RM Sotheby’s Ferrari sale: Happy Birthday Happening in Maranello

RM Sotheby’s will shortly be making its long awaited return to Maranello with the “Leggenda e Passione” sale. Indeed, after many years without holding a sale entirely devoted to Ferrari, the Anglo-Canadian auction house has now organized a special sale in honor of the prancing horse, to coincide with the celebrations planned for Ferrari’s 70th anniversary weekend.

RM Sotheby’s Ferrari sale: At least one model of the company’s most iconic models

Looking at the selection of cars offered, which are interesting but not extraordinary, it would seem that the company’s specialists had their work cut out in order to find, in time, suitable cars to offer in the sale. However, despite being short of time, they did a great job with the RM Sotheby’s Ferrari sale, and even though few “very special” cars will be crossing the block, the catalog nevertheless includes at least one example of each of the firm’s most iconic models. The sale will include 41 cars, including 11 built after the year 2000, and 13 pieces of Ferrari-related automobilia. The location, as for the previous Leggenda e Passione sales, is a dedicated tent at the Fiorano race track (Ferrari’s private race track located just a few hundred meters from the legendary factory).

Participants must register in advance, even to be admitted to the preview. The preview will begin on Friday 8th September, and the sale itself on Saturday 9th September. The buyer’s commission will be quite high: 15% + IVA (Italian VAT) will be charged on amounts of up to EUR 500,000 and 12% + IVA on anything over this threshold. Purchases of automobilia lots will be subject to a buyer’s commission of 20% + IVA. The catalog includes seven cars offered without reserve. The three cars expected to fetch the day’s top prices have been assigned estimates of EUR 8, 7 and 4 million respectively, a further three have been assigned lower estimates of EUR 3 million, while four are expected to fetch at least EUR 2 million, and eight to break the EUR 1 million barrier.

Ferrari Classiche only

All the cars offered are either already Ferrari Classiche certified or (at the time of writing) still waiting for their certificate to be issued. In any case, all will be certified before the start of the auction. The oldest car in the auction is a 1950 195 Inter Coupé by Touring (chassis #0081 S), the very car shown at the 1951 Turin Motor Show. It is the first 195 manufactured, and also one of the only three bodied by Carrozzeria Touring. The most recent car being offered is something really special — a brand new 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta, a new model that will be unveiled in Maranello the day before the auction. This car, the 210th LaFerrari of this new model manufactured, and most likely the only “ready to collect” LaFerrari Aperta available, is being offered without a disclosed chassis number and with a dedicated color scheme. It has been assigned a pre-sale estimate of EUR 3-4 million, and the IVA will be payable on the full value of the offer rather than on the commission only, but the proceeds will go to charity.

The cheapest car in the auction, being offered without reserve and with an estimated value of EUR 125–1505 K, is a 1991 348 TS (chassis #ZFFKA36B000089621) that has done only 337 kilometers from new and is in excellent preserved condition. The car with the highest estimated value, EUR 8.5–10 million, is a 1960 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione (chassis #2163 GT), one of the only 46 alloy-bodied examples completed in 1960, and one of the only 74 Competitions built in total. The car has a well-documented history and its non-numbers matching but period correct engine, freshly rebuilt by DK Engineering, is in excellent shape.

1950 Ferrari 195 Inter Coupé by Touring

This is the oldest lot in the sale, but the age of this 195 Inter (chassis #0081 S) is not the only thing that makes it special. Chassis #0081 S was the first of the 195 chassis manufactured — they numbered 25 in total — and also one of the only three that were dressed by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan. Strangely, the car was originally delivered without the usual “superleggera” script on the hood and without the small Italian lights typically seen on early barchettas. In April 1951, it was exhibited at the Turin motor show, specifically at Franco Cornacchia’s AICAR stand (AICAR being Agenzia Internazionale Auto Ricambi, one of the most highly regarded early Ferrari distributors). Originally painted in Oro Metallizzato (Metallic Gold), it was sold the following month to a certain Giuseppe Fiocchi of Lecco, and registered Co 32210. Three years later, it was sold again and re-registered Ro l7125 (Ro indicating Rovigo). In October 1955, it was purchased by an American serviceman, Donald Maynard, who eventually, in 1959, took the car back to the USA with him. After changing hands a few more times, in 1974 the car was sold to a Mr Richard Little from Massachusetts, who began but never completed a restoration. Over three decades later, in 2005, his family sold it to a Californian collector who had it fully restored professionally and repainted in a period correct color, but not the original gold one. It is being offered with an estimate of EUR 1.1–1.5 million.

