Ferrari 250GTO chassis number 5095GT – a car that was based in the UK – has found a new owner for well over £20 million (approximately $30 million), making it the most expensive single car transaction ever known to have taken place in the UK. The car was sold by the co-founder of Foxtons estate agency, Jon Hunt, who bought the GTO in 2008 for £15.7 million – then a world-record deal.
The 250GTO is the 32nd in the series, and the penultimate one with the original 1962 body style, the most desirable of the run, which has achieved near-mythical status among collectors worldwide to become the most expensive Ferrari of them all.
Ferrari specialist Talacrest’s John Collins, who sold the car during the 1990s, confirms this view: ‘It’s strange how the market goes, but the 250GTO is like a Picasso. It used to be the Testa Rossa and the P3 and P4 that led the way in Ferrari values, but they are way behind. It’s part of a new culture – you can take out a 250GTO and be seen in it.’
Chassis 5095GT has a well-documented history. It was produced in September 1963 and was road- registered on Modena licence plate MO 96519 by the first owner (Count Volpi’s Scuderia SSS de Venezia) the same month. It made its competition debut almost immediately, in the gruelling Tour de France, a mix of circuit races, road stages and hillclimbs, driven by Lucien Bianchi and Carlo Mario Abate. By the end of the endurance event it certainly didn’t look like a nearly new car with one careful owner, as it had been driven to within an inch of its life, the engine on the verge of expiry and the body beaten and torn, with most of the forward part of the driver’s side front wing missing.
However, it finished in second position overall, only bettered by the similar model, chassis 5111GT, of Jean Guichet and Jose Behra. It was then returned to the factory for refurbishment and repair, after its torturous travails in France.
In early 1964 it was sold to the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, best known as the organisers of the Le Mans 24 Hours race, who supported a local driver, Fernand Tavano. The car was used for driving school duties at the circuit, and when it was ‘out of school’ Tavano ran it in rallies and hillclimbs during 1964, winning the Rallye Picardie and Rallye Limousin, and was also victorious in the Les Andelys hillclimb. It reappeared in the 1964 Tour de France driven by Tavano/Martin, but retired, ironically in a circuit race at its home track, Le Mans, where it blew its engine as it crossed the line in fourth place.
The ACO retained the car until 1967, during which time it acquired ‘Ban the Bomb’ Ford Cortina Mk1 rear lights and the front sidelights were modified to be within the Plexiglass covers rather than the wing sides. It was then bought by French Ferrari collector Pierre Bardinon for his Collection Mas du Clos, where it was returned to its original configuration. It remained there for almost 30 years.
Chassis no 5095GT continued to race, and be seen, and was acquired by Talacrest in 1996, whereupon it was sold on to Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of Samsung, for £3,500,000. At that point it was in ‘original’ condition, although it was subsequently restored. Lee Kun-hee held on to it until 2007 when he sold it to British property developer William Ainscough, before Jon Hunt bought it the following year.
The latest sale was agreed in secret, apparently via a London dealer who wishes to remain anonymous, but news soon spread. Sources have suggested to Octane that it might have gone to Mexico; certainly, there are a couple of big Ferrari collectors there, who between them own at least two GTOs and a 250 Testa Rossa.
On the question of price, John Collins told Octane: ‘I wish I’d kept that bloody car! If I were selling a 250GTO now, it would be up for $35 million – take it or leave it, not a penny less. I’ve sold seven over the years, and in total they wouldn’t have come to that!’