Classic Ferrari 288 GTO worth over $2 million stolen on test drive

Police in Germany are hunting for a man who stole a rare Ferrari worth more than €2 million ($2.2 million) during a test drive.

The suspect, who contacted a vintage car dealer claiming to be a prospective customer, had expressed interest in buying the 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO and negotiated a test drive with the seller, Düsseldorf police said in a statement.

When the seller got out of the vehicle on Monday to swap drivers, the prospective buyer accelerated and drove off.

Police say the “historic vehicle,” first registered in 1985, is valued at more than €2 million.

The Ferrari 288 GTO is a limited edition, exotic variant of a production Ferrari car, the 308 GTB. Just 272 were produced between 1984 and 1987 to obtain homologation to compete in the nascent Group B Circuit Race, a road racing version of the popular Group B Rally circuit. The series was canceled before it even started, but the 288 GTO is now one of the most sought after Ferraris from the 1980s.

Peter Haynes, a spokesman for specialist auctioneer RM Sotheby’s, said the cars are currently valued between $2.5 million and $3.5 million. The auctioneer sold a 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO for $3.3 million in January.

The Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported that the stolen car once belonged to former Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine.

It was eventually found hidden in a garage in the town of Grevenbroich, about 18 miles southwest of Düsseldorf, on Tuesday evening, but police are still hunting for the suspect.

Haynes said: ‘It is not a very sensible car to steal because it is a very difficult car to sell. It is like a famous painting — most people would find it quite easy to identify, and it would be very difficult to sell.”