Most valuable car ever auctioned to go on sale later this month

One collector car auction in California this month could potentially set three separate auto auction records...

Posted: Aug 5, 2018 9:37 AM
Updated: Aug 5, 2018 9:37 AM

One collector car auction in California this month could potentially set three separate auto auction records: The most valuable car ever auctioned, the most valuable British car and, just possibly, the most valuable American car ever auctioned.

The days leading up to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance classic car show in Monterey, California, are filled with events for high-end car collectors, including auctions at which record prices are frequently paid for the most desirable cars.

On August 25, the day before the Concours, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO estimated to be worth between $45 million and $60 million will be auctioned at RM Sotheby's annual Monterey sale. If the selling price even approaches this estimate, it will set a record for any car ever sold at auction.

Another 1962-63 Ferrari GTO sold for $38 million at a Bonhams auction at Pebble Beach Car Week in 2014. (The car had two model years because it was nearly destroyed in a fatal crash and was rebuilt by Ferrari.) For now, that remains the current record holder for a car sold at auction.

Cars have sold for far more in private transactions rather than at public auctions. The vast majority of collector cars are sold privately. Another Ferrari 250 GTO, a 1963 model, was recently privately sold for the widely reported price of $70 million.

Related: The classic car industry could be hurt by tariffs

Classic Ferrari GTOs are extraordinarily valuable for a number of reasons. First, they were, and are, simply very beautiful cars. Second, these were some of Ferrari's most successful racing cars. There have been more successful models, such as the 250 LM, which has its engine mounted behind the driver, but the front-engined GTO is more popular because it's easier to live with and drive.

"The 250 GTO, you open the door like you do on your car, you get in and you go," said RM Sotheby's car specialist Jake Auerbach. "It really is that simple."

All 36 of the 250 GTOs ever made are still running and their ownership has created a very exclusive club. Ferrari 250 owners know one another and sometimes get together for road rallies.

"The GTO tours are, as far as that level of net worth goes, the ultimate event and there really is only one way to get in and that's to own one of the 36 cars," said Aurbach.

The GTO being sold at the RM Sotheby's auction on August 25 won the 1962 Italian GT championship, and had over 15 race victories from 1962 to 1965. Among its drivers were Phil Hill, who is most famous as the first American to be a Formula 1 World Champion. He drove this Ferrari as his practice car before the Targa Florio race in 1962. Gianni Bulgari, later president of his family's jewelry company, raced the car in 1963.

Another car being sold at the RM Sotheby's auction, a 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype, is expected to be the most valuable British car ever sold at auction. It's estimated to be worth $18 million to $20 million. In its brief racing career, it never won a race but it did set a speed record on the track at Le Mans. It still stands as an important part of British automotive history.

Related: Firm that designed Ferraris will make 250 mph electric supercar

The current record holder for the most valuable British car ever auctioned was also an Aston Martin, a 1956 DBR1 that was sold at RM Sotheby's Monterey auction last year.

The American car that will also cross the auction block, a 1966 Ford GT40, would have to sell for more than its estimated value to set a record but, given the car and its history, that's possible.

The gold-colored race car finished third at the 24-hour Le Mans in France in 1966, one of the most famous car races in history. After being rebuffed in an attempt to buy Ferrari years before, Ford CEO Henry Ford II had demanded the company beat Ferrari on the track. This was Ford's moment of triumph.

"It doesn't really get any better in American racing, full stop, than 1966 Le Mans," Aurbach said.

A movie about that race, "Ford vs. Ferrari" starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, is slated for release next year.

The cars that finished first and second at that race are unlikely to ever come up for sale, Aurbach said. The availability of this car represents "a generational opportunity," he said.

The race car's value is estimated to be $9 million to $12 million. To date, the most valuable American car ever auctioned was the very first Shelby Cobra built by Carroll Shelby in 1962. That car sold for $13.8 million at RM Sotheby's Monterey auction in 2016.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 155246

Reported Deaths: 4065
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25151785
Lake13570355
St. Joseph9145161
Elkhart8759135
Allen8129228
Hamilton6117113
Vanderburgh576760
Tippecanoe369515
Hendricks3268133
Monroe325738
Porter313649
Johnson3105128
Clark293961
Delaware293274
Vigo260538
Madison235093
Cass224022
LaPorte222858
Warrick192965
Kosciusko182625
Floyd179167
Howard162466
Bartholomew141558
Dubois138626
Marshall137426
Wayne126930
Henry125429
Grant125339
Boone122250
Hancock118245
Noble115933
Jackson112915
Dearborn94928
Morgan93740
Lawrence87436
Daviess87133
Gibson87111
Clinton84716
Shelby81730
LaGrange80115
Harrison76224
Knox75610
Putnam72816
Posey7146
DeKalb71011
Fayette66618
Steuben6278
Miami6095
Jasper5945
White58515
Montgomery58322
Greene53337
Scott51813
Decatur50439
Adams4837
Whitley4556
Clay4467
Ripley4418
Sullivan43714
Wells4288
Wabash4119
Starke4077
Orange40425
Huntington3905
Spencer3906
Washington3753
Franklin37225
Jennings36713
Fulton3523
Randolph3529
Jefferson3415
Pike33018
Carroll32513
Perry31014
Jay3056
Fountain2943
Tipton27523
Vermillion2411
Parke2323
Newton22511
Rush2154
Blackford2093
Owen2051
Martin1990
Crawford1581
Pulaski1521
Brown1393
Ohio1297
Benton1100
Union1100
Switzerland920
Warren781
Unassigned0234

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 190430

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin31466640
Cuyahoga19706682
Hamilton16687343
Montgomery10377189
Lucas8285373
Butler8276129
Summit6689265
Warren420064
Stark3796181
Mahoning3709286
Marion338850
Pickaway301146
Delaware287227
Lorain272889
Fairfield264457
Licking257966
Wood249681
Clark249456
Clermont245938
Greene229242
Trumbull2270134
Allen213073
Columbiana212887
Miami199958
Lake193659
Medina185642
Portage162068
Mercer152128
Wayne140269
Ross139436
Richland132324
Tuscarawas129024
Athens12052
Erie115553
Darke114451
Madison105415
Hancock104725
Auglaize100616
Putnam97427
Lawrence93025
Shelby90914
Muskingum8884
Geauga85950
Scioto8599
Belmont78827
Union7583
Ashtabula72648
Sandusky71122
Huron70912
Preble62418
Holmes61710
Seneca60114
Ottawa58430
Fulton53711
Henry47317
Jefferson4694
Clinton46413
Defiance46013
Jackson4598
Crawford4528
Fayette4498
Highland4304
Logan4233
Ashland3986
Champaign3983
Knox38416
Brown3793
Perry36611
Washington35124
Morrow3442
Hardin33613
Williams3354
Coshocton32112
Guernsey3218
Pike3000
Wyandot29513
Gallia29113
Van Wert2633
Meigs21012
Adams2096
Paulding2012
Carroll2007
Hocking1979
Monroe16118
Noble1290
Vinton963
Harrison803
Morgan780
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 64°
Angola
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 64°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 66°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 61°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 61°
Friday Afternoon Showers & Thunderstorms
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events