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New world record: Ferrari 250 GTO sells for £52m

American businessmen shells out $70 million on the most expensive car ever

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When original Ferrari 250 GTOs head to auction, they tow a weight of expectation behind them. How much this time? How many zeroes? The most celebrated of all GT racing Ferraris is shorthand for telephone number auction prices. And the bar has been raised once again.

This weekend, a 1963 example has been sold to an American collector for a rumoured $70 million. That’s £52 million, Brits, and breaks the record for a fee paid for a classic car. Previously, the top figure was the estimated £31 million paid for a different 250 GTO (naturally) several years ago. The buyer is believed to be WeatherTech CEO David MacNeil, who made his fortune selling car accessories like waterproof floor mats.

So, why such a premium for this particular Ferrari? Well, besides being one of 39 made, the 300bhp, V12-powered silver-yellow example is largely original – i.e. it hasn’t been stuffed into a crash barrier to date. It’s also had an illustriously decorated career in the white heat of motorsport.

Serial number 4135GT was restored in the UK in the 1990s, but its career in its heyday included a fourth-place finish at Le Mans in 1963, and won the ten-day Tour de France road rally the following year. It’s raced all over Europe and Africa, before being the prized jewel in several private collections before its latest, record-breaking sale.

By smashing the previous price barrier by around £20 million, it appears the appetite for classic cars shows no signs of abating. Makes us wonder what you’d spend the equivalent cash on, though – one £50m Ferrari, or a collection, and a racetrack to play with them on?

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