From the New York Times:
CARMEL, Calif. — A Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta, one of 36 built in 1961-64, sold for $38.1 million at the Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction here on Thursday evening. The sale is one of many events taking place this week on the Monterey Peninsula of California in conjunction with Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance.
At a time when prices of vintage cars have been rising to new heights, Ferrari GTOs have been considered strong candidates for resetting the record for the most expensive automobile sold at auction (until Thursday, that distinction had been held by the Mercedes-Benz W196 racecar that sold for $29.7 million last summer). In that sense, the hammer price of $34.65 million (before the buyer’s premium) was a success, though it fell short of expectations by some that exceeded $50 million.
This sale, for the 250 GTO with the serial number 3851 on its firewall, one of the earlier examples of the model, was the first public offering of one of these cars in many years. A webcast of the auction began at 8 p.m.
For most of its existence, the car belonged to Fabrizio Violati, a wealthy Italian amateur driver who died in 2010. The former French Olympic ski champion Henri Oreiller was killed while driving it in a race at Montlhéry, France, in 1962. The car was rebuilt by the Ferrari factory.
The 250 GTO was the last front-engine competition coupe to be built by Ferrari. It was succeeded by the midengine 250 LM model in 1965.