Do you know the most expensive car ever sold at an auction? Yes, a Ferrari 250 GTO. The second one? A Ferrari. And guess the third one? You’re right. Of the 20 most expensive cars ever awarded at auction, 12 are Ferraris.
But many auction houses have tried to organize events dedicated exclusively to the Cavallino, and things have not always worked out for the best. The last one to be held was at Silverstone in the UK in Association with Ferrari Owners’ Club of Great Britain, who played on its home turf in Sywell Park, a village in the middle of England during the National Ferrari Owners’ Day.
The result was not what they had hoped for: 56.00% of the 25 cars on offer were sold at 63.40% of their estimated total value. How come? Looking at the catalogue, the most likely cause was the cars on offer, all relatively common and with very normal stories, cars that can be comfortably found on the internet or at any Ferrari dealer: as many as 11 out of 25 on offer were built after 2000. Another possible cause was the total absence of unreserved lots: those who gave up for this reason, however, made a mistake. There were several opportunities to be had.
However, not everything went wrong because the average price of £162,687 (€189,612) is a testament to the quality of the lots on offer. And had the Top Lot sold, things would have been very good indeed. It was a 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, red with black interior, one of 158 right-hand drive models and it was purchased in 1973 by the rising music star, Elton John. Usually such prestigious ownership helps, but the car has been on the market for some time now: in 2019 it was estimated at £425,000-475,000 (€500,000-550,000) but offers stopped at £370,000 (€430,605). This year they brought her into the room at £440,000-500,000 (€510,000-580,000) and offers topped out at £385,000 (€448,062), and she remained in the room once again.
So the most expensive car sold was a 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO. When I think of the 599 GTO, I immediately think of market trends and, in particular, of just how much prices have decreased for this model in recent years. It seems like an eternity has passed since one with just 180 km on the clock was offered by RM in Monaco at €700,000-€1,000,000 (£600,000-850,000) but that was five years ago. This example had 2,500 km on the clock and that was the only difference (identical exterior and interior colours) but the estimate was almost half £380,000-€480,000 (€450,000-560,000) and the final sale price was just slightly above the lower threshold at £399,375 (€464,791).
Beneath the GTO, in second position, we find a Dino 246 GTS from 1974. Since practically everything is known about this model, I will focus on the details that differ from the other models: the very rare right-hand drive, the enlarged fenders to contain the Cromodora rims (a feature known in the world of collectors as “flares”), Ferrari Classiche certification and the original shade of Nocciola Metallizzato, one of just 72 to leave Maranello in this colour and very “70s”. Although it came with an estimate of £375,000-£425,000 (€430,000-€500,000) it did not struggle to find a buyer at £388,125 (€451,698), a sign that the best examples always sell easily.
But the real news here is that all four Dino 246s (GT and GTS) were sold and this may mean one thing: rising prices for this model. Worth keeping an eye on.
The car I would have taken home? Even though we were at a Ferrari auction, I wouldn’t have needed a pharaonic budget to take away my desire for a 1978 308 GTB. As is often the case, compared to the following 208 and 328, the purity of the line of the first models enchants me. In addition, this one had the livelier carburettor engine with dry sump lubrication while a quick glimpse of the pictures is all you need to know that the car had been very well looked after. Sure, it wasn’t a Fiberglass model though with an estimate of £45,000-£55,000 (€50,000-€65,000) it was very tempting. No wonder she was sold above the estimate at £65,800 (€76,577).
My conclusion? This is not this event that shows which winds are blowing for Ferraris. It will be interesting to follow it during the next events. We most certainly will.