1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider

The California Spider is one of the most iconic and important Ferraris ever built. Although the SWB version tends to be worth around twice as much as the LWB, “drivers” are much fonder of latter because it is easier to handle and provides more relaxed road holding. The car being offered in Maranello (chassis #1503 GT, matching numbers engine) is the 35th of the 50 LWB California Spiders built. Its chassis was shipped to Scaglietti on 7th July 1959, and the body assembly was completed in early October the same year. The car was immediately shipped to the Ferrari importer for Venezuela, Carlos Kauffmann, a dealer who was doing well thanks to the, then booming, Venezuelan economy. The car had factory covered headlamps, but no side marker lights, and was painted in Bianco over Nero interior. It was sold to a Dr Otto Vincentini of Caracas.

A few years later, Vincentini died, killed by thieves while at the wheel of his beloved 250, and the car was returned to Kauffman to be reconditioned and put back on the market. Imported into the USA in 1963, with 7500 kilometers on the clock, the car was used by its new owner, from Illinois, for a few years before being stored for two decades in the suburbs of Chicago. The 250 California resurfaced in 1985 and was sold with about 31,000 kilometers on the clock. There then followed three brief ownerships in quick succession before the car was sold, in 1987, to a Mr Ruscilli, who commissioned a full restoration which included a repaint in the current Rosso. It was shown until 1998, when it entered its current ownership. The car’s present owner has barely used it, covering only 700 kilometers in 19 years, and has exhibited it only once, at the Cavallino Classic in 2003. Still sporting its Rosso over tan color scheme, it is expected to fetch in the region of EUR 7.5–9.5 million.

1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” Berlinetta Alloy

This matching numbers “Daytona” (chassis #12653) is, in our view, the most amazing car offered in the auction, and certainly one of the most incredible discoveries of recent times. This car was in fact recently found in a barn in Japan, where it had been kept for 40 years. Quite apart from its history, it is a special piece, being one of the only two Daytona Alloys ever manufactured for road use (five were built to race specification). The other (chassis #12547), used by Luigi Chinetti’s NART to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is now believed lost. Finished in June 1969, the present 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” was equipped with a Plexiglass nose and power windows, and finished in Rosso Chiaro over Nero.

Originally sold, in September 1969, to Luciano Conti, a dear friend of Enzo Ferrari and founder of the weekly racing magazine Autosprint, it changed hands two more times in Italy before being exported in 1971. It was featured in the Japanese magazine Car Graphic in January 1972, and in 1975 was bought by Goro Guwa of Gifu. In 1980, through its next Japanese owner, who had bought it in 1979, it was finally purchased by Makoto Takai, who stored it away for the next 37 years. Offered in complete but “as found” condition, this car will probably be one of the most admired lots of the sale, and is bound to attract some fierce bidding. It is being offered without reserve, with an estimated value of EUR 1.4–1.7 million, but could have some surprises in store.

1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupé by Vignale

In its early years, Ferrari manufactured cars, or more precisely rolling chassis, in limited numbers, and the bodies were manufactured by different coachbuilders, usually by special request of the customer. Accordingly, the Series 250 Europa was built in a limited number, only 22 in all, before being modified to become the 250 Europa GT. The car coming up for sale in a few days’ time (chassis #0313 with matching numbers engine) is one of the most iconic of these 22 Series 250 Europas. It is one of the only four dressed by Carrozzeria Vignale (the other 18 were bodied by Pinin Farina).

