Market and auctions

Ferrari is the needle of the compass of great collecting: the success at Pebble Beach confirms it

Cliff Goodall’s view

Photo credit: Bonhams, Gooding, Mecum, RM Sotheby’s

Everyone knows that Ferrari is the backbone of the world car collecting, especially when budgets start to become truly substantial. For this reason, the cars with the Prancing Horse sold during the Monterey Car Week deserve their own, dedicated analysis.

Over the three day of events, 94 Ferraris were offered with an exceptional 90.45% of them changing hands for a total of $109,355,460. If we consider that combined, the four auctions took in $339,545,550 in sales, the Italian brand alone represented 32.2% of the market.

Which models won and which didn’t do so well at Pebble Beach 2021, in this special category?

Among the losers are the “giants” from the 50s-60s, some left unsold while others went for below their estimates.

Let’s look at an example: the 250 LWB California Spider Competizione from 1959, sold by Gooding. Unquestionably, as many have pointed out, the term “Competizione” (competition) was a bit exaggerated here. The engine was built for competitions (and therefore no fakes or scams here) but precisely because it was intended for racing, the steel bodywork – instead of the very light aluminium – and a second-tier competitive past did not put it on the pedestal of the favourites. The estimate of $10,000,000-$12,000,000 was quite “light”, and the final selling price was bang in the middle of those estimates: $10,840,000 (€9,208,500). With Bearing the above limits in mind, five years ago another Competizione – this time with aluminium bodywork and a competitive provenance worthy of the name – was sold by Gooding for $18,150,000 while the following year, RM sold one (with open headlights) for $17,990,000. The price of $10,840,000 (€9,208,500) paid today places it in the price range of a “standard” California LWB. 

1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione
1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione sold for $10,840,000 (€9,208,500)

A single case does not write the law, but a similar fate befell the Ferrari 275 GTB/C from 1966 offered by RM. Bought by the current consignor in January 2015 for $9,405,000 and subsequently restored and prepared for competitions, replacing the original engine with a more powerful one (but the original was also included in the lot), it was presented as one of the top lots with an estimate of $8,000,000-$10,000,000 but offers stopped at seven million which, with commissions make $ 7,705,000. If we consider that the restoration alone cost $750,000, the consignor certainly did not do all that well out of the sale.

1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione by Scaglietti
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione by Scaglietti $7,705,000 (€6,545,500)

Let’s look at some others: the 1952 Ferrari 340 America instead went unsold (receiving a maximum offer of $3,100,000), as did the 1959 Ferrari 410 SuperAmerica S3 Pininfarina. The 1962 Ferrari 268 SP was sold beneath its estimate ($7,705,000 vs. $8,000,000-10,000,000), as was the 1953 Ferrari 166MM S2 Spider Vignale “ex-1954 Mille Miglia” at $3,855,000 (estimate $4,000,000-$5,000,000) and the 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet S1 at $4,405,000 (estimate $4,500,000-$5,500,000).

1962 Ferrari 268 SP by Fantuzzi
1962 Ferrari 268 SP by Fantuzzi sold for $7,705,000 (€6,545,500)

But if you move forward 10-15 years, the sun started shining once again.

The Ferraris produced between the second half of the 60s and the end of the 70s, albeit with a few exceptions (a Daytona Spider estimated at $2.3 million went unsold, as did a 512 BBLM from 1980 estimated at $3-$3.5 million), held their ground and, indeed, made some progress.

For example, the two Daytonas – one from 1969 and the other from 1973 – were sold above their estimates and then some. The oldest, a plexiglass model that needed quite a bit of work, easily went for $516,500 against an estimate of $350,000-$450,000 while the other, with 19,000 miles on the clock and Ferrari Classiche certification, exceeded its estimate of $550,000-$650,000 and changed hands for a very healthy $797,000 (certification docet).

1973 Ferrari 365 GTB:4 Daytona
1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona sold for $797,000 (€677,000)

The four Ferrari 250 Lussos also found new owners and both of them were sold above their estimates. All four were Ferrari Classiche certified and, finally, none were Rosso Corsa. The cheapest one was sold by Gooding for $1,490,000 (estimate $1.2-$1.5 million), while the most expensive one from RM once belonged to Paul Andrews. With an estimate of $1.5-$1.75 million, it went to a new home for $1,875,000.

