Motorhead

Stunning 1957 Ferrari becomes Britain’s most expensive car

1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa - Tom Hartley dealership

What would you do with £24.1 million? Think about that for a moment or two...

If your answer is "buy a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa 1957, and that's it" then you are on the right page.

This classic Ferrari has become the most expensive car ever sold publicly - topping the £22.5m paid in 2012 for a Ferrari 250 GTO.

But there is a good reason (well, sort of) why this car was so extravagantly priced before being taken off the hands of dealer Tom Hartley Jr. It has a quite sensational racing pedigree, boasting a sporting background of huge prestige.

The car - only the second prototype built - has a stellar racing history having competed twice at Le Mans, been driven by 1961 F1 champion Phil Hill, and winning a number of high profile races, among them the prestigious 12 hours of Sebring sports car race.

Derbyshire dealer Tom Hartley Jr was the man who benefited from the sale, and he has spoken of how he believed it to really be the best car in the world.

"This Ferrari is without question one of the most important cars on the planet, if not the most important, because of its originality," he said.

"While I won't go into the terms of the sale, I am sure it will prove to be a great investment for the new owner.

"Now it is done, my only disappointment is the fact I don't think it can ever be bettered as I truly think it is the greatest car in the world."

Tom Hartley dealership (www.tomhartley.com)

Marcel Massini, a Ferrari historian with an encyclopedic knowledge of the famous marque, described this exact model as "one of the top five Ferraris on the planet".

He said: "It is so valuable because it is totally unmolested and not restored, genuine and very original. It also comes with a fantastic history which is most important.

"I believe the Ferrari market will continue to go up as more and more wealthy people need to reinvest their cash but there are not many more top quality cars available."

Founded in 1929 by Enzo Ferrari, throughout its history the company has been noted for its continued participation in racing, especially in Formula One, where it has had great success.

That history has made it one of the world's great sporting brands, and it continues to be the best-supported F1 team in the world.

Ferrari has participated in several classes of motorsport, though it is currently only officially involved in Formula One. It is the only team to have competed in the Formula One World Championship continuously since its inception in 1950.

José Froilán González gave the team its first F1 victory at the 1951 British Grand Prix.

Ferrari is the oldest team in the championship, and the most successful: the team holds nearly every Formula One record. The team's records include 15 World Drivers Championship titles and 16 World Constructors Championship titles.