With unmatched provenance and factory racing pedigree that stretches from Le Mans to the Nürburgring this 1962 Ferrari 330 LM / 250 GTO by Scaglietti claimed the title as the most expensive Ferrari ever sold at auction when it achieved a final sale price of USD$51,705,000 (AUD$81,240,000) at RM Sotheby’s overnight.
To understand the reason for the sale price is to understand the car’s racing heritage and pedigree. Not only is this the only Works GTO example originally equipped with the 4.0-litre Colombo-style engine, but it’s also the only factory GTO ‘Tipo’ 1962 example to have been campaigned by the Scuderia Ferrari. To put that into context, Tipo was the coachbuilder who only managed to build 34 examples of this model. This Rosso Cina finished vehicle is the only one equipped with the dry sump lubricated, three-carburetor motor with uprated camshafts (engine number 42 SA) from the factory.
Chassis 3765 made its race debut for Scuderia Ferrari at the Nürburgring 1000 KM on May 27 where it was entered as race #120. Mike Parkes and Willy Mairesse were behind the wheel as it went on to a class win and 2nd overall finish to Hill and Gendebien in a Ferrari Dino 246 SP. The potential for a 4-litre GTO was proven immediately.
Shortly after racing at the Nürburgring, the engine was pulled in search of more power before Le Mans. Engine number 48 SA was inserted with six Weber 42 DCN carburettors for around 390 horsepower.
The scene was set at the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans: 13 total Ferraris on the starting grid, 4 SEFAC Ferrari cars, 2 of which were in the 4-litre class. The first was the race-winning 330 TRI LM and the second was chassis number 3765. Unfortunately, the car would overheat more than halfway through the sixth hour after succumbing to damage caused by a brake lock-up at the end of the Mulsanne Straight. However, that didn’t end the life of this world-record-holding Ferrari 330 LM / 250 GTO.
After returning to Maranello the car was purchased by Trieste resident Pietro Ferraro where it underwent another factory engine-swap. This time a 3-litre motor (128LM/63 specification engine) that had originally been used as a development engine for chassis number 0796. This was paired with a 5-speed gearbox and both remain in the car today.
This Ferrari would change owners a number of times while garnering concourse awards around the world, including a Blue Ribbon Award at the 1997 Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, 2nd-place among 23 total GTO at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2011, Platinum Award and the Coppa Bella Macchina, and a Best-of-Show award at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance amongst many others.
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Its previous Ohio-based owner had held onto the car since April 1985 when they bought it off Fred Leydorf of Birmingham, Michigan, who was the chairman of the FCA. It’s likely we’ll never know who bought the car for the world-record USD$51,705,000 (AUD$81,240,000) price at RM Sotheby’s.
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