769GT
Anthony Wang studied Law at Yale and Cornell Law School before joining his brother Charles at Computer Associates, which Charles had founded in 1976.
As President and CEO, Anthony presided over the company, which became the largest software company in the world before he retired at the tender age of 49 in 1992. He said in an interview with the New York Times upon his retirement: "I didn't want to wait until I'm old and decrepit, having amassed a great fortune, and not enjoyed life. Computer Associates is one of those all-consuming places; either you're in it 100 percent or you're not."
Anthony has certainly used his "great fortune" to enjoy himself since then. He purchased Ferrari 250 GTO #3769GT 22 years ago, reunited it with its original engine and subsequently drove it in Ferrari's 50th Anniversary event in 1997, the Coys International Historic Festival at Silverstone (U.K.) in 1997, and the 35th Anniversary GTO Tour in 1997.
His acquisition of Ferrari 250 GTO #3769 in 1996 made his family the only one in the entire world to have both "his and hers" Ferrari 250 GTOs as his wife Lulu had purchased Ferrari 250 GTO #4713 a decade earlier. Before jumping to any sexist assumptions, Lulu made her fortune in her own right, and both Anthony and Lulu have shown and raced both GTOs all over the world. Between them they have a very large and beautifully maintained fleet of Ferraris, including a 330LMB, 250P, 250LM, 500TR, 250TR, 166MM, GT 250 SWB, plus, both short and long wheelbase Ferrari GT 250 California Spyders. The last two alone add at least $20 million to the value of the collection, and the 330 LMB is one of the 1964 factory prototypes that is sometimes counted as a GTO. That's quite some collection.
Ferrari 250 GTO #3769GT was campaigned from new for four years in events across France, with many wins, before having a string of short term custodians before being purchased by world-renowned cancer surgeon, Paul F. Schouwenburg in 1971.
Schouwenburg published the book Ferrari Fever: A Lifetime Collecting, Restoring and Racing the Rarest Italian Automobiles, detailing his passion for restoring a cavalcade of rare Ferraris, with 250 GTO #3769GT one of the cars extensively featured in the book and appearing on the front cover (above) and the back cover. This car was returned to perfection by a world-leading surgeon – not many cars can claim such an honor.
Just what happened to #3769GT in the intervening years is hard to trace, with it being auctioned in Las Vegas in November 1991 with a claimed winning bid of $5.8 million (disputed), then again in Tokyo just four months later where it failed to attract a single bid.
Note that with an LMB in the garage, the Wangs are effectively a three GTO family.
Ernesto Bertarelli | Ferrari 250 GTO #3809
Italian-born, Swiss biotech entrepreneur Ernesto Bertarelli became CEO of his father's pharmaceuticals company, Serono, in 1996, and inherited ownership with his sister in 1998. Under Ernesto's leadership, the company's primary focus became biotechnology, and annual revenues increased from $809 million in 1996 to $2.8 billion in 2006. The company's most notable achievements in this period were the discovery of a natural hormone used in the treatment of female infertility, and treatments for multiple sclerosis and growth hormone deficiency. The company was sold in 2007 for $13.3 billion, with Ernesto and his sister sharing an estimated $9 billion from the proceeds. He now has an estimated net worth in the vicinity of US$8.5 billion.
Whilst Ernesto Bertarelli may not yet be a global household name on account of his business exploits, he most certainly is due to his feats on the global stage of competitive sailing where he founded the yachting syndicate Team Alinghi, then skippering the winning boat in the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup in 2003, returning the "Auld Mug" to Europe for the first time since the inaugural 1851 race around the Isle of Wight. Bertarelli assembled a "dream team" crew and in the 2003 win and the successful 2007 defense, he was the only Swiss national on board. His exploits saw him awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur by France, and the Cavaliere di Gran Croce by Italy.
In a sale brokered by Simon Kidston in 2016, Bertarelli purchased 250 GTO #3809GT for a price around $45 million. Prior to Bertarelli's ownership, Ferrari 250 GTO #3809 was owned and campaigned since 1976 by German Property Developer Hartmut Ibing, who drove it in the 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th and 40th anniversary GTO tours, but has been seen only fleetingly since the turn of the millennium. It has several times been shown at Techno Classica in Essen, and also took a star turn at the Ferrari Exhibition Pantheon, in Basel, Switzerland in 2011-2012.
Concerning the sale of Ferrari 250 GTO #3809, Ibing wrote, "It is never easy to part with a car which has been part of your life for 40 years. When that car is a Ferrari 250 GTO which you dreamed of as a youth and worked hard in your business career to own, the decision is even more difficult ... the memories of this great car will stay with me forever."
The car's in-period racing history, particularly in the hands of Swiss owner-driver Kalman von Czazy, looks decidedly like a win-it-or-bin-it spree, with wins at Solitude, Innsbruck, Eberbach, Nürburgring and Monza, and big crashes at Nürburgring, Montlhery and in the Targa Florio.