1963 Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso
1963 Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso sold for $1,875,000 (€1,594,250)

Even a 1957 250GT Boano (OK it’s not from the 60s but the target is the same), a Ferrari model that very few people wanted in the past, was sold for $995,000, well above its estimate of $775,000-$900,000.

Going even further forwards in time, Ferraris from the 80s onwards had a real success, the most expensive ones in particular.

The exaltation came with the F40. It’s never really been an “easy” car to purchase, but by all accounts, the twin turbos have started to spool on its current listing. Just a few months ago you could take one home for slightly above the million-dollar mark. So the $1,600,000 paid for the example sold by Bonhams, with 16,000 miles on the clock left me shell shocked. But when, at Gooding, a 2,500-mile model was sold for $2,892,500 (and soon after, another at RM with 2,892 miles on the clock changed hands for $2,425,000), I knew it was “red hot.” The previous record was $2,040,000 (set in May 2021) so the train appears to have left the station.

1991 Ferrari F40
1991 Ferrari F40 sold for $2,425,000 (€2,060,000)

The F50 also made a great impression. In the collective imagination “it is not like the F40” (this dominates) but it is much rarer – just 349 examples against more than 1,200 for the F40 – and it has long surpassed its more famous sister: at RM, the only F50 of the weekend was estimated at $3.6-$4 million. A decidedly ambitious figure, although it was equipped with Ferrari Classiche certification and just 8,500 miles on the clock, all of which made it easy for the car to reach its estimate and in the end, the car changed hands for $3,965,000. Once again, this set a new world record (beating one set just 3 months ago) and signalled a rise of 23% compared to pre-covid levels.

1995 Ferrari F50
1995 Ferrari F50 sold for $3,965,000 (€3,371,500)

A new world record was also set for a Ferrari Enzo with 17,500 miles on the clock ($3,360,000 against an estimate of $2.2-2.45 million), and the first time 1 of the 10 Ferrari F60 Americas went for $3,635,000 – in line with its estimate of $3.5-$4.5 million. Two LaFerraris were sold: one for $3,250,000 and the other for $3,410,000. These are not new world records but in 2019 they had fallen below the three-million-dollar threshold so this is also good news.

2003 Ferrari Enzo
2003 Ferrari Enzo sold for $3,360,000 (€2,856,925)

Coming down in budget size slightly, the more recent Ferraris with six-speed gearboxes continue to fill the hearts (and wallets) of collectors: a 599 GTB Fiorano with 4,730 miles on the clock set a new record at $709,000 (the previous record of $692,500 was set just three months ago by an example that had covered just 3,200 miles), a 575 SuperAmerica from 2005 beat its estimate of $625,000-$700,000 when the hammer fell at $786,000 (while one with the paddle shift gearbox went for $291,000, again above the estimate of $225,000-$275,000), and the new entry here is the 430 Spider. Of the 50 examples produced with the six-speed gearbox, RM offered one (470 miles, $275,000-$325,000 estimate) while Gooding offered another (8,200 miles, $200,000-$250,000). Both exceeded them: $368,000 at RM, $307,500 at Gooding.

2008 Ferrari F430 Spider
2008 Ferrari F430 Spider sold for $307,500 (€261,450)

Among the curiosities, the 1984 Ferrari 400i from the collection of Ron Tonkin (legendary Ferrari dealer from the north-western United States). 16,000 miles from new and single ownership, it was estimated at $75,000-$125,000 but RM did its magic and managed to unleash a flurry of bids and counter offers, closing the sale at $170,500. By way of comparison, Bonhams offered the “one-off” bespoke example originally owned by Greg Garrison (another famous American Ferrari collector) which failed to reach its minimum estimate of $80,000-$100,000 and was sold for $53,760. Fun fact: in 2007 Gooding broke up Greg Garrison’s collection at Pebble Beach, and there his 1984 400i was sold for $46.200.

1984 Ferrari 400i
1984 Ferrari 400i sold for $170,800 (€145,226)