Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 15th February 2018

Becoming the owner of a classic car is not cheap – they are highly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors everywhere, who are willing to pay enormous amounts for these elusive vintage vehicles.

The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO is certainly no exception – being a true record breaker in terms of sheer expense and coveted rarity.

It’s still the most expensive classic car to be sold at auction to this day. Initially selling for the tidy sum of $38.1 million in 2012, another model was reportedly sold at a private auction, to an unnamed buyer, in Oct 2013 – for a new record of $52 million.

But what exactly makes the world’s most expensive classic car so special?

Historically Desirable

The predecessor to the GTO was the first race and road usable car Ferrari had ever built, the type 250 SWB (short wheelbase). The model achieved great success with racers like Willy Mairesse, Stirling Moss and Jo Schlesser behind the wheel. Despite this, Ferrari wanted to gain greater speeds beyond the 250 SWB, which would max out at around 155 mph.  

As a result the shape of the car completely changed and the 250 GTO was born in 1962 – specifically built to contest the FIA World GT Championships. The car managed to win the ‘62, ‘63 and ‘64 GT series, in the over 2000 cc class.

With this brilliant record, along with many more victories in hundreds of other individual races, the 250 GTO became part of the new racing glitterati for its time. The demand for the car started to surpass anything the motor industry had seen before.

Vintage Power And Reliability

The classic 250 GTO is not only one of the most sought after collectibles in the world, it’s also one of the most powerful classic cars around. Unusually for such a famous car, it’s reliability is also one of its best attributes.

It has a powerful 3.0 litre, V12 engine, that gives it a top speed of 174 mph. The borrowed engine from the 250 Testa Rossa, had already proven to be extremely reliable, gaining huge success in endurance racing.

From a standing start the 250 GTO could reach a speed of 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds, and could manage a quarter mile run in 13.1 seconds – very impressive figures for a car in the early 1960s.  

The Price Of Rare Heritage

There’s no denying the rarity of the Ferrari 250 GTO, between 1962 and 1964 only 39 models were ever built by Ferrari. All models were handbuilt, and almost all the cars have features that make each of them unique.

Originally costing around £6k, the 250 GTO has seen a phenomenal increase in value over the years. The car boasts huge heritage and interest that spurs collectors to part with huge sums of money for the vintage models at various auctions.

The classic car has managed to surpass other luxury vehicles, such as the Bugatti Atlantic in terms of desirability. An impressive feat for a car that was mainly conceived for racing.

No doubt the Ferrari badge helps – but the winning history, engineering and buzz that surrounds this rare vintage – all makes the 250 GTO one of the most sought after, special classic cars ever made.