Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must be aware that the Ferrari 250 GTO is the most desirable and valuable motorcar ever built. The current record for the world’s most expensive car is held by a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO which was sold in a private sale in 2018 for a mind-numbing $70 million. Whenever one of 36 examples of the 250 GTO crosses the auction block, we know that a new sale record is bound to be created. However, it’s not just the ultra-rare GT car that’s highly desirable amongst collectors; it turns out anything related to the 250 GTO is equally valuable. A few days back, a Ferrari 250 GTO steering wheel manufactured by Nardi was auctioned by RM Sotheby’s and it managed to fetch a whopping £24,000 GBP (about $32,500).
Before we discuss the steering wheel, it’s important to talk a little about the Italian manufacturer Nardi. The company was founded by the name of Officine Nardi by Enrico Nardi in 1951. The Italian brand started with building racing prototypes and bespoke road cars but later moved to aftermarket performance parts like manifolds, crankshafts, camshafts, and steering wheels. Before starting the company, Nardi was a successful racing driver at Lancia and later joined Scuderia Ferrari as a test driver, development engineer, and racing driver. This brought him close to Enzo Ferrari.
In the 1950s, the Nardi steering wheel started becoming very popular, and just about all popular European car manufacturers began to equip their high-end cars with it. Almost all Ferraris from that era came with Nardi wooden steering wheels, including the 250 GTO. The example auctioned by RM Sotheby’s features the signature brand black line on the wood rim and a cross-hatch pattern on the three spokes. The Nardi steering wheel is the correct fitment for both Ferrari 250 SWB and 250 GTO. It had a pre-sale estimate of $4,100 – $7,000 but ended up selling for almost five times the upper limit, which goes on to show the hysteria around the Ferrari 250 GTO.