A classic Ferrari has become the most expensive car ever sold in Britain after it changed hands for a staggering £20.2MILLION.
The legendary Ferrari 250 GTO is the world’s most sought-after car with just 39 built between 1962 and 1964.
This 1963 model – number 5095 – is believed to have been sold by British businessman Jon Hunt, who bought it in 2008 for a then world record £15.7million.
The canny businessman, who founded the Foxtons estate agency and sold it for £370m before the housing slump, has made a #4.5million profit in just three years.
It is the second most expensive car ever sold in the world after a 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC which went for ‘between £20 and £26million’ in 2010.
The sale was agreed in secret over the past fortnight but rumours of the sale soon began circulating in the vintage car industry.
John Collins, chairman of classic Ferrari specialist Talacrest, confirmed the GTO’s sale but refused to reveal if it was Mr Hunt’s model.
But records show Mr Hunt as the current owner of 5095 – which is now thought to be on its way to Spain.
The multi-millionaire businessman declined to comment on the sale yesterday.
When it was launched in the 1960s by Enzo Ferrari, the 250 GTO came with a price-tag of a mere £6,000.
The 250 GTO was fitted with a 3-litre V12 engine developing 300bhp – meaning a 0-60mph time of 6.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 174mph.
Despite the economic downturn, the demand for a vintage Ferraris has gone through the roof with collectors regarding them as bulletproof investments.
Ascot-based Talacrest, which has been selling bluechip Ferraris for more than 30 years, had record sales in 2011.
Mr Collins said: “Wealthy people are spending a lot of money on classic Ferraris and everyone wants a GTO at the moment.
“Classic Ferraris have seen more gains than others, they’re like the Picassos of the car world.
“And the 250 GTO is the golden car of its generation, show me a man who wouldn’t want one.
“They are bought by people who have a love of cars and see them as an investment.
“I have bought and sold seven over the years including this model and I wish I had kept one now, but hey ho.”
This model sold was built in September 1963 and enjoyed an illustrious racing career.
It made its motorsport debut later on that month in the 1963 Tour de France road race, finishing second while being driven by Carlo Maria Abate and Lucien Bianchi.
The sports car – number 5095 – went on to win three competitions in 1964 – the Rallye de Picardie, Rallye du Limousin and Les Andelys hillclimb.
It continued to race and appear at shows before it was bought by Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of Korean electronics giant Samsung, in 1996.
Mr Lee held on to the Ferrari until 2007 when he sold it to British property developer William Ainscough with Mr Hunt paying £15.7million for it the following year.
British Ferrari fans Chris Evans and Nick Mason both own 250 GTOs with Evans paying £12 million for his Series II model in 2010.
Pink Floyd drummer Mason, 68, bought his model in 1975.
RM Auctions arranged the private sale of a Series II GTO to the Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans in 2010.
They said the Series I sold for £20 million was more desirable than Evans’ car because it had the slightly different design which “most people identify with”.
A spokesperson for RM Auction said: “The 250 GTO has built up a cult status over the past 40 years.
“By owning one you join a very exclusive club which only a few can be in at any time. It buys you into the club everyone wants to join.
“The GTO also has a rare quality in that it is very driveable which can’t be said for all historic racing Ferraris.
“Some are very hard to drive in traffic but you can get general use out of the GTO, it is very versatile.
“They look incredible – their proportion is perfect.”
“It is hard to pinpoint why a particular model attracts the level of desirability which certain models do.
“With the Ferrari 250 GTO there are various elements. There aren’t many of them, although most which were built still exist.
“They’re not the rarest but they are incredibly competent race cars and were very successful in motorsport.”