Carlos Monteverde | Ferrari 250 GTO #3851GT
Carlos Monteverde is the son of billionaire philanthropist Lily Safra, who was unlucky in love four times, inheriting an estimated total of $1.2 billion upon the death of her four husbands. Using his resources wisely, Carlos Monteverde's racing career has been quite spectacular in historic racing, having twice won the Le Mans Legend race.
#3851GT is the ex-Schlesser/Oreiller/Colombo/Prinoth/Violati 250 GTO that sold at Bonhams Quail Lodge auction for $38,115,000 on August 14, 2014, setting a new world record at auction for any automobile.
#3851GT was owned by Fabrizio Violati of Rome, Italy for just short of half a century prior to that sale, meaning that Carlos Monteverde is just the fifth owner. Fabrizio Violati was scion of a wealthy family with business interests in agriculture and mineral water bottling under the Ferrarelle brand.
Carlos Monteverde's car collection is extensive, having included at various stages a Ferrari 212E, Lister Jaguar, a Jaguar D Type, a Porsche 917, a Lotus Cortina, Ferrari 250 LM, Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, Jaguar E-type, 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB, Ford Capri Mk.I RS3100, Ferrari 512 M, Ferrari 206SP Dino and a Porsche 936.
Giorgio Perfetti | Ferrari 250 GTO #3869GT
Italian Giorgio Perfetti is the co-owner of Perfetti Van Melle, the world's third largest confectionery manufacturer and the company responsible for Chupa Chups, Alpenliebe, Airheads and Mentos. According to Forbes, Giorgio and his brother Augusto have a combined net worth of $6.4 billion, now live in Switzerland and are very private, with one exception. Giorgio commissioned a series of 16 books, each detailing one Ferrari from his collection. We don't know what else has since been added to the collection, but the books cover a 1970 512 SM, a 1972 312 PB, a 1952 500 F2, a 375 F1, a 1990 F40LM, a 1954 375 Plus Spyder, a 1957 315S, a 1958 250 TR 59/60, a 1960 250 Testarossa, a 1966 Dino 206, a 1966 P3/412P, a 1961 250 GT SWB Competizione, a 1995 333 SP, a 1962 250 GTO (this car #3869GT), a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM and a 1962 250 GT SWB Spyder California.
#3869GT has been a lucky car. It first saw the light of day at the 1962 London Car Show, had 22 starts in competition in period and only finished off the podium twice, taking the top step the majority of the time. Since retiring from racing in 1965, it has had just three loving custodians of 12 years, 10 years and Giorgio has owned the car since July, 1989.
John Mozart | Ferrari 250 GTO #3909GT
John Mozart is a technology billionaire of sorts, as he was in the right place at the right time: Silicon Valley just as it became the global epicenter for digital innovation, venture capital and social media. His privately-owned Palo Alto Property Company has developed over 5.5 million square feet of high technology campuses, mixed-use projects, and Class-A office buildings. Many of his projects were built and managed by the company for his own asset portfolio, and apart from now being recognized worldwide for his car collection, his mastery of his profession earned him a spot in the Commercial Real Estate Association's Hall of Fame.
In 2011, Mozart turned his passion for automobiles into an art auto museum in Mountain View containing many of the world's finest automobiles. His cars have won awards at the world's most prestigious events, including the Pebble Beach Concours d' Elegance, and he has won at racetracks across the country. His wife, Heather, was the first woman to win the Wine Country Classic at Sears Point.
John's Ferrari 250 GTO #3909GT (pictured center above) was first owned by Swiss racing team Scuderia Filipinetti and was raced with limited success during 1962/63 with a best result of third outright and third in class at the 1963 500-km de Spa, though it competed in the Tour de France, 1,000-km Paris Montlhery and 1,000-km Nurburgring.
The car then passed through numerous custodianships, including being part of the famous collection of Gaetan Tortora, Luigi Chinetti, Alain de Cadenet, Anthony Bamford, Takeo Kato and John McCaw before being purchased by Mozart in 2000.
Charles E. Nearburg | Ferrari 250 GTO #3943GT
Charles E. (Charlie) Nearburg founded Nearburg Exploration in 1979, quickly expanding it to become one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration companies in the US. His auto racing career has been diverse and very successful. In addition to competing regularly in the Toyota Atlantic series, he has competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Ferrari 333 SP for Pilot Motorsports, had three appearances in the CART Champ Car series and he has also broken a number of land speed records, including taking the world land speed record for wheel-driven cars in 2010.
#3943GT was purchased by Pierre Noblet in late 1962, with the French driver having just shared Jean Guichet's Ferrari 250 GTO (#3705GT) in a class win and second place outright in the world's most important race, the 1962 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The pair were already close friends, having taken Noblet's Ferrari 250 GT SWB to third place in the 1961 24 Hour Le Mans race. Guichet ran a shipyard in Marseille and was a successful industrialist by the time he had turned 21, enabling him to buy and race his own Ferraris and eventually convince Enzo Ferrari he deserved a seat in works cars.
