What did you do at the weekend? Guzzle Bucks Fizz at the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna? Or sip champagne alongside some of the world’s wealthiest car collectors at the RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba sale in Italy? Forget Europop, it was all about Euromillions at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, as bidders from 26 countries spent a total of €26,714,530 on 34 of the world’s rarest and most exotic vehicles. Ferrari dominated proceedings, with seven cars realising a final price in excess of €1 million.
Ferrari 212 Export Barchetta: €6,720,000
The 1952 Ferrari 212 Export Barchetta opened at €3 million before climbing to an incredible €6,720,000 (£4,750,000), believed to be an auction record for the model. This – the last Touring-bodied 212 Export – campaigned at Targa Florio in 1952 and 1953 and was also an entrant at the 1956 Mille Miglia. It was registered in Switzerland in the mid 1950s but would go on to lead a nomadic life, spending time in California, Florida, Madrid and London. It is believed to be the best of its kind, hence the remarkable price.
This was in stark contrast to the Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider – which despite attracting a pre-auction estimate of between €11,000,000 and €13,000,000 – failed to sell at €10.25 million. A sign that the Ferrari bubble might be about to burst? Maybe not, but there could be a changing of the guard in terms of which Ferraris attract the highest bids.
Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso: €2,016,000
This is arguably one of the most beautiful cars ever to wear a Ferrari badge. The 250 GT/L is a grand tourer in the purist sense and featured a body designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti. Little wonder it sold for just over € 2million (£1.425 million).
Records suggest that this particular car was displayed at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show before being sold to a gentleman in Switzerland. The engine – a 240hp 3.0-litre V12 – has been rebuilt, but the interior is believed to be original.
Ferrari 288 GTO: €1,904,000
A final fee just shy of €1.9 million (£1.35 million) for this 288 GTO may seem like a lot of cash, but let’s not forget a similar car sold in Arizona earlier this year for $2.75 million (£1.78 million). A mere 272 examples were built and it remains one of the most sought-after Ferraris ever built. Its 400hp V8 engine helped to propel the 288 GTO to a top speed of 189mph. The 0-62mph sprint time of 4.9 seconds may seem relatively modest by today’s standards, but this was a thoroughbred of a Ferrari.
Despite being delivered new in Italy, this 288 GTO spent over a decade of its life in the US. During this time, the owner – a collector who also happened to own a Porsche 959, an F50 and two F40s – travelled a mere 300 miles in the car. That’s willpower. We would find it hard to resist.
Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II: €1,568,000
The hammer fell on this Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II at €1,568,000 (£1.1 million). It’s number 89 of just 201 Series II Cabriolets ever made and was built in October 1960. The original owner was French billionaire, Pierre Schlumberger of Schlumberger Limited – one of the world’s largest oil-field service companies. He and his wife enjoyed fine living, fine art and fine cars. In fact, his wife, Sao, even commissioned Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol to paint portraits of her.
If we’re honest, we’d prefer to commission Ferrari to build a car for us. Amazingly, Mr Schlumberger still owned the 250 GT at his death in 1985 and it wasn’t sold until the 21st century. It’s refreshing to find such a timeless vehicle used in the manner in which it was intended. The husband and wife enjoyed driving this car in North America and Europe and had the funds to keep it looking in fine condition.
Ferrari Enzo: €1,260,000
You know it’s been a successful auction when a €1.26 million (£890,000) Enzo is the fifth most expensive Ferrari to go under the hammer. Launched at the 2002 Paris Motor Show as a tribute to the company’s founder, the Enzo felt every inch the Formula One car for the road. Take the nose, which looked just like that of the Ferrari F1 cars. The 660hp delivered by its 6.0-litre V12 engine was also reminiscent of an F1 car.
This was Pininfarina’s actual Paris Motor Show car. Almost everything that wasn’t required was stripped out to save weight, with only the leather seats and climate control providing the slightest of nods towards luxury. All 349 cars were sold via invitation only and the Enzo was sold out before Luca di Montezemolo unveiled it in Paris. You won’t find many finished in Giallo Modena yellow paint. Original price? Around €700,000.
Ferrari F50: €1,232,000
The Enzo was essentially the spiritual successor to this – the Ferrari F50 of 1995. A total of 349 cars were built between 1995 and 1997 and the car sold at Villa Erba is number 215. Built to celebrate Ferrari’s 50th anniversary, it was unveiled at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show. Power was sourced from a 4.7-litre V12 engine producing 520hp at 8,500rpm. It would sprint to 62mph in just 3.87 seconds, giving it F1-style acceleration.
Make no mistake, this was another F1-style car for the road. The monocoque was made of composite materials, the fuel tank was made from a rubberised material derived from the aircraft industry and the hubs were forged from titanium. This particular car has covered 36,000km and retains its original books, tools and luggage.
Ferrari F40: €1,008,000
And before the F50 came this, the F40 – surely one of the most famous Ferraris of all-time. If nothing else, it must win an award for most bedroom wall posters ever produced. Built to commemorate another anniversary – this time the company’s 40th – the F40 was powered by a 3.0-litre V8 with two turbochargers. Output was rated at 478hp, with a 0-62mph time of 4.1 seconds.
This particular car was sold new in Milan before making its way to Germany. The massive rear engine cover is one of its standout features, complete with vented Plexiglass window. This served two purposes. Firstly – to allow the engine to cool, but secondly – and most importantly for us mere mortals – it gave us the chance to gawp at the engine beneath the cover. A proper legend of a car.