$4.29 Million Ferrari 550 GT1 Prodrive
Becomes Most Valuable Car
Ever Sold in an Online Only Collector Car Auction
In a pandemic mandated shift from the usual late summer pow-wow of classic car enthusiasts for the celebrated series of week long auctions and Concours d’Elegance events in Monterey and Pebble Beach California, RM Sotheby’s staged an online only auction that fetched $30.4 million.
Though impressive in terms of a one-off online event, the tally paled compared to RM Sotheby’s’ 2019, three-day live event in Monterey that pulled in $107.4 million & topped by a 1994 McClaren F1 ‘LM Specification’ sports car that fetched a record $19.8 million.
The star lot was a race-proven and frequently campaigned 2001 Ferrari 550 GT 1 Prodrive that sold for $4.29 million (est. $3.85-4.85 million), and according to RM, the highest price ever achieved in an online only collector car auction.
The car, a sports racing version of the Ferrari 550 Maranello, was one of ten examples built by Prodrive and competed in 49 races, winning 14, including the 24 Hours of Spa in 2004.
Race-pedigreed cars, especially those bearing the prancing horse marque of Ferrari, are especially prized by collectors.
Seven cars made over a million dollars, four of them Ferrari’s, including a sleek, Scaglietti bodied, V-12 powered and meticulously restored 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB that made $1.98 million (est. $1.8-2 million) and a 1991 Ferrari F40, the fastest production “super car” of its time, capable of reaching 200 miles per hour, that realized $1.38 million (est. $1.25-1.5 million).
Other entries included a 2014, hand-built, 730 horse-power, twin-turbocharged Pagani Huayra that sold for $1.84 million (est. $1.8-2 million) and a brutishly handsome 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster that made $1.04 million (est. $1-1.25 million).
The only pre-War entry that made the top ten was a stunning 1932 Packard Deluxe Eight Individual Convertible Victoria that brought $1.056 million (est. $1-1.25 million).
All prices reported include the 10 percent buyer’s premium tacked onto the hammer price.
Ferrari models also dominated rival Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach auctions that tallied $14.4 million and led by a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB “long nose” that fetched $3.08 million, a 2003 Ferrari “Enzo” that brought $2.35 million and a 1992 Ferrari F40 that brought $1.62 million. As a counter-point to the Ferrari parade, a rare, 1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder, one of 34 built, sold at Bonhams Quail Lodge live and online sale in Los Angeles on August 14 for the top lot price of $2,232,500. As a counter-point to the Ferrari parade, a rare 1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder, one of 34 built, sold at Bonhams Quail Lodge live and online sale in Los Angeles on August 14 for the top lot price of $2,232,500.
One may ask ‘why Ferrari’ and that question is easily decanted by the past news of the 2018 private sale of a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO, one of 39 examples built between 1962-64, that sold to Weather Tech founder and ceo David MacNeil for a reported $70 million.
That same year in Monterey, RM Sotheby’s sold a 1962 GTO for $48.6 million, still the highest auction price for a motor car and dipping further back into the record books, a 1962 Ferrari GTO sold to Carlos Monteverde, the son of billionaire philanthropist Lily Safra, at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge auction in August 2014 for a whopping $38.1 million.
Ironically, in that 2018 record sale at RM Sotheby’s, Internet bidding wasn’t allowed and prospective bidders had to go through a strict, pre-sale vetting process.
My, how times have changed, thanks largely, if that’s possible to say, to the Covid-19 pandemic and with it, out of survival necessity, the mercurial rise of online bidding at auction.
Looking back to the iconic Ferrari 250 GTO (standing for Gran Turismo Omologato, a racing classification for limited production, street legal cars), it debuted in 1962 with a sticker price of $18,000 (around $153,000 in today’s dollars) and only went to buyers approved by Enzo Ferrari, the Italian automotive genius known as the “magician of Maranello.”
Designed by Giotto Bizzarrini and Sergio Scaglietti, the aluminum bodied sports car, with Gioachino Columbo’s designed V-12engine, aspirated with its six Weber carburetors, was initially nicknamed “Il Mostro (the monster), for its fearsome speed and instant, race proven agility.
Given current market conditions, it seems unlikely another of the fabled 250 GTO’ s will come to the auction block anytime soon.