Records were shattered in Monterey on Saturday August 18, with a Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S  hitting an astonishing $27.5 million, (including buyer’s premium).   Why was the price paid so high?   One reason was that the full sale price was benefiting various charities.   Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who developed Tommy Hilfiger brand, was the successful bidder.   He already owns more than 20 other Ferraris, as well as a race track near Mont Tremblant, Que., on which to drive them.

The red Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider was one of only 10 ever built, and was owned by the late Eddie Smith, an orphan-turned-millionaire, and former mayor of Lexington, N. C.  He died in 2007 at age 88.  Since then, the car has been stored in a specially built garage.

N.A.R.T. stands for North American Racing Team, a Ferrari-backed venture created in the late 1950s to promote the brand in the U.S.  Its single-family ownership increased interest in the sale as did the fact that a 275 N.A.R.T. Spider was featured in the 1968 film “The Thomas Crown Affair” starring Steve McQueen.  McQueen had owned one of the rare Ferraris himself, but wrecked it in a crash.  It is rumoured he tried to buy this car.

The $27.5 million is a record for a car sold at auction in the United States and second in the world to the $29.7 million paid for a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 raced by Juan Manuel Fangio.

RM Auctions Vice President Alain Squindo discusses the Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S here and explains why the car commanded the price it did.

 

Update – October 5, 13:   A 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO racer has become the world’s most expensive car, selling for $52 million US.  The red competition car, formerly owned by the Greenwich, Connecticut-based collector Paul Pappalardo, was acquired by an unidentified buyer in a private transaction.  The car was previously owned by a Spanish collector.

The price is a 49 percent increase on the record for any auto, achieved last year for another 250 GTO.