Monterey Car Week encapsulates a number of glitzy car events every summer, not the least of which are the auctions where the rarest and most expensive vehicles go under the hammer. This year, one particularly historic Ferrari goes on the block, potentially selling at or above $20 million. Ferrari’s 250 series features many legendary cars, most notably the 250 GTO. Often overlooked is the 250 LM, a car built to replace the GTO and race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, hence the “LM” designation. Based on the 250 P prototype, the 250 LM had a mid-mounted 3.3-liter V12 engine and was essentially the prototype fitted with a fixed roof.
In 1964, Ferrari wished to enter the 250 LM into Le Mans’s GT class, the group of race cars based on production vehicles where it was designed to dominate. However, Ferrari had a hard time convincing motorsport’s governing body the FIA that it wasn’t just a race car pretending to be a road car, fitting things like car horns and adding “spare” tires to it. Today, it would be like slapping a license plate and turn signals onto a Formula 1 car and saying, “it’s totally street legal, I swear!”
The FIA were similarly unconvinced, denying the 250 LM the GT class entry and forcing it to run in the prototype class. This left famed Ferrari head Enzo Ferrari fairly miffed, as it underperformed in a category it wasn’t prepared for. Only 32 250 LMs were ultimately built, most of which were sold off to private racing teams. The following year, the North American Racing Team drove a 250 LM to win the event outright, something a Ferrari wouldn’t do again for 58 whole years until 2023, i.e. this year.
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Of the 32 250 LMs built, this one heading to auction is the 22nd. Originally sold to British driver George Drummond, it went to work racing in local circuits, winning a few before Drummond and his team entered it into the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona, where it survived 90 laps before suffering a gearbox failure.
The Ferrari had eight more race starts with Drummond before he sold it to Paul Vestey Racing, who entered it into the 1968 Le Mans race, where it made it to the 99th lap before being forced to retire. After that, the 250 LM changed hands several times and saw several restorations under its more dutiful caretakers. It was even a showpiece at the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena for a while.
With its rarity, thorough racing history and the fact that it never suffered a major crash, this particular Ferrari 250 LM is highly coveted and is estimated to fetch between 18 to 20 million dollars. Considering that the 250 GTO, the car it was meant to replace, has sold at similar auctions for more than double that price, owning this piece of Ferrari history is almost a bargain, relatively speaking of course. Yachts aren’t really popular these days anyway — sell one and get this instead.
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