This might not come as a shock, but ultra-rare vintage cars are only going to get more expensive as time rolls on, particularly if there's a prancing horse on the car's nose. For example, in 2011, a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa sold for $16.39 million. In February 2012, a 1964 250 GTO sold for nearly $32 million. Later that year, a 1962 250 GTO sold for $35 million. It was the most expensive car ever sold, making last year's 275 GTB/4 NART Spider and its $27.5-million auction price seem like a drop in the platinum-lined bucket. Now, there's been another high-dollar Ferrari sale.
An unrestored, 1957 250 Testa Rossa was reportedly sold for over $39 million, making it the most expensive car ever sold in the United Kingdom. Just for perspective, $39 million is about 28 LaFerraris or roughly 128 F12 Berlinettas. It's not the most expensive car ever sold, but it still represents a huge sum of money for a classic car. Part of the reason for chassis number 0704 - the car pictured above is 0714, which sold for a mere $12.2 million in 2009 - being sold for so much is down to its excellent provenance.
It made its race debut at the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans, although it failed to finish. Phil Hill and Peter Collins racked up wins with this exact car in Buenos Aires and Sebring, according to the folks at Hemmings. Combining race wins by a former Formula One World Champion with an unrestored example of an extremely rare car (one of just 34 250 Testa Rossas ever built) makes its monumental sale price almost seem reasonable.
Following its racing life, the 0704 was donated to The Henry Ford Museum, outside of Detroit. It spent 30 years there, before being sold in 1997. According to Hemmings, the care by The Henry Ford team, which has a voluminous collection of rare and classic cars, is part of the reason this unrestored car remains in such good condition.
As this was a private sale, rather than through an auction house, it's unlikely we'll ever know the complete details behind the sale. The pricing information comes from The Daily Mail, which claims well-placed sources confirmed the price of 24 million pounds (that converts to $39.2 million as of this writing). The car was owned by Tom Hartley, Jr., a UK-based car dealer. Hartley admitted to selling the car, although it's unclear who the new owner is, according to Hemmings.