Vintage Ferrari sets auction record

MILAN Mon May 18, 2009 10:19am EDT

1 of 2. An undated photo of a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa offered for sale at an auction in Maranello, Italy on May 17, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Darin Schnabel/RM Auctions

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - A 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa has set a new world record for the most expensive car ever sold at auction, costing the buyer 9.02 million euros ($12.15 million), according to RM Auctions, which organized the event.

The price, which includes a 10 percent buyer's premium on top of the "hammer price," is nearly 2 million euros more than the previous record set at a similar auction at Ferrari's headquarters a year ago, it said in a statement.

"The historical significance of this car attracted a bidding war as collectors from around the world -- both in the room and on the telephone -- competed to secure one of the most alluring ... Ferrari racing cars," RM Europe Managing Director Max Girardo said in the statement.

RM declined to identify the buyer or the seller.

The auction took place on Sunday at Ferrari's factory and test circuit at Maranello, a small town near Modena in the north of Italy. Between 1957 and 1958, only 22 examples of the open-topped "pontoon fender" model were made, according to the statement.

Examples of the open-topped two-seater model entered 19 international championship races from 1958 to 1961, claiming 10 victories, it said.

The example sold on Sunday has a black body and a red nose. Inside, the leather seats are red.

Ferrari is part of Italy's Fiat industrial group, best known for small, economical cars.

(Writing by Nigel Tutt; Editing by Steve Addison)