All Ferraris are expensive, but these are on a totally different level.
Expensive Ferraris are not exactly hard to find. After all, Enzo Ferrari prided himself and his brand on being elitist, catering to high-brow clientele with a penchant for high-speed sports cars and supercars.
But since it was founded on 13 September 1939, Ferrari's provenance has only increased. Through racing exploits at Le Mans, in Formula 1, Carrera Panamericana, and various others, and with racing legends behind the wheel, many Ferrari cars have accrued historical significance that has bolstered their values.
Rare Ferraris have naturally been more valuable than run-of-the-mill models. But what are the most expensive Ferraris ever sold? And what's the most valuable Ferrari currently in existence?
Beautiful Ferraris like the 2017 Ferrari F12tdf and the Ferrari 599 GTO, which continued the Gran Turismo Omologato legacy of the 250 GTO and 288 GTO, fetch high-dollar sums. But their speed, beauty, and even rarity are not enough to see them included in this list of the most expensive cars sporting the prancing horse badge.
This 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider claims the entry spot on our list after selling through Artcurial in 2015 for the princely sum of $18.45 million. What made this particular Ferrari 250 GT special was that it was a matching-numbers car that had never been restored in its 55 years on Earth.
Even more special was that the car made its debut at the 1961 Paris Motor Show and was under the stewardship of a single owner from 1971 until 2015.
Only 37 Californias were built with streamlined (covered) headlights, of which this is one.
In 2018, a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Scaglietti crossed the auction blocks at the RM Sotheby's LA auction, fetching $22,005,000. At the time, it became one of the ten most expensive vehicles ever auctioned. But what made the 290 MM so special?
Chassis 0628 was piloted by a number of iconic drivers, including Phil Hill, Fangio, Peter Collins, and one Sir Stirling Moss. In its racing debut at the 1956 Mille Miglia, it picked up second place, with a 3.5-liter four-cylinder Monza-type engine powering it to glory. The engine was later replaced by a 290 S engine, after which it raced to third in the 1000 Km of Buenos Aires. The engine was replaced again to make the car eligible for the 1957 12 Hours of Sebring, this time fitted with a V12.
It is one of four 290 MMs ever built and one of only three remaining.
The joint-ninth most expensive Ferrari car ever sold was this 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider driven by both Juan Manuel Fangio and Carroll Shelby. Sold through RM Sotheby's, it set a Monterey auction record at Monterey Car Week in 2022.
This wasn't an ordinary sports car, but rather a race car with incredible provenance, with Shelby winning more races at the helm of this 410 than any other car raced by the icon. Chassis number 0598 enjoyed a successful career in which it was owned by privateer John Edgar who put Shelby behind the wheel.
Before it went on auction, the car was evaluated under a full Ferrari Classiche inspection, with the detailed report accompanying the $22-million sale.
The list of most expensive Ferrari got shuffled and reshuffled aplenty in the early 2010s. In 2014, this 1964 275 GTB/C Speciale was sold at an RM Sotheby's auction for $26.4 million.
Like many expensive Ferraris of the era, it had plenty of motorsports provenance and was the first of only three Works Berlinetta Competizione cars built by Ferrari.
It featured a 320-horsepower 3.3-liter lightweight V12 with six Weber carburetors, a five-speed gearbox, and double-wishbone suspension all around. It even had four-wheel disc brakes. This was all necessary, as it was intended to run in the GT Class at Le Mans. Initial homologation approval was denied, and only one of the three ever went racing.
This Ferrari 275 GTB/C wasn't that one but enjoyed a full life of road use, which is why it wore front half bumpers and full rear bumpers.
Number seven on this list was owned by a single family - that of Eddie Smith Sr. - until it crossed the auction block in 2013, where it sold in California for $27.5 million. It was a fully-restored Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider by Scaglietti, and one of only 10 ever built.
The suffix on the awkward name stood for North American Racing Team, commissioned by Luigi Chinetti to give discerning clients an open-top GTB/4 they wanted instead of the 330 GTS.
This particular unit featured in the Steve McQueen film The Thomas Crown Affair and underwent several transformations in life, including the red shade it wears now in place of the original Azzurro Metallizzato. When this car was sold, its proceeds benefited charity, making its spot on this list extra special.
Another 290 MM appears on this list, taking sixth spot on our rankings of most expensive Ferraris in the world. This one was Ferrari Classiche certified when it went on auction in December 2015, with its unique tri-tone bodywork and 3.5-liter, 320-hp V12 engine fetching $28.05 million.
One of only four built, chassis number 0626 was piloted by Fangio during the 1956 World Sportcar Championship for the Scuderia Ferrari. Fangio started the 1956 Mille Miglia in last place, and driving solo with no navigator, managed to finish fourth overall.
It was subsequently driven by F1 champion Phil Hill and legendary German Grand Prix driver Wolfgang Alexander Albert Eduard Maximilian Reichsgraf Berghe (Taffy) von Trips, who finished second with this car at the Swedish GP at Kristianstad in 1956.
