It’s the single largest amount ever paid for a car in the UK – possibly the world thanks to the strength of the Pound – and it’s far from new. In fact it’s almost half a century old. That’s right, 50 years, five decades.
So was it kept in a glass case from the time it rolled off the production floor making it a pristine unused antique? Nope, in fact the moment it was registered it was entered in a series of gruelling races that included tracks, roads and (shudder) rally style hill-climbs. It was thoroughly beaten up during the first months of its life, its engine driven to the point of destruction. Its abused bodywork bore signs of ageing well beyond its years in only its first year after production. And it didn’t even win, it finished second overall. In fact if one constant remains throughout this car’s near five decades on planet earth, it’s that it has been raced a lot all over it.
One owner since new? Pah! I count at least four owners. So it doesn’t have that going for it either.
Was it owned by someone very famous perhaps, like the fiery red Lamborghini Countach once owned by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, now residing in Malaysia? (The Countach now resides in Malaysia, not Barry). Nope. Not unless you consider the Chairman of Samsung, Lee Kun-Hee a celebrity. Yeah, he had it for a while in 1996, and he bought it for a ‘mere’ £3.5 million – bet he’s really kicking himself right about now.
Alright, what was it you ask? Glad you did.
Bearing chassis number 5095GT, the car in question is a 1963 Ferrari 250GTO, one of the most coveted of all Ferraris, and recently sold at an auction in the UK for an astounding £20 million, approximately US$30 million.
Due to copyright restrictions I can only show you the Ferrari 250GTO that I own, albeit in 1:18 scale, still a beauty, whatever the size.
At this point some of you will be totally appalled and will say things like “It’s just a car! 4 wheels plus an engine! That’s mad!” Well if you are, stop reading right now, in fact, click off and go read Esquire or something.
Still with me? Excellent!
At this point I’d normally put that sum into some kind of perspective, and say something to the effect that for that kind of money you could buy a mansion in Bangsar, a new Rolls-Royce Phantom and Ghost, a luxury yacht, and a whole Yacht Club for that matter, to dock it in, or you could buy a fleet of brand new Ferrari 458s or 25 Lamborghini Aventadors. But I won’t. There’s no point.
My limited math skills notwithstanding, £20 million is just shy of a hundred million Ringgit. One hundred MILLION Ringgit! Say it like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers; go on, you know you want to, it sounds better that way anyway.
This very same car was last sold in 2008 for £15.7 million – a record back then too. To put that into perspective, the car has appreciated in value by about a million pounds a year. Wait a sec, aren’t cars supposed to depreciate the moment you drive them away from the showroom? Something from 1963, trashed to death and back, should be worth scrap metal value by now, right? Yes, but not always.
So back to the 250GTO in question. The next big question after ‘how much’, would naturally be ‘who?’ And that’s the big mystery, no one seems to know who bought it. The final bid was handled by a US-based broker, but insiders speculate that the car is headed for Mexico, the Middle East, UK or South America. I think they should also consider China.
But here’s the clincher folks, the person – yes, the only thing that can be confirmed is that one person, not a whole country, bought the car – is on a buying spree of sorts and recently also picked up (at auctions via his or her broker) a US$10 million Dusenberg, a US$16.4 million Ferrari Testa Rossa, a US $880,000 Maserati Ghibli, a US$2.2 million Mercedes Gullwing and a €4 million Ferrari 250GT California Spider. That’s an investment of roughly USD $60 million all in, give or take. And that’s exactly what cars like these are – investments.
Think of it this way, if Chairman Lee had kept this 250GTO, which he had bought for £3.5 million, he’d have made a staggering £16.5 million today, more than a million Pounds a year, just for keeping a car. That’s one heck of a ROI.
Not mad at all is it? Merely 4 wheels + and engine eh?