Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) — A rare 1960s Ferrari convertible sold for a record $27.5 million in a weekend car auction.
The 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder’s price was the most paid at auction for the Italian carmaker anywhere in the world and the most for any car bought at a U.S. public sale.
“The NART Spyder is a very special car,” the U.K.-based dealer John Collins, one of the underbidders at the RM Auctions event, said in a telephone interview. “They’re so rare. They’re among the most beautiful of all Ferraris. Some of the biggest collectors in the world own one, and Steve McQueen tried to buy this one after he crashed his,” said Collins, of the Talacrest dealership.
Classic Ferrari racers from the 1950s and 1960s are the
world’s most consistently valuable motor cars, dominating both the auction and private market. Prices for the marque’s
investment-grade road cars have surged in 2013. The HAGI F index of collectible Ferraris has climbed 34.3 percent this year
through July, according to the London-based analyst company, the Historic Automobile Group International.
The RM event forms part of a bellwether series of classic
car sales on the West Coast that also includes high-value
selections from Gooding & Co. and Bonhams.
Estimated by RM at $14 million to $17 million, the Ferrari
had been entered by family of the late North Carolina
businessman Eddie Smith Sr., the car’s one and only owner.
The NART Spyder — named after the North American Racing
Team — was the brainchild of Luigi Chinetti, Ferrari’s North American importer. Only 10 were built.
Canadian fashion entrepreneur Lawrence Stroll, a motor
racing enthusiast, was bidding in the room via an intermediary on Aug. 17, dealers said, who also identified Stroll as the
An after-hours call to Stroll’s New York office to confirm
the purchase was not immediately returned. Stroll built Tommy Hilfiger into a global brand in the 1990s.
Proceeds of the sale of the Ferrari will be donated to
charity, RM said.
The price, which included fees, was the second-highest for
any car at a public sale after the 19.6 million pounds ($29.7 million) given for a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 that Juan Manuel Fangio drove to two Grand Prix victories, sold by Bonhams in Goodwood, U.K., on July 12.
Another example of the NART Spyder was described by McQueen
as “one of those red Italian things” when it appeared in the 1968 movie “The Thomas Crown Affair,” co-starring Faye Dunaway. McQueen was so impressed by the convertible that he became one of the initial 10 owners. It would have cost about $15,000 at the time, dealers said.
Ferraris from the 1950s and ’60s sold this year include two
250 GT models that raised $8.25 million and $8.1 million at
Gooding and RM respectively at sales in Arizona in January.
The market for classic cars continues to expand. This
latest California series of auctions, with one Gooding sale
remaining, had already raised $244 million, well in excess of the record $220 million achieved by RM, Gooding and Bonhams last year — that a 33 percent increase on 2011.
The previous record for any car sold at auction in the U.S.
was the $16.4 million paid for a 1957 Testa Rossa prototype at Gooding in California in August 2011.
The record price paid for any car remains the $35 million
given in a private transaction in June 2012 for a 1962 Ferrari GTO 250 racer made for the U.K. driver Stirling Moss, traders confirmed to Bloomberg.
“It’s been pretty staggering,” McKeel Hagerty, president and chief executive of the Michigan-based analysts Hagerty, said in an interview. “The supply of millionaires is exceeding the number of available great cars. An awful lot of collectors are now clamoring for event-eligible models, and they’ve become a permissible splurge. The values are climbing.”
Hagerty’s Blue Chip Index of collectible autos has risen 51
percent over the last three years.
Muse highlights include Manuela Hoelterhoff on arts,
Catherine Hickley on German art, James Clash on adventure, James Russell on architecture and John Mariani on wine.
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