Following the 1962 Le Mans class win, the Noblet/Guichet pairing took #3943GT to fourth outright and fourth in class at the 1,000-km Paris at Montlhery in October 1962, then first outright at the 6 Hour de Dakar in Senegal in April, 1963, then Noblet drove alone for second outright and second in class at the 500-km de Spa in May. Noblet/Guichet resumed their partnership a week later to take second outright and first in class at the 1,000-km Nurburgring and Noblet then drove #3943GT for the entire 12 Hour race at Reims in June, 1963, finishing fourth outright and second in class. The celebrated pairing also shared Ferrari 330 LM #4381SA in the 1963 Le Mans 24 Hour race, breaking an oil line after eight hours and retiring.
The current owner of Ferrari 250 GTO #4757GT, Tom Price, became the owner of this car in mid-1984, racing and showing the car all over the United States until he sold it to Charlie Nearburg in January, 2010.
Ralph Lauren | Ferrari 250 GTO #3987GT
Fashion magnate Ralph Lauren has an estimated net worth of $6.2 billion, which includes one of the finest automobile collections in the world. His cars alone are worth in excess of $300 million, and the Ferrari 250 GTO #3987 he has owned since 1985 is not the only star in the show. The collection also contains a 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe (pictured below).
In a 2004 interview, Lauren said: "I've always seen cars as art. Moving art. While friends of mine were into paintings, I somehow felt that the real beauty of owning a rare and magnificently designed car was the fact that you can use it. You can look at it, enjoy its visual qualities, as with a painting, but you can also get inside and drive it - which means both enjoying the drive itself and going somewhere with it."
His tastes run from modern cars such as a Lamborghini Reventón, Ferrari LaFerrari and a McLaren F1, through a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gull-Wing, a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM, a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, a 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus, a 1957 Jaguar XKSS, a 1955 Jaguar XKD, a 1950 Jaguar XK120 Alloy Roadster, a 1933 Bugatti Type 59 Grand Prix, 1929 Blower Bentley, 1930 Mercedes-Benz "Count Trossi" SSK, 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Volante, 1965 Ferrari 275 P2/3 Drogo Spider, 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider, 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Gangloff drophead coupe, plus some gems you may not expect such as a 1954 Morgan Plus 4, a 1951 Willys jeep and a 1948 Ford "Woody" station wagon.
A small part of Lauren's collection was exhibited at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris in 2011 in the globally acclaimed exhibition entitled "L'Art de l'Automobile".
His GTO #3987 had its first race in October, 1962, winning the 1,000-km de Paris at Montlhery in the hands of the fabled Rodriguez brothers, Pedro and Ricardo. It was then purchased and campaigned in America by Roger Penske, who also put Augie Pabst and Richie Ginther behind the wheel during a year that included winning its class and taking fourth outright in the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1963.
Peter Sachs | Ferrari 250 GTO #4091GT
Peter Sachs is the grandson of Samuel Sachs who founded the famous New York investment bank Goldman Sachs, and not surprisingly, Peter spent his entire career there, joining in 1956 and retiring as a director after nearly four decades in the business. A gentleman racer his entire life, Peter purchased 250 GTO #4091GT in 1981, trading in his Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione.
His collection is extensive beyond our knowledge but includes or has included a Ferrari 250 TRI, Ferrari 365P, Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti Spyder, Ferrari 250 GT, Ferrari 225 Sport Vignale Spyder, a Ferrari 250 MM Vignale Spyder and a Ferrari 500 Mondial Spyder.
Joseph Barone and Vanessa Wong | Ferrari 250 GTO #3223G
Joseph Barone and Vanessa Wong of Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania, have been Ferrari collectors for more than two decades, winning numerous awards at elite concours events with cars such as their 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB (#2807GT), 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Alloy (#09051) and 1957 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Tour de France (#0677GT). The latter of those three cars has a fabulous in-period racing history that includes winning the 1957 Tour de France Auto and finishing third outright and first in class in the 1957 Mille Miglia.
Vanessa Wong is the step-daughter of Taiwan's Yung-Ching Wang who died in 2008, leaving assets that Forbes magazine valued at between $5 billion and $7 billion, but which several of his children believe is actually double that amount and had been hidden. The will has been contested vigorously, and after nearly a decade of litigation, was recently transferred from the American legal system to Taiwan's legal system with the whole process beginning again.
Joseph and Vanessa have owned Ferrari 250 GTO #3223GT since November, 2004 when they paid $10.6 million in a sale brokered by David Gizzi of Euro Classics.
Ferrari 250 GTO #3223GT was the very first 250 GTO built, and was the car driven by Willy Mairesse during the initial racetrack testing in late 1961. It was also the first GTO ever seen by the public when it was presented to the world on February 24, 1962. That's it below, on the day of the press conference.
In June, 1962, #3223GT was imported into America by the Ferrari distributor, Luigi Chinetti Motors where it was sold to William McKelvy of the Scuderia Bear Racing Team based in Pittsburgh, PA, for $18,500.
The highlights of the car's initial racing history include a third in class at the 1964 12 Hours of Sebring and a first in class at the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona.