Throughout its years, it was maintained thoroughly and underwent an engine rebuild shortly before its sale.
Chassis 0674 - a 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider with bodywork by Scaglietti - isn't just one of the most expensive Ferrari models ever, but one of the most expensive cars in the world. Fetching $35.73 million when it sold through an Artcurial auction in 2016, this was yet another Prancing Horse imbued with race pedigree.
It was the winner of the 1958 Cuban Grand Prix, finished second in the 1957 Mille Miglia, and was driven by icons including Stirling Moss, Wolfgang von Trips, and the winner of the very first Formula 1 Drivers' Championship, Mike Hawthorn.
Its history was recorded in a plethora of books dedicated to tracing Ferrari's heritage and racing roots, and like many racers, had its engine swapped out several times to qualify for various motorsport series. When it was eventually sold by collector Pierre Bardinon, it had a tipo 141 motor: a 4.0-liter, 60-degree Jano V12 engine from the regular 335 S.
If it ever changes hands again, expect it to fetch even more, as the man who purchased it was none other than soccer superstar Lionel Messi.
While the record for the most expensive Ferrari may have switched hands a few times, it seems the title always remains in the custody of one model - the Ferrari 250 GTO. In 2014, this particular 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta became the most expensive car sold at an auction when it was auctioned through Bonhams in California, where the hammer dropped at $38,115,000. It was the second time in one night that the world's most expensive car record was reset.
The record-breaking matching numbers 250 GTO (engine and chassis no. 3851GT) with an aluminum body by Scaglietti, formerly owned and raced by Olympic athlete and racer of some renown Jo Schlesser, had raced in the Tour de France Automobile in 1962 with Schlesser at the wheel, where it finished in second.
But it didn't have a trouble-free life, and a crash into a trackside building during the Coupes du Salon race meeting left Schlesser's co-pilot fatally wounded and the GTO severely damaged. It was restored at the Ferrari factory and was then sold on.
Subsequent owners also raced it extensively, including ex-F1 ace Ernesto Prinoth, who also crashed the car, leading to a second restoration, this time in Prinoth's own workshop.
Thereafter, it was acquired by Fabrizio Violati, who was tasked personally by Enzo Ferrari to form the Ferrari Club Italia. This vehicle was used as part of the official Collezione Maranello Rosso display, a title approved by Enzo himself. The car remained in his possession for 45 years until his death in 2010 and its subsequent sale in 2014.
Only 36 250 GTOs were built (excluding three prototypes), and many of them were wrecked while racing, which is why it's no surprise the wealthy spend tens of millions of dollars on procuring those that are left. It was the third of those 36 that fetched $48.405 million in 2018 at the RM Sotheby's Monterey Auction, with the 1962 model's value bolstered by it being one of just four GTOs to receive Series II GTO/64 bodywork in-period from Scaglietti, and one of seven in this spec ever.
From 1962 to 1965, chassis 3413 won more than 15 class and overall victories at various races, including first-in-class at both the 1963 and 1964 Targa Florio events. The car received Ferrari Classiche certification in 2018 ahead of the sale, and it was declared one of the very best examples still in existence. At the time, the car was fitted with a 250 GT engine block built up to GTO spec.
Many 250 GTOs set record-breaking prices T auction, but a 1963 model occupies the second spot on this list through a private sale. In 2013, Connecticut-based collector Paul Pappalardo parted ways with his 250 GTO to an unnamed buyer for a reported $52 million.
Pappalardo had raced the car in multiple heritage racing series during his tenure as owner, which began in 1974 when it was first purchased. Making its price even harder to stomach is that the 250 GTO - designed specifically for the Group 3 GT category in a bid to help Ferrari secure a world sports car championship - was priced at just $18,500 in the US when new.
The most expensive Ferrari ever is yet another 250 GTO, which in 2018 was purchased by David MacNeil, CEO and founder of WeatherTech. Chassis no 4153 GT was an overall and class winner in the 1964 Tour de France.
It became the crowning jewel in McNeil's collection, which also includes a 250 GT Berlinetta SWB, a 250 GT Lusso, a 275 GTB, an F40, and an F50. This was a private sale, but unlike the car above, several images of the car exist in the public domain, with it finished in silver with a French tricolor stripe running its length, although it was originally silver and yellow.
Not much more can be said about the 250 GTO, but its striking bodywork (which has been legally declared a work of art), V12 engine, and race-proven pedigree have elevated it in status to the point that not even the most expensive Ferrari models on sale today could ever hope to match it, even with all their carbon fiber bodywork.
The 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO sold in 2018 for 70 million dollars was bought by WeatherTeach CEO David MacNeil
Ferrari has built a number of one-off cars for clients the world over, like the P4/5 in 2006 or the Ferrari SP51 revealed in 2022. There is no one rarest Ferrari, but those with a history in motorsports are by far the most sought-after.
Ferrari's most expensive model at the time of writing is the Daytona SP3, with a price of $2,250,000. It is part of the Icona series of limited-edition historically-inspired Ferraris, limited to just 599 units.
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