Getting Personal with Most Expensive Ferrari Ever Sold at Auction - SUV VEHICLE

Getting Personal with Most Expensive Ferrari Ever Sold at Auction

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How does it feel to sell the most expensive Ferrari, and the second-most expensive car of any kind, at auction? “Very sad,” Jim Jaeger told us about parting with his beloved and extremely storied 1962 Ferrari 330LM/250GTO. “It’s an incredible car, but it’s time for someone else to enjoy it.”



That beloved Ferrari became even more storied when it made history on November 13, 2023, by becoming the most expensive Ferrari ever sold at public auction. The hammer came down at RM Sotheby’s auction block headquarters on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, setting the record by stamping its final official invoice with a cool $51,705,000 including all fees. At such a figure, it tops the chart considerably above the previous record-holder, another 250 GTO that traded hands in Monterey for $48.4 million. We got a chance to speak with the seller and his son, whose family had the car since 1985.


Vintage Ferraris Are The Cream Of The Crop

Coined the “billionaire’s Ferrari,” this specific ’62 330LM/250GTO belongs to a very elite club, one that represents the cream of the crop when it comes to collector vehicles. It’s a club whose credentials are shared among the likes of a 1957 Ferrari 335S Spider, once driven by the late and great Sir Stirling Moss, that went for $35.8 million, and another ’62 250 GTO that sold for $38,115,000 in California in 2014.

Although Chassis No. 3765 takes the title as the most expensive Ferrari ever sold at auction, the ’62 330LM/250GTO has yet to come close to surpassing the most expensive automobile ever sold at auction. That title belongs to a $142-million 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, which sold at RMSotheby’s back in May of 2022. In between, another 1953 Ferrari 250 GTO privately changed hands outside the auction block for a reported for $78 million in 2018, taking the title as the most expensive classic Ferrari ever sold in any setting, period. Chassis 3765’s sale price also underscored RMSotheby’s initial estimate, which originally estimated a price in the neighborhood of $60 million.

I wanted to buy the ultimate Ferrari, the GTO

“I had no clue,” Jim told us when asked if he ever foreshadowed the Ferrari being worth so much. “I didn’t buy it as an investment, expecting it to appreciate. I bought it because I’m a Ferrari guy and I wanted to enjoy it. I wanted to buy the ultimate Ferrari, the GTO, because it would be a great addition to my collection.”

This Was The Only 250 GTO Ever Raced by The Ferrari Factory Team

Its claim to fame doesn’t just come from selling for over 120 times more than the average median cost of a house in the U.S. This particular 250, chassis 3765, also comes with quite a bit of significant Ferrari history, which is extremely and thoroughly documented, and even compiled into a final presentation thanks to RMSotheby. Chassis No. 3765’s prominence comes from the fact that it was the only 1962 GTO ever raced by the factory team, Scuderia Ferrari. It debuted at the Nürburgring 1000 Kilometres of that year, where it scored second place overall, but took the first place podium in its class.

1962 Ferrari 330LM - 250GTO Chassis 3765 Catalogue Screenshot
RMSotheby’s

As it continued competition duties into the 1963 season, new-at-the-time Le Mans regulations forced Ferrari to transplant a larger 4.0-liter Colombo V-12 under the hood in place of the original 3.0-liter variant. That changeover makes no. 3765 the only 250 GTO to ever be fitted with the larger 4.0-liter V-12 from in-house operations at Maranello to this day. However, it never got a chance to score a podium finish, as no. 3765 supposedly veered off the track, suffered mechanical overheating issues, and eventually dropped out of the race.

Parts of its history are murky from there. It may have gone on to second place at the Nürburgring later that year, and after going through its series of trials and tribulations in the 1963 season, Ferrari removed the original 4.0-liter engine and replaced it with a 3.0-liter V-12 from a 246/250 P prototype. Privateer teams then raced it successfully at least through the Targa Florio in 1965, after which it passed into private hands. No. 3765 still retains that 3.0-liter V-12 today, along with the original five-speed manual gearbox.

They’re so much more than just one of the most beautiful cars ever created

“You have to drive a GTO to truly know how wonderful they are,” Jim mentioned as one of the most important things others should know about cars like no. 3765. “They’re so much more than just one of the most beautiful cars ever created. And looking specifically at 3765, it is a seriously significant car in automotive history. It was factory-raced by Scuderia Ferrari with a 4.0-liter engine as a 330 LM before being factory-converted to the 3.0-liter configuration, sold, and raced throughout Italy by privateers as a 250 GTO.”

Chassis no. 3765 then spent the following years changing hands between private ownership and Ferrari, before it finally found its way across the Atlantic and onto North American shores some time in the 1970s. It eventually landed in the hands of Jim Jaeger, who purchased the vehicle in 1985 and kept it within the family before consigning it to RM Sotheby’s in November.

This Ferrari Still Gets Driven

“When I first got it, I used to drive it to work on nice days,” Jim continued. “I [vintage] raced it a few times and really fell in love with it.” After using the car regularly, Jim noted that he eventually retired the car from its regular daily-driving duties, presumably for practical reasons. But despite being pulled from his daily fleet, chassis no. 3765 remained under good and consistent use as opposed to ending up as a garage queen, making regular appearances at high-profile collector car events, concours, and vintage motorsports spectacles ever since.

The car, described in one word, is visceral. You and the car are in tune with one another.

“Vintage racing it at Mid-Ohio with the four-liter engine in it,” Jim continued, when asked about some of his most memorable moments during his ownership. “The thing I remember the most, was the first time driving down the back straight away at speed, I said to myself, ‘I get it!’ It suddenly dawned on me why the GTOs were so dominant. I experienced why Ferraris were so much better than the competition in the same era. It’s an easy car to drive fast. The car, described in one word, is visceral. You and the car are in tune with one another.”

But of all the most memorable of all memorable experiences with the 250, Jim emphasized a road rally in Napa Valley in 2007: “For me, doing the GTO reunion in Napa in 2007 was so special. We got to drive the car a lot on spectacular roads throughout NAPA Valley, and we met some great people.”

It’s Not A Museum Piece

“Out of all the cars in the collection, I’ve driven the GTO the most,” Jim’s son (who asked to remain unnamed) shared with us. “My wife and I were fortunate to be able to take 3765 to the 60th Anniversary GTO reunion last year, and it was such a special experience. We drove the car about 150-200 miles per day, including time on track at [Virginia International Raceway]. Pairing the time in car along with fantastic meals and getting to know the other GTO owners in attendance made for a week that I’ll never forget.”

Although far from a museum piece, the fact that this 250GTO sees regular use and is driven adds to its heroic value, given that it hasn’t been relegated to just being a garage queen. Though piloting a vehicle carrying such a hefty price tag comes with some thoughts, concerns, and risks.

In the end, it’s a car and it’s meant to be driven

“Fortunately, I haven’t had any ‘code brown’ moments in this car,” said Jim’s so. “The best thing you can do for both the safety of the car and yourself is not think about its value. It may be easier said than done, but in the end, it’s a car and it’s meant to be driven. If you stay focused, drive within your own limits, and act responsibly, you’re going to have a great time behind the wheel and keep everything in good condition.”

“Now that I’m getting older and can’t enjoy it like I used to, It’s time for someone else to enjoy the car, I figured it’s time for someone else,” Jim concluded.

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