Like so many of the cars on our top 100 most valuable cars listing, racing cars once plummeted in value when they were no longer competitive. In 1966 it changed hands for $3,600, with the low point coming for #3223 in 1969 when the aristocratic but completely unappreciated Ferrari crossed the auction block in Baltimore, fetching just $2,500. Almost all new cars in 1969 cost more than $2,500, with the Cadillac de Ville V-8 selling for $5,936, a Lincoln Continental V-8 costing $6,046, and a Chevrolet Impala V-8 costing $2,999.
Dr. Robert Bodin of Minneapolis, MN, purchased the car in 1974, driving it in the 20th, 25th and 30th anniversary GTO tours, racing it in many of the early historic events and attending the FF40 International Ferrari Concours in Belgium. In late 1992 he restored the car before selling it to Japanese collector Yoshikuni Okamoto for $3.5 million in a deal brokered by David Gizzi of Euro Classics.
Okamoto showed the car at Pebble Beach in 1994 before shipping it to Japan where it appeared regularly at the most prestigious concours events. In November, 2004, Joseph Barone and Vanessa Wong paid $10.6 million in a sale brokered by David Gizzi.
The finest moment for Ferrari 250 GTO #3223GT was August 21, 2011 when the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance held a 50th birthday party for the Ferrari 250 GTO, and 22 genuine GTOs attended.
On that day, 250 GTO #3223GT picked up not one, but two awards. In addition to being best in class in the most important concours in the world, it also took out the Strother McMinn Design Award for its inspirational design. Getting a clear run at Ferrari 250 GTO #3223GT with a camera that day was nearly impossible according to New Atlas' Somer Hooker.
David MacNeil | Ferrari 250 GTO #4153GT
This car, Ferrari 250 GTO #4153GT, is the most expensive car ever to have sold by auction or private treaty. In late May/early June this year (2018), Weathertech founder and Chief Executive Officer David MacNeil, paid $70,000,000+ to German collector Christian Gläsel for #4153GT.
45-year-old Gläsel is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of massive German industrial company Weidmüller, and has been active in historic and sportscar racing for two decades with many big wins to his name, not to mention an extraordinary collection of vintage racing cars that at various times has included a Ford F40, a Brabham BT49D F1 car, a Sauber C11, a Vignale Spyder 166 MM, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB, a 1997 McLaren F1 GTR, a 1972 Ferrari 312PB, Shelby Cobra Daytona #CSX2300 and Ferrari 250 GTO #4153GT.
In adding the world's most expensive car to his portfolio of investments, MacNeil's $100 million plus collection is beginning to look like "Ferrari's Greatest Hits", joining a Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, a Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB, a 488 Challenge, an F50, an F40, an Enzo, a 330 GTS, a 275 GTB/4 and a 365 GTB/4 Daytona in the shed. He also owns an Aston Martin DB5, a Mercedes AMG GT3 and a Porsche 911 GT3.
MacNeil's 40-m (130-ft) motor yacht W is the height of luxury, but remarkably, it cost less than half the price of his most valuable car. You can get a good look at what $30 million buys you and put the $70 million plus GTO in perspective with a visit to the yacht's web site, where it is available for charter.
His Ferrari 250 GTO (#4153GT) is reportedly pristine, with a provenance that includes winning the 2,200-km 1964 Tour de France Automobile.
Indeed, the last months of the last fiscal year appear to have been spectacular for MacNeil, as his 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta won the GT Class at Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. That's MacNeil collecting his prize above.
Brandon Wang | Ferrari 250 GTO #4219GT
Brandon Wang has owned GTO #4219GT since January 1993 when he paid $3.5 million for the privilege. However, he has perhaps the most interesting and storied GTO of them all, as it is the car that connects the old world to the new.
It was purchased in 1963 by Mamie Spears Reynolds (1942–2014) of Asheville, NC, from the American Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti. Mamie Spears Reynolds is the daughter of former US Senator Robert Reynolds (from the R. J. Reynolds tobacco family), and Evalyn McLean Roberts of the McLean mining fortune. Mamie's grandmother, Evalyn Walsh McLean was the last private owner of the Hope Diamond (previously owned by Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire) and she also owned another of the world's most famous gemstones, the Star of India. Mamie's grandfather was the publisher of the Washington Post.
Mamie had a life of untold wealth and privilege, having inherited $10 million at age four. Her godfathers were J. Edgar Hoover and Federal Justice Frank Murphy. Mamie and her second husband Joseph were the first owners of the ABA Kentucky Colonels basketball team, she bred pygmy goats and dogs, was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and she raced cars, being the first woman to qualify for the Daytona 500 (though we cannot confirm that).
Mamie met Luigi Chinetti Jr. when she bought GTO #4219GT for her Reynolds Racing Team from Luigi Chinetti Senior in early 1963. Mamie and Coco (the nickname of Luigi Chinetti Jr.) were married on July 28, 1963 and they were divorced on September 28, 1965.
