The Ferrari 250 GTO is arguably the most iconic and valuable car on the planet. Depending on condition and history they can be worth $40 million to $70 million. But back in the late Sixties, a 250 GTO was just an old racing car. The grandfather of John Temerian bought one in 1967 and sold it on just a couple of years later, missing out on a profit of millions.
Speaking to Vin Wiki, Temerian tells how his garage-owning grandfather bought his 250 GTO in 1968. It was a rare right-hand-drive example that had been raced by F1 champion John Surtees. The elder Temerian paid $6,800 – still a big chunk of money at the time. The young Temerian’s father, a teenager at the time, didn’t particularly like the Ferrari, thinking the grille looked like chicken wire – 250 GTO build quality was approximate at best.
Under pressure from Temerian II, Temerian I sold the 250 GTO on a couple of years later for a modest profit, getting $9,500 – around $70,000 today. That money went towards buying a Lamborghini Miura as a 16th birthday present for Temerian II – alright for some, isn’t it?
Temerian II loved his Miura and later upgraded to a Miura SV which he still owns. Indeed, he loves it so much that he couldn’t have cared less as 250 GTO values started their exponential rise.
By the early 1980s, they were changing hands for $150,000 or so, but by the late Eighties they were worth a couple of million. At the turn of the century, values had increased five-fold and now you’re looking at a minimum of $40 million to secure one of the 39 examples built.
Temerian I, it seems, felt so hard done by that no-one was allowed to ever mention the fact that he once owned a 250 GTO.
Still, it’s not all bad. Temerian II’s Miura SV is now worth more than $1 million itself and the family owns a successful high-end car dealership.
There are two lessons here: in trading classic cars, timing is everything, but it’s much more important to buy a car that you love. Because, even if you have to wait a few decades for the value to spike, at least you’ll have a car that you actually enjoy using in the meantime.
By Graham King