Page last updated at 18:23 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 19:23 UK

Chris Evans' 12m Ferrari is among world's rarest cars

Ferrari 250 GTO
The Ferrari 250 GTO bought by Chris Evans

Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans has splashed out £12m on a rare 1960s Ferrari. Why are classic cars like this so valuable? And which ones are fetching the highest prices?

Vintage vehicles are becoming increasingly highly prized as a growing number of collectors around the world compete to buy the very best and rarest models.

The 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO bought by Evans is one of just 36 that were built by the famous Italian firm, and is viewed by many experts as the most desirable car of its type because of its beauty and history.

The DJ bought another Ferrari, this time a 250 GT SWB California Spyder once owned by Hollywood actor James Coburn, for £5m in 2008.

But Chris Routledge of Coys auctioneers described Evans' most recent purchase, which cost £6,000 when new, as the "Holy Grail" for many collectors.

Racing history

He said: "The 250 GTO is considered to be the ultimate in terms of its beauty and racing pedigree.

"They are very, very rare. They are seen as the Holy Grail of motor cars."

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
Ferrari 250 GTO bought by Chris Evans one of just 36 of its type
Bugatti Type 57S Atlantic sold this year for an estimated £30m
A Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa fetched £8m in Italy last May
A Shelby Daytona Cobra coupe was bought for £4.4m last August
A 1937 Mercedes Benz 540K Special Roadster was sold in October 2007 for £3.9m

Phil Bell, editor of Classic Cars Magazine, said he was not surprised by the price Evans paid for the Ferrari.

He said: "This car is one of just 36 ever built, and only three were made in this particular body style.

"His car came second in the Spa 500km race in 1964. That kind of history makes it more valuable.

"The price he paid sounds about right for a car like that, but the rarest ones are hard to value because they often change hands behind closed doors.

"The value of the most collectable cars has been going up for some time.

"Things went crazy in the late 80s as speculators entered the market before a crash in the early 1990s.

"It's really accelerated from about 2000 onwards.

"The market for really rare cars is still driven by true enthusiasts like Chris Evans.

"He has a collection of Ferraris of different types."

But despite its record price tag, Evans' car - thought to be the most expensive sold in Britain - is not the world's costliest.

That title belongs to an even rarer Bugatti Type 57S Atlantic which was sold privately recently for an estimated £30m.

A 1937 Type 57S Atalante which was discovered gathering dust in a Tyneside garage in 2008 sold at auction for £3m last year.

Long lost Bugatti
A 1937 Bugatti found gathering dust in a Tyneside garage sold for 3m

Other recent multimillion sales include a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa which sold for £8m in Italy last May, a Shelby Daytona Cobra coupe which was bought for £4.4m last August and a 1937 Mercedes Benz 540K Special Roadster which was sold three years ago for £3.9m.

Max Girardo of RM Auctions, where Mr Evans is rumoured to have bought his Ferrari, outlined the car's past.

He said: "The value of classic cars has a lot to do with their histories.

"This GTO was raced a lot when it was new in Italy, including at Monza.

"It was then sold to (former racing driver) David Piper who raced it himself.

"It was with a collector in Japan for a while too."

The 250 GTO was so highly prized by Enzo Ferrari, who founded the firm, that he is said to have personally approved buyers.

Evans' car is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds and has a top speed of 174 mph.

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