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.