Mamie was busy during this period, as after just two starts (for a win in the Daytona Continental 3 Hour race driven by the legendary Pedro Rodriguez, and 13th outright and fourth in class at the 12 hours of Sebring driven by Joakim Bonnier and John Cannon), GTO #4219GT was sold onwards in May of that year and replaced with Ferrari 330 LMB #4453SA (see later in this article).
Sir Paul Vestey | Ferrari 250 GTO #4115GT
There's an extensive article in Classic Driver on Sir Paul Vestey, the custodian of Ferrari 250 GTO #4115GT. Paul has owned the car since 1981, and has driven it in the 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th and 50th anniversary GTO tours, the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood Revival, Prada Italia Classica, Christie's International Historic Festival at Silverstone, Tour de France Auto, Louis Vuitton Classic Boheme Run and attended Brandon Wang's GTO Garden party.
"Chip" Connor | Ferrari 250 GTO #4293GT
William Edwin "Chip" Connor II is an American businessman, born and raised in Japan, now Hong Kong-based. Connor took over the family business in Tokyo in the mid-1980s, moved it to Hong Kong and expanded it to create one of the world's largest global sourcing firms. He is chairman of Omega Compliance and has a net worth in excess of $1 billion and he has the pick of the GTO litter in this car.
#4293GT was originally intended for Scuderia San Ambreous, but for unknown reasons was never delivered. Instead, it went to Belgian Jacques Swaters for his renowned Ecurie Francorchamps team in April, 1963, and Willy Mairesse delivered a first-up outright win at the 500-km de Spa on May 12.
A month later, #4293GT finished second outright in the 24 Hours of Le Mans driven by Jean Blaton and Gerard Langlois van Ophem, with Ferrari filling the first six places and the GTO finishing second, fourth and sixth.
The month of June 1963 proved to be a purple patch for #4293GT as Jean Blaton drove it to another outright win in a sportscar race at Zolder the following weekend, then Lucien Bianchi won the class and finished third outright at the 12h Trophée de Reims the week after.
Within a week the car had been onsold, and it went through a string of American owners before spending 14 years in Japan under the custodianship of Tohru Horinouchi of Yokohama, then six years with Patrick Ma of Hong Kong.
Ma put it up for auction at a Brooks' Gstaad auction in 2000, but a high bid of CHF 13 million (US$7.67 million) failed to meet Ma's reserve.
Ma continued to show the car and drove it in conjunction with Brandon Wang in the 2002 Tour Auto from Paris to Biarritz before selling the car to Connor for an undisclosed amount.
Giuseppe Lucchini | Ferrari 250 GTO #4491GT
Giuseppe Lucchini of Brescia, Italy, is the chairman of the family-owned Lucchini RS and a motorsport enthusiast. In 1983 he set up BMS (Brixia Motor Sport) Scuderia Italia, entering the World Touring Car Championship, and subsequently Formula One from 1988 to 1993.
#4491GT was owned and campaigned from 1962 to 1964 by British driver David Piper before being onsold to another British driver, Peter Sutcliffe, who raced it in 1965 and kept it until 1971 when Piper repurchased it.
Both Piper and Sutcliffe experienced many wins in #4491GT, with the car's best performances being second outright in the 1963 British GP GT race, fourth outright and second in class at the 1963 Coppa Intereuropa at Monza, second outright and second in class at the 1964 2,000-km Daytona Continental, fourth outright and fourth in class at the 1964 500-km de Spa, third in class at the 19641,000-km Nurburgring, fourth outright and second in class at the 1964 Reims 12 Hour, fourth outright and second in class at the 1964 1,000-km Paris at Monthléry, second outright at the 1964Rand 9 Hour race at Kyalami, fifth outright and second in class at the 1965 Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park, fourth outright and first in class at the 1965 Spa 500-km race, and first in class at the 1965 1,000-km Nurburgring.
Giuseppe Lucchini bought the car in 1981, restored it to the original bodywork which had been reprofiled during its racing days, and drove it in the 30th GTO Anniversary tour in 1992. In 2013, the car was sent home to Ferrari Classiche where the body was restored and it was re-painted its original red.
Carlo Vogele | Ferrari 330 GTO #4561GT
This car, Ferrari 330 GTO #4561GT, is quite unique as it is one of just three genuine 330 GTO prototypes built, with the other two used by Scuderia Ferrari in racing, while this car was only ever intended for road use.
#4561GT was built due to a personal request from French industrialist and Ferrari finacier Michel Paul-Cavalier to Enzo Ferrari, to his own specification. The original road car was built on a Tipo 539/566 chassis, but included a brake booster, covered headlights, blue interior trim, synchromesh transmission and a four liter Tipo 163/566 competition engine.
Michel Paul-Cavallier was unquestionably Enzo Ferrari's most favored client, and over the years he was the recipient of several very special one-off road cars based on Ferrari's racing cars of the day, including a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Berlinetta (#0594CM, one of four 410S cars built but with a one-off Scaglietti Berlinetta body).
Paul-Cavallier's home was the world famous Chateau de Gentilly, now the venue for one of the world's great automotive Concours d'elegance events, Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille.
