The record sale was far less than what several experts had predicted. Experts on classic cars expected that the car can sell up to twice the final bid amount. The bidding, which occurred at a place filled with well-heeled collectors, started at $11 million. Within just a minute, the bid amount reached $31 million. It came to a conclusion when the car hit the $34-million mark. All in all, the total money involved reached $38.1 million as a buyer's premium of 10 percent was also added.

The GTO is one of the rarest and most coveted cars in the world. Ferrari made only 39 of the cars and designed them specifically for racing. The sold Ferrari 250 GTO was originally owned by Jo Schlesser, a French racer, who used the car in the Tour de France car race in 1962.

That same year, Henri Oreiller, a former French Olympic ski champion, drove the car in a race at Montlhéry, France. He crashed the car which eventually caused his death. The car was restored by Ferrari.

In the mid-1960s, the Ferrari was sold to Fabrizio Violati at the price of $4000. "I saved the car from scrap and hid it from my parents. I only drove it at night so nobody would see me," said Fabrizio.

As an avid fan of Ferraris, Fabrizio built a Ferrari museum with the GTO as the centerpiece. When he died in 2010, his Ferrari collection was sold by his family.

One of the cars in the collection ended up in the recently concluded auction wherein the final bid amount plus fees reached a record of $38.1 million. It surpassed the previous record carried by a Mercedes-Benz racer which sold for $31.6 million including bidding fees.

"The market right now is just so strong," said Marcel Massini, a leading historian and adviser on Ferraris.

The 250 GTO is a front-engine competition coupe. It was the last one of its kind to be built by Ferrari which succeeded the model with a midengine 250 LM in 1965.

The classic cars sale was billed as the highlight of the annual event. One expert had even predicted that the high-end collector cars, which have skyrocketing values, would reach total sales of almost $500 million in the four-day auction.

Despite the fact that the car failed to meet the expected bid of $50 million and more, auctioneer Brooks quickly stressed that the result is not at all disappointing. "The previous world record was $30 million, and we're nearly 30 percent ahead of that. That's a lot of money; that's a big up," said Brooks.

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