It breaks the previous record of between US $30-34 million ($31-35.2 million), for a 1936 Bugatti.
Bloomberg reports the pale apple-green Ferrari, chassis number 3505, is one of only 39 GTOs produced between 1962 to 1964 and was intended to be raced at Le Mans by Sir Stirling Moss, whose name is written on the back of the driver's seat.
The car's unique colour was to match the pale-green livery of Moss' UDT-Laystall race team. Sadly the great man never got behind the wheel suffering his career-ending crash at the Goodwood circuit in Sussex on April 23, 1962 before racing the Ferrari. The car did eventually hit the track with fellow English driver Innes Ireland steering the car at Le Mans where it unfortunately retired.
The car was sold by Dutch-born businessman Eric Heerema who owns the Nyetimber vineyard in Sussex, England, to American-based classic car collector Craig McCaw who was the co-founder of McCaw Cellular that was acquired by American telecommunications giant AT&T for US $11.5 billion in 1993.
Dealers say the sale isn't a one-off with many high-end classics changing hands of late. Chris Evans' Ferrari 250 GTO bought for US $18 million ($20.1 million) in 2010 has recently been sold for a figure upwards of US $20 million ($20.7 million). John Collins, of UK-based Talacrest Ltd, was reported by Bloomberg as saying, "I've heard of eight Ferraris selling for a total of US $135 million ($139.9 million) during the last eight weeks." The eye-watering figures make the $6.45 million payed for a 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC Spider seem like a bargain.
Heerema's green GTO has proven itself to be a good investment having acquired the car a decade ago for about US $8.5 million ($8.8 million) from Japanese collector Yoshiho Matsuda, also the previous owner of Evans' Ferrari – giving us simple folk a glimpse into the multi-million dollar circle of life.
The previous sales record was held by a 1936 Type 57SC Bugatti Atlantic (pictured above) bought by Californian-based collector Peter Mullin in 2010 in a private transaction, the final price of which remains undisclosed.