Like his father, Paul-Cavallier was on the board of many large companies, including the Pont-à-Mousson Foundry, and was involved in the restructuring of Ferrari in 1960 under the name SEFAC S.p.A. (Società Esercizio Fabbriche Automobili e Corse), serving on the board. SEFAC often acted as the entrant of the Ferrari racing team in the early 1960s.
Paul-Cavellier kept the car for just 12 months, selling it to Colonel Ronnie Hoare, the owner of the British Maranello Concessionaires race team, then onwards through a chain of owners, selling at a Christies Monaco auction in May, 1987 for $1,545,376 and being purchased by Swiss collector Engelbert Stieger in 1990 for SFR 17 million (US$11,295,681), who sold it to the current owner, Carlo Vögele, in 1998.
Swiss collector and historic race car driver Carlo Vögele is the former chairman of Swiss Fashion empire Charles Vögele Holdings, founded by his father Charles Vögele, a leading Swiss motor racer of the 1950s and 1960s, and the owner of an eponymous Formula One team.
Carlo Vögele's former cars include a Ferrari 250 GT LWB TdF and a 1959 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage.
Lee Kun-hee | Ferrari 330 LMB #4619SA
Kun-hee Lee is the Chairman of Samsung Electronics, and highly revered for his business acumen and success, regarded by many as perhaps the best known figure in South Korea. With a net worth estimated at $17.4 billion, he's also a tragic car enthusiast, owned a Ferrari 250 GTO (#5095GT) previously and is believed to be the current custodian of this car (Ferrari 330 LMB #4619SA).
In 2008, Jalopnik published an article entitled Does The Billionaire Chairman Of Samsung Own A Stolen $15 Million Ferrari?, questioning the ownership of Ferrari 330 LMB #4619SA as the records showed the car was stolen in 1977 and there was a court order in the U.S. demanding that the car be returned. Not surprisingly, that article went viral.
The car was kept in America for a considerable time after Lee purchased it, and was on display in the Blackhawk Museum, in Danville, California in 2003. Since then, its whereabouts are unknown. In 2014, Kun-hee Lee suffered a heart attack and his son took over the company.
Lulu Chow Wang | Ferrari 250 GTO #4713GT
Lulu Wang is Anthony Wang's wife, and although Anthony purchased Ferrari 250 GTO #3769GT in 1995, and Ferrari 330 LMB #4453SA in 1989, his investment analyst wife's interest in GTOs preceded Anthony's subsequent fascination. Lulu purchased Ferrari 250 GTO #4713GT in 1986.
Lulu Chow Wang has had a stellar career, and a quick search will yield testament to her achievements. When her engagement to Anthony Wang was announced in 1964, it rated an article the New York Times.
Lulu's car, #4713GT was born with a Series II, LM-style body, and was first owned by Luigi Chinetti's NART (North American Racing Team) on June 5, 1963, being baptized by fire 10 days later when it started the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans in the hands of David Piper and Masten Gregory. Officially recognized as a 250 GTO/LMB, the car finished sixth outright behind five other Ferraris, and third in the GT class, behind two GTOs.
#4713GT then competed in the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood (fourth in the GT class and eighth outright driven by Roger Penske) and the Tour de France, where it failed to finish, before being sold on to Bob Grossman in late 1963.
Grossman campaigned it successfully across 1964 before it passed through the hands of several owners, being driven in the 20th anniversary GTO tour by Carle Conway in 1982 and finding its way into Lulu's custodianship in 1986.
That's Lulu Chow Wang front and center (top left in the composite image above. The illustration comes from an article by the Columbia Business School entitled "The Game Changers", detailing how female Columbia Business School alumnae are striving for, and reaching the top of the finance world. The bottom left image shows Lulu and Anthony Wang at the opening of the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center at Wellesley College, which they financed with a $25 million gift. The bottom right image was taken on the first day of Lulu's fledgling business which soon became the fastest growing business on Wall Street. From little acorns ...
Tom Price | Ferrari 250 GTO #4757GT
These days Tom Price is best known as one of the principals of the Price Simms Group but he's been in the automotive retail and wholesale business since he began work for Ford Motor Company in the 1960s, bought his first car dealership in 1976 and has been building automotive dealership groups ever since. In the car collecting fraternity, Tom is exceptionally well known as he's been racing vintage Ferraris for 25 years, and in that time he has started more than 600 races and picked up four major historic championships.
Tom has owned Ferrari 250 GTO #4757GT since January, 2010, but he owned Ferrari 250 GTO #3943GT from 1983 to 2009 and sold it for $26 million, picking up #4757GT in January 2010 for roughly half that amount.
The history of GTO #4757 is fascinating. In 1982 it was purchased for $345,000 by Robert "Chris" Murray of Middletown, Rhode Island. Murray drove it in the 20th anniversary GTO tour that year but was indicted by the FBI of drug smuggling in 1984 and fled to Spain. He was found "executed" by multiple gunshots to the head in the Spanish "party town" of Torremolinos in June 1987. His GTO was confiscated by the FBI and auctioned by sealed bid on October 22, 1987 where it fetched $1.6 million.