Fresh off the production line, the car, painted in Bruno Siena, was shipped to Luigi Chinetti in the USA, reaching its destination in December 1953. A month later, repainted in a more marketable color (red), it was shown at the World Motor Sports Show in New York. It was purchased for USD 17,500 by Mike Garber of Massachusetts and remained with him for the next four years, before entering a period of short term ownerships. At the start of 1959 it was bought by George Parker of Rome (NY), who used it as daily runabout, finding it to be quite reliable (it left him stranded only once). Parker moved to California after getting married and finding a new job, and, accompanied by his wife, he drove the car all the way there. He kept it until 1960.

The 250 Vignale was then sold to a Cadillac dealer, who swapped its engine swapped for a supercharged Chevrolet V8, removed its bumpers and other details, and had its nose rebuilt after a minor accident. Several other owners later, and following a long period off the road, in 2006 the car was sold to Swiss restorer Heinrich Kämpfer, who had 800 hours of work done on it by external specialists, on top of the 3000 hours he had spent working on it himself. The result was a car restored to its former glory, repainted in the original color and with the missing parts remanufactured to the correct specifications. Kämpfer had even had the car re-trimmed by the original supplier of the leather. In the meantime, as luck would have it, he had also managed to track down the original engine. The block was cracked beyond repair, but Ferrari Classiche cast a new one and the car was completed with a gearbox of the correct type.

The car was sold to its current owner in 2015 and is now offered for sale with an estimated value of EUR 2.8–3.4 million.

1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pinin Farina Series II

The 250 GT Cabriolet Pinin Farina is one of the most underestimated open Ferraris — it is overshadowed by the California series —, yet it is a beautiful car to look at and wonderful to drive. The one now coming up for sale (chassis 1779 GT, matching numbers engine) is the thirteenth of the second series built. It was delivered, painted in Bianco on Nero, to its first owner, Umberto Agnelli (younger brother of Gianni, of the FIAT dynasty), in April 1960. It incorporated some special features, requested by Agnelli, such as the 250 GTE style headlamp and a “400 Superamerica style” interior, with bespoke upholstery and a unique dashboard configuration.

A few years later, it was exported from Italy to the USA, and sold in Florida. In 1968 it was purchased by Garrett O’Brien of Candice (NY) and remained in his ownership until 1992, when it was sold by his estate. After passing through the hands of a series of other owners around the world, and undergoing an expert restoration in 1996, it entered its current American ownership in 1998, and has been in storage ever since. It is considered capable of fetching EUR 1.35–1.65 million.

1983 Ferrari 400i

Having seemingly been completely forgotten for many years, the 365-400-412 2+2 series has recently been enjoying something of a revival. Indeed, more and more collectors are coming to appreciate the virtues of this beautiful coupé (a real grand tourer paired with a wonderful design by Pininfarina) that was, for many years, the last Ferrari to feature a front-positioned V12 engine. The 400i offered here (chassis #ZFFEB07B000045181) is a perfectly preserved example, having covered only 3267 kilometers from new. Another plus is the fact that it has had only one owner, and a celebrity one at that. The 400i was indeed collected directly at the Maranello plant on behalf of guitarist, singer, songwriter and founding member of the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards, who is still its owner today.

Finished in black with blue interior, and equipped with the highly desirable five-speed manual gearbox, the car was driven by the band manager directly to Paris, where Richards used it to commute while recording the album Dirty Work. It has always been serviced by authorized dealers and properly stored. It has undergone only one modification: repositioning of the trunk opening switch. It is offered, without reserve, with an estimate of EUR 125–175 K, a potential world record for the model.

All photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s; Ferrari 195, 250 Cabriolet, 250 California Spyder © Darin Schnabel; Ferrari 400i © Scott Pattenden; Ferrari 250 Europa © Jeff Creech.

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