$45M Ferrari 250 GTO May Be Most Expensive Car Ever Sold at Public Auction

This 250 GTO is expected to smash public auction records at RM Sotheby's Monterey auction.

Patrick Enzen, Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

A Ferrari 250 GTO made headlines earlier this month when it was acquired for almost $80 million, making it the most expensive car in the world. However, record-breaking GTO purchases have most often been private sales, so RM Sotheby's says it will set a new record for most expensive car sold at a public auction with this just-listed 1962 250 GTO, which it expects to sell for more than $45 million at its Monterey auction in August.

According to a press release posted by RM Sotheby's, this particular car, chassis 3413 GT, was the third GTO built out of 36 total, and might be the most successful GTO in competition ever. Starting life as a factory test car for Phil Hill, 3413 went on to win nine races in 1962 alone under ownership of renowned Ferrari collector Edoardo Lualdi-Gabardi. It performed wonderfully in the care of nine other owners in the course of three decades, winning its class at the 1963 and '64 Targa Florio and overall at countless hillclimb events.

It's currently in the hands of Dr. Greg Whitten, who has continued 3413's career by participating in many vintage racing series and four prestigious GTO anniversary tours since he bought it in 2000. He can be seen driving the car in RM Sotheby's profile video below.

Having never been in a crash, the car is being offered with matching numbers with its original Scaglietti Series II body, rear axle, engine, and transmission intact. If all goes to plan it will sell for more than $45 million, beating the last car (another 250 GTO) to break an auction record, which sold at Bonhams in 2014 for $36.65 million.

“This marks just the third time that a GTO has been offered for public sale in the new millennium," commented Shelby Myers, car specialist at RM Sotheby's. "I can think of no better place than our flagship Monterey event, an auction that has borne witness to the record-smashing sale of some of the most important cars in history, for the presentation of such an exceptional example of Ferrari’s most successful racer and the world’s most sought-after collector car, full stop. The fact that the GTO exists as it did in period, along with Dr. Whitten’s long-term, enthusiastic ownership, only adds to the car’s impeccable pedigree.” 

Chassis 3413 will headline RM Sotheby's Monterey auction at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Aug. 24-25, stealing the crown from a 1966 Le Mans-winning Ford GT40. The Ford-Ferrari rivalry continues.