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$35 million 1962 Ferrari GTO becomes world’s most expensive car

June 1, 2012

The title of "world's most expensive car" lives in the shadows of private transactions; people who can spend tens of millions of dollars on a vehicle often want to keep their purchases out of the limelight. That's not happening with the new record set last month with this car, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO meant for race driver Sir Stirling Moss that's been sold for a new record -- $35 million.

According to Bloomberg, the transaction between long-time owner Eric Heerema and American telecommunications magnate Craig McCaw closed  last month, based on confirmations from three dealers. It's part of a boon in demand for Ferrari race cars, with several changing hands in recent months, with at least one other Ferrari GTO of the same era selling for at least $30 million.

What makes this green-apple Ferrari worth more than any other car on the planet? It hails from the pinnacle of Ferrari's early 1960s racing days, when Enzo Ferrari would build anyone he approved of a world-class, V12-powered car for $18,000 to race in the Grand Touring class. Only 39 were built, and this particular model was meant for Moss, at the time perhaps the world's greatest racer. But Moss injured himself just before his first race in the car, and never got behind the wheel. And while many of the GTOs were wrecked or thrashed over the decades, with engines and even bodies swapped or rebuilt, this one has remained in nearly original condition.

The previous record for most expensive car belonged to the 1937 Bugatti Atlantic Type 57SC, which American collector Peter Mullin bought two years ago for a reported $32 million. Given how much interest has grown in certain models from Chinese and Middle Eastern collectors, the record of the green Ferrari won't last as long -- although one can only hope the new owner shows the same need to drive his prize on public roads as the previous one did.

Photo: Talacrest Limited