Ferrari feeding frenzy
figures to continue
By Larry Edsall
And they say the third time's the charm...
In 2007, and in conjunction with Sotheby's, RM Auctions staged its inaugural Ferrari Leggenda e Passione
event on the hallowed grounds of Maranello, Italy.
There, the last four-liter Testa Rossa, the 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM that had been driven to victory at Le Mans by Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien, sold for $9,265,438. The 1953 340/375 Mille Miglia Berlinetta that had been fifth at Le Mans and won the round-the-clock race at Spa, sold for $5,707,510.
Those two sales represented the two highest prices paid for a collector car at any auction on the planet during the 2006-07 season. (By the way, other vehicles sold at that sale represented the Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 9 most expensive transactions that season).
In the second year of Legend and Passion, the 1961 250 GT Spyder California that had been owned by actor James Coburn sold for $10,910,592. Once again, the Maranello sale accounted for the highest-priced transaction not just of an auction season (2007-08) but in classic car auction history -- and, for good measure, the sale also produced the No. 4 sale of that season.
In two years, RM's Ferrari Leggenda e Passione has established itself among the world's most elite classic car sales events – and, as they say, the third time is the charm.
So what's available for the third sale, scheduled May 17?
- One of only three 330 P4s ever built, this one – chassis 0858 – won the 1000-kilometer race at Monza, was third at Le Mans, and then clinched Ferrari's 1967 world championship by finishing second at Brands Hatch. The car is being offered for sale for the first time in nearly 40 years.
- One of only 22 Scaglietti-designed and pontoon-fendered Ferrari 250 TRs, chassis 0714TR was built late in 1957 and was delivered to Piero Drogo, a privateer racer and future coachbuilder, who co-drove the car to a fourth-place finish in the 1000-kilometer race at Buenos Aires, where Ferrari factory TRs finished 1-2. Drogo also entered the car in the Grands Prix of Cuba and Portugal, then sold it Luigi Chinetti, Ferrari's American agent, who later sold it to Texas rancher and entrepreneur Alan Connell, who raced the car into the 1963 season.
- The 1990 641/2 Formula One car that Alain Prost drove to victory in the Spanish Grand Prix and was driving when he was punted out of a possible championship Ayrton Senna at the start of the Japanese GP.
- Edgar Schermerhorn's collection of coachbuilt Ferraris including a 1949 166 Inter Coupe by Touring, a 1949 166 Inter Coupe by Carrozzeria Stabilimenti Farina, a 1950 195 Inter Coupe by Ghia, and a 1953 212 Europa Coupe by Vignale.
- In addition to the Ferraris, the sale includes two Maseratis. One is the 1957 250S originally sold to Carroll Shelby and Dick Hall and raced by Shelby and Hall's brother Jim (yes, Jim Hall, as in Chaparral). The other Maserati is the 1956 250F Grand Prix racer that Stirling Moss drove to victory at Monaco.
As if all of that isn't enough, the auction is staged to coincide with the final stretch of the Mille Miglia revival rally.
Also on the block
While the Shelby Daytona Coupe we wrote about a few weeks ago is the headliner, it isn't the only featured lot at the 22nd Mecum Original Spring Classis, May 13-17 at Indianapolis. Also being offered are:
Flxble coach goes for $92,400
- The 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Cherokee RS/SS convertible, a one-off factory-customized and modified vehicle with a pre-production L78 big-block V8 topped by a quad-carb setup under a unique fiberglass hood.
- The 1952 Cadillac-powered Allard J2 roadster owned by Louisiana businessman and raced by Carroll Shelby; bearing serial number 179, this was the last 0f the 90 roadster-bodied J2.
- A group of cars from the Ellis Collection, including a 1962 Ford Galaxie Lightweight racer, the “Jolly Green Giant” 1965 Pontiac GTO drag racer, and a Holman Moody 1966 Ford Mustang funny car.
- Dan Mecum's Chevelle Collection, including a 1965 SS hardtop, 1965 SS Z16 prototype hardtop, 1967 SS convertible, the only black, 1969 COPO hardtop built with a four-speed manual, 1970 SS396 L78 convertible, 1970 LS6 convertible and 1970 LS6 hardtop with 32.9 miles on its odometer.
Remember that custom Flxble motor coach we wrote about a few weeks ago that was being offered at RM's classic car auction at Novi, Michigan? Well, it was the top-seller at the event, going for $92,400. Second among the lots sold was a 1964 Chevrolet Corvette convertible for $71,500.
By the way, anyone know why the Michigan town where the auction is held is known as Novi?
Jon Shirley's Alfa wins at Lake Como
Europe's equivalent to the annual Pebble Beach concours d'elegance is the concorso d'eleganza held at Ville d'Este on the shores of Italy's Lake Como. The 2009 winner of best in show as voted by the judges -- and by the 2600 members of the show-going public as well -- was former Microsoft president Jon Shirley's 2938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta. Shirley's Alfa took best in show at Pebble Beach last summer.
Mark your calendars
3 – Kruse at Huntsville, Alabama
9 – Bonhams Motorcycles at Quail Lodge, Carmel, California
13-17 – Mecum Original Spring Classic at Indianapolis
15-16 – Kruse at Charleston, South Carolina
17- RM Ferraris at Fiorano
22-23 – Kruse at Paso Robles, California
28-31 – Kruse at Auburn, Indiana
7 – Bonhams at Greenwich, Connecticut
12-14 – Kruse Leake at Tulsa, Oklahoma
20 – Kruse Smokey Mountain, Kruse at Boston, Mecum at St. Paul, Minnesota
26-27 – Mecum Bloomington Gold at St. Charles, Illinois
Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.