Red Ferrari Coupe Breaks Auction Record With $38.1 Million Sale

Aug 15, 2014 12:00 am ET

Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- A Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta sold for $38.1 million in California, setting a record for a car sold at auction globally.

The 1962 red two-seat coupe was estimated to sell for $30 million to $40 million at yesterday’s Bonhams auction in Carmel. Before the sale, Robert Brooks, Bonhams chairman, had expected the price to surpass the record for a car sold at any auction -- $29.7 million for a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 racing car sold by Bonhams in 2013.

“This is the peak of any Ferrari collection,” Brooks said in a telephone interview from London before the auction. “They tend to stay in owners’ hands for a long period, and you don’t see them coming up for sale that often.”

The sale price, including premium, didn’t topple the October record for a car sale of any kind set by a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO racer, which fetched $52 million in a private transaction, Bloomberg News reported. At last year’s auctions in Pebble Beach, California, a 1967 Ferrari 275 NART Spyder set the record for a car bought at a U.S. auction, going for $27.5 million.

Yesterday’s sale is among six days of events and auctions for vintage car collectors that started Aug. 12 in the picturesque central coast towns of Carmel and Monterey and at the oceanside Pebble Beach golf course.

The Ferrari that sold today was bought in 1965 by Fabrizio Violati, whose Italian family made its money in agriculture and mineral water bottling and distribution, according to Bonhams.

“The sound that car makes will make your hair stand on edge,” Peter Sweeney, a classic car dealer in Gaylordsville, Connecticut, who sells Ferraris, said in a telephone interview. “It’s a shriek. It’s unlike any other sound you’ve ever heard before.”

The car auctions continue through Aug. 17.