The car was then acquired by Belgian driver and race team owner Jacques Swaters, then by Dutch Ferrari importer Fritz Kroymans who raced it in vintage events across Europe for the next two decades before his business empire foundered and he sold his extensive collection.
Carlos Hank Rhon | Ferrari 250 GTO #5095
Carlos Hank Rhon is the son of Carlos Hank González, the powerful Mexican billionaire nicknamed El Profesor, and the brother of Jorge Hank Rhon, another powerful businessman who has many business interests, including owning Mexico's largest gaming and sports betting company, Grupo Caliente.
That's not Carlos above with the car, but Talacrest principal, John Collins. UK-based Talacrest specializes in selling rare classic cars internationally, and Collins sold this car, Ferrari 250 GTO #5095GT to Samsung Chairman Kun-he Lee, in 1996.
The "Hank Rhon" surname is comprised of two parts: the paternal family name is Hank and the maternal family name is Rhon. Carlos' wife is the daughter of Roberto Gonzalez Barrera, the founder of Grupo Finaciero Banorte. Carlos Hank Rohn's estimated $2 billion net worth includes his Grupo Financiero Interacciones and the Grupo Hermes industrial conglomerate which has interests in construction, infrastructure, energy, tourism and auto dealerships. It's a fascinating family of high achievers that has been documented and examined from every angle, from PBS Frontline through to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Six years ago we reported the private sale of this car for a price of more than £20 million (approximately US$31.7 million at the time), concluding the article with the words, "the latest £20 million-plus purchase price could well be a wise investment." Though unknown at that time, the buyer ultimately turned out to be Carlos Hank Rhon and given the escalation of GTO prices since then, the conclusion was very accurate.
Ferrari 250 GTO #5095 was once owned by Pierre Bardinon and was sold by Talacrest in January, 1996 for $3,500,000 to Kun-he Lee, the chairman of Samsung, and was sold again in January, 2012 for a reported $32 million. Rhon's profile on Forbes can be seen here.
Bernard Carl | Ferrari 250 GTO #3387GT
Bernard Carl began as a real estate attorney, joined Solomon Brothers Investment Bank, worked with Robert M. Bass and eventually founded his own investment company, Brazos Europe Inc, which initially invested in distressed real estate in Canada, then oil and natural gas in Chile. In recent years Brazos has concentrated on opportunities in Europe, with one of its most rewarding achievements being the successful rescue of French luxury linen house D. Porthault.
Ferrari 250 GTO #3387GT had its first start in the 1962 12 Hours of Sebring, entered by the Ferrari agent, Luigi Chinetti Motors, and driven by the pairing of Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien. The car finished second outright and first in the 3.0 liter GT class.
It was then sold to Robert M. Grossman of Nyack, New York, who immediately entered it in the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans. Grossman and George Roberts Jr. piloted the car to sixth outright and third in class, following that result with second outright and first in class at Bridgehampton in the FIA 400-km race in September that year in the hands of Grossman. Grossman campaigned the car for the remainder of the season with very competitive results, before selling it to Geraldi & Mike Gammino III who drove it for the next three seasons with several class wins in major events.
The low point for Ferrari 250 GTO #3387GT came in February, 1969 when it was sold for $5,400. The car changed hands several times over the next few years with a sale in 1975 reported at $13,000, and another in 1978 at $125,000. The next reported sale with a price was when Bernard Carl purchased the car in 1997 for a price near $4 million, and picked up somewhat of a bargain given its remarkable competition history.
This car may have been sold in the last two years as it was offered by Talacrest in November, 2016 for $56 million.
???? | Ferrari 250 GTO #5111GT
Connecticut-based collector Paul Pappalardo owned this GTO for just shy of four decades (1974 - 2013), driving it in the 25th, 30th, 35th and 40th anniversary GTO tours, the Ferrari 50th birthday celebrations, and shipping it all over the world to race and show his beloved GTO: Le Mans, Mugello, Bagatelle, Modena, Spa, Paris, Goodwood, Silverstone, Vallelunga, Imola, numerous Tour de France Auto events ... plus untold events in his homeland.
Pappalardo has been collecting top tier Ferraris for more than four decades, owning a string of million-dollar plus cars, including a 250 GT Lusso, a 250 TR59/60 Fantuzzi Spyder, a 250 GT Interim, a 250 GT SWB California Spyder, Ferrari 275 GTB/C Competizione, 312 P, 412 P, 410 Superfast, 250 LM and a 275/330P, amongst many others going back to at least 1976.
Everyone has their price though, and when he received an offer of $52 million in 2013, he sold. The current owner of Ferrari 250 GTO #5111GT is often claimed to be very private Venezuelan Miguel Gonzalez, but we have reason to believe that may not the case.
