The Story Behind the Prestigious (#19) 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

In August last year, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO harvested a whooping $38 million in a public auction at Bonham’s Auction in Carmel, California. This is the most recent public bidding for such a lofty classic in ages, since most GTOs are traded in private with their selling price kept a secret.

The $38-million sale became a world record in the arena of classic cars, despite rumors about another GTO secretly sold last year for $52 million, as its former owner keeps mum about the sale price.

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Another private sale in 2012 resulted in exchanging ownership of a GTO for $35 million. At any rate, the 1962 GTO has topped previous GTO sales (with confirmed sale price) and that of the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic sold in 2010 for $30 million. The GTO has been the pillar and standard for the most expensive and sought-after classic car. They rarely come out for sale, and if there should be any sale, it only involve those who belong in some sort of exclusive GTO owners’ club.

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The 1962 GTO sold in August 2014 offers a remarkable story. It was previously owned by a French racer, Jo Schlesser, who drove the car to second place during the 1962 Tour de France. In the same year, the car crashed and its then driver, Henri Oreiller, died in the accident. The car, the 19th unit made by Ferrari that year, is the only GTO involved in a fatal crash, encouraging speculations that it may not yield as much money in a sale.

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The damaged 1962 GTO was later repaired and bought by Fabrizio Violati, an Italian car enthusiast who raced the classic vehicle until the 2000s. It remained the property of Violati for 49 long years, until his death in 2010. Violati’s family sold his car collection including the 1962 GTO to a group of investors for more than $100 million, and now four years later, the car belongs to someone else who just parted with his $38 million for a prestigious and historical GTO.

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