A selection of classic Ferraris have caught the media’s attention in the last couple of years. The cars, changing hands either by private deal or at a very public auction, have something unique about them, apart from the Cavallino badge: they are either rare, have a racing pedigree, original body panels/engine/parts, or are unrestored. They may offer a combination of all those factors.
Back in 2012 a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO built for Stirling Moss, in one-off lime-green, was reported to have sold for $35m – the most expensive car ever sold (until then). It competed at Le Mans and had several wins to its credit. Its price back in 1996? Just $3.5m.
Then, in October 2013, American collector Paul Pappalardo was, according to Italian sources, some $52m better off by selling another 250 GTO with a serious racing pedigree. This had won the 1964 Le Mans and the Tour de France Automobile (GT category). The story was never corroborated, but the car, if the sale is true, would be the most expensive car ever sold. There were only 39 250 GTOs ever built, and celebrities such as Nick Mason, Chris Evans and Ralph Lauren own one.
However, an unrestored 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa seems to have been sold recently for more than £24m – the most expensive car ever sold in the UK. It probably looks similar to the one above (which is in perfectly restored condition). Again, race pedigree is all-important: at Le Mans it failed to finish, but with Hill and Collins, it won at Sebring and Buenos Aires. Helped by the fact that it was stored at the Henry Ford Museum for 30 years, the car may be unrestored but it is in very good condition.
Coming up for sale, though, is a car which has had two families argue over its ownership (Swaters and Kleve), and settled with the help of Bonhams: the Ferrari 375-Plus (one of only five ever built, and the first of the lot) offered for sale by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed auction this summer comes with its original body (separately) and spare engine, as well as other parts painstakingly found and brought back from other continents by forensic engineering expert Christopher Gardner. The original shell still shows fragments of the livery worn by the car for its Cuban GP.
The International Guild of Specialist Engineers dedicate their working life to the restoration and care of precious, irreplaceable cars; it makes sense to keep track of what the market is dictating, and where prices are going, if only because specialist restorers play such a big part in the process.