Mystery Man Breaks All Records Paying $52 Million for 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Racer

There’s something about rare classic racecars that make the hearts of car collectors beat a heck of a lot faster. In fact, their hearts pump so fast at the sight of one of these mechanical masterpieces that it doesn’t matter how much money they cost, they simply do everything in their power to get them.

How else can one explain the $52 million (€38.16 million) a mystery buyer paid for a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO racecar? The red 250 GTO was sold by collector Paul Pappalardo from Greenwich, Connecticut, in a private transaction that was confirmed independently to Bloomberg News by three specialist traders. The price makes the 250 GTO the most expensive car ever sold – at least among those that have been reported, so far.

The car was bought by Pappalardo in 1974, restored and driven by the collector in many historic races, including the 2002 Le Mans Classic. “We don’t confirm these things. I have no comment,” Pappalardo said when asked about the price.

The price is a 49 percent increase on the previous record for any car ($35 million), set in June 2012 year for another Ferrari 250 GTO, an apple-green example made for British racing driver Stirling Moss. So what is so special about the 250 GTO?

For starters, only 39 units were ever produced. Created by a team led by Giotto Bizzarrini, the 250 GTO owed its lines to research carried out in a wind tunnel. Based on the 250 GT SWB road car, the 250 GTO featured tubular steel frame and was powered by a 3.0-liter V12 engine from the 250 Testa Rossa developing 300 hp. Mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, the engine pushed the car to a top speed of 280 km/h (174 mph). It featured a Spartan interior, with many switches sourced from the…Fiat 500 of the same era.

It’s described by analysts as the Mona Lisa of cars, a cult vehicle that all billionaires feel they have to own. And it’s not only a whim, it is very lucrative too, as prices of the rarest Ferraris have risen at an average annual rate of 15 percent for more than 30 years.

By Dan Mihalascu

PHOTO GALLERY

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