The most expensive car sold in private sale in 2012 was the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – US$35,000,000.
The Ferrari 250 GTO is a GT car which was produced by Ferrari from 1962 to 1964 for homologation into the FIA’s Group 3 Grand Touring Car category. The numerical part of its name denotes the displacement in cubic centimeters of each cylinder of the engine, whilst GTO stands for “Gran Turismo Omologata”, Italian for “Grand Touring Homologated.” When new, the GTO commanded an $18,000 purchase price in the United States, and buyers had to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari and his dealer for North America, Luigi Chinetti.
36 cars were made in the years ’62/’63. In 1964 ‘Series II’ was introduced, which had a slightly different look. Three such cars were made, and four older ‘Series I’ were given a ‘Series II’ body. It brought the total of GTOs produced to 39.
Named for the red valve covers, the original 250 TR had unorthodox bodywork by Scaglietti. The front fenders are visually separated from the central “nacelle” body, a design inspired Formula One racers, with air ducting across the front brakes and out through the open area behind the wheels, this model is often called the “Pontoon” TR. Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with this car in 1958.
The 250 TR’s aerodynamic design was successful in racing but nonetheless controversial: Ferrari began changing the look soon after its production. Other, more conventional bodies were designed by Ferrari stalwarts, Pininfarina and Carrozzeria Touring. The engine had the same displacement as the rest of the 250 series but was tuned to produce far more power. The front styling of the 250 TR61 pictured served as inspiration to the current Ferrari F430 road car.
In 2004, Sports Car International placed the 250 GTO eighth on a list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s, and nominated it the top sports car of all time. Similarly, Motor Trend Classic placed the 250 GTO first on a list of the “Greatest Ferraris of all time”.
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