Stolen $2.6 Million Ferrari 288 GTO Vanishes During Shady Test Drive

If you have dreams of driving a Ferrari 288 GTO, you’ll have to pay up over $2 million to have one. However, one man in 2019 decided he’d find another way to take this ultra-rare Ferrari for a spin. According to the BBC, this plan included creating a fake identity, showing up in a taxi, and stealing this vintage exotic.

Despite various red flags, the dealership holding this rare machine opted to let the suspicious buyer drive the car. At this point, the salesman committed one fatal mistake, which allowed the car to get stolen. As you might imagine, this thief didn’t get too far.

How do you steal a $2.6 million Ferrari 288 GTO?

An image of a Ferrari 288 GTO parked inside of a studio.
Ferrari 288 GTO | Ferrari

This stolen Ferrari 288 GTO begins as a middle-aged man made an appointment to check out this vintage exotic. At the time, Hagerty reports that the car carried a $2.63 million asking price. This GTO carried a higher-than-average price since it was previously owned by Eddie Irvine, a famous Formula 1 driver. According to Hagerty, the man eventually arrived to look at the car, taking it for a short test drive in a parking lot.

At this point, Hagerty reports that the man requested to take the Ferrari 288 GTO out on the road. Since most classic car buyers don’t go for extensive test drives, this raised all sorts of red flags. Despite their best judgment, the dealerships’ staff opted to allow the test drive. To make matters worse, this wasn’t even the first red flag. In fact, the man arrived at the dealership via a taxi.

Hagerty reports that the test drive went smoothly while the salesman was driving. However, once the man got behind the wheel, things went south quickly.

The man waited for the salesman to get out

An image of a Ferrari 288 GTO parked inside of a studio.
Ferrari 288 GTO | Ferrari

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Once the salesman stepped out of the Ferrari 288 GTO to switch drivers, the man jumped into the driver’s seat and took off. We can only imagine what the stranded salesman felt watching a $2.6 million supercar drive away. If this story sounds familiar, that’s because that’s exactly what happened to a $3 million F50 stolen during a test drive back in the early 2000s.

Once the dealership learned that the Ferrari 288 GTO had been stolen, they immediately contacted the local police. According to Hagerty, the local police department launched a massive search for the missing exotic, even employing helicopters to help track it down. Unfortunately, the man seemingly vanished with the car, avoiding the police. However, as you might expect, this wasn’t the end.

The thief abandoned the stolen Ferrari

An image of a Ferrari 288 GTO parked inside of a studio.
Ferrari 288 GTO | Ferrari

Since you can’t just list a Ferrari 288 GTO up for sale, there are few things you can actually do with such a flashy stolen car. According to Hagerty, the police department estimated that the car would pop up abandoned in a few days. However, police located the car the very next day hidden in a garage. As you might expect, the car thief was nowhere near the car.

Since this $2.6 million Ferrari eventually made it back to the dealership, chances are it eventually sold off to a wealthy owner. Regardless, this 288 GTO now has a wild twist to an otherwise tame past.