Gonzalez' collection is sometimes known as the Torrota Collection and is believed to include at least two of the world's most celebrated automobiles in the form of the Bugatti Royale Kellner (once the world's most expensive cars at auction), and a one-of-three Bugatti Type 57 S Atlantic. It is unlikely that the Torrota Collection has just two cars, and given the ones we can trace, the collection almost certainly contains more cars of significant gravitas, but we've been unable to confirm that Ferrari 250 GTO #5111GT is one of them. Quite clearly, the new owner of #5111GT, whomever that might be, doesn't want their investment known at this point. We believe the car will not be seen on the market for some time, so ... stay tuned, but don't hold your breath.
Ferrari 250 GTO #5571 GT | Bruce & John McCaw
This car is owned by two of the four McCaw brothers, who inherited McCaw Communications and turned their late father's failed cable TV and radio company into a cellular phone pioneer. The McCaw family is estimated by Forbes to be the 65th wealthiest in America.
This car had a spectacular racing history in period, being owned by American Ferrari distributor Luigi Chinetti and in its first two starts it won the 1964 2,000-km Daytona Continental event outright (driven by Pedro Rodriguez and Phil Hill), then finished seventh outright and first in class at the 1964 12-hour SebringPedro (driven by Pedro Rodriguez, David Piper and Mike Gamino III).
The car on offer in Monterey ...
Ferrari 250 GTOs are so closely held that even those with a lazy $50 million rarely get close to owning one, which is why the car to be offered by RM-Sothebys at the Monterey Conference Center on August 25, 2018, will attract tidal waves of interest.
The collectible marketplace for petrolheads began with a bang in 2018 when a Vincent Black Lightning fetched $929,000 to become the most valuable motorcycle ever sold at auction, and the sale at auction of Ferrari 250 GTO #3413 suggests it could be a marquee year for the industry all around.
This car (Ferrari 250 GTO #3413GT – to be auctioned August 25, 2018) has been owned since a few days after the turn of the millennium by Dr. Greg Whitten, of Medina, WA. Greg paid $7 million 18 years ago for Ferrari 250 GTO #3413GT, and may well increase his investment by an order of magnitude when the car goes to auction at Monterey in late August (2018).
Depending on what you do, Greg is known for different things. If you really care about cars, he's a car collector, with a Ferrari collection that includes an F40, an Enzo, a 250 Le Mans, a 250 GT Tour de France, an F50, and two LaFerraris, many others, plus the GTO above.
If you're an investor, you'll know him as Chairman, chief cook and bottle-washer for Numerix, which provides trading, risk management, and real-time intelligence software and services for Innovative Capital Markets.
If you're a programmer, you'll no doubt recognize the GW-BASIC dialect of the BASIC programming language developed by Microsoft. There's only one person who knows the true origins of the GW in that globally-recognized acronym because it was named by Bill Gates. The two most commonly recognized origins are "Gee Whiz" and "Greg Whitten" as Greg had been Chief Software Architect for Microsoft for four years prior to the 1983 release of GW-BASIC, seven years prior to the initial Microsoft IPO in 1987, and he held that role until 1998 when he left the world's largest software company to join Numerix.
Whitten built the foundations upon which the Microsoft Office suite of applications were constructed. Almost everyone in the modern world has used Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint, so you and everyone you know has most likely been touched by Greg's work.
#3413GT was the third GTO to leave Maranello, with its first outing in May, 1962 being in the hands of Ferrari Scuderia driver Phil Hill who drove it around the Targa Florio course with young engineer Mauro Forghieri beside him. Forghieri would go on to head Ferrari's F1 design team, being ultimately responsible for title-winning cars driven by John Surtees (1964), Niki Lauda (1975 and 1977), and Jody Scheckter (1979).
Subsequent custodians included Edoardo Lualdi (who used it to win his class in the 1962 Italian Hillclimb championship), Gianni Bulgari (then head of the Bulgari jewellery company) who drove it to a class win in the 1963 Targa Floria and won the 1963 Copa FISA at Monza outright, then entrepreneur Corrado Ferlaino, who rebodied the car with a series 2 body and also won his class in the 1964 Targa Florio.
Other owners along the way included British driver David Piper, and a series of prominent collectors including Neil Corner, Sir Anthony Bamford and Yoshijuki Hayashi.
At its lowest point, #3413GT changed hands in 1967 for £6,000 (US$16,560).
Indeed, there's a good chance that the outright world record price for a car might be broken twice in the same year, and that the world auction record can finally become the outright world record for the sale of an automobile – akin to one contender beating all comers and reunifying the world heavyweight boxing title.
The opportunity for someone to buy the world's most expensive car is a grandstanding opportunity in itself, so the big guns will all come to play. If you are the underbidder, have more disposable expenditure than Scrooge McDuck ready to go and you really want to play with the big boys, give John Collins or David Gizzi a call. We know there are privately available 250 GTOs still in play, and they are the guys who can connect you.
If you have read this far, no doubt you'll be watching the webcast on RM-Sotheby's site. Let's hope they have their network in robust shape, because a lot of people can be expected to be watching, and it would be a shame if the infrastructure can't withstand the size of the audience it will attract.You can find the auction description of the 250 GTO to be auctioned at RM-Sotheby's site.
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I guess the next milestone will be the first one to fetch over 100 million USD, with no end in sight.