C oinciding with Ferrari’s big 70th Anniversary bash in Maranello, Italy, RM Sotheby’s held its second Leggenda e Passione auction with an all-Ferrari catalog and some glitzy models at the top end of the sales list.
By nearly any measurement, the sale was a success with a total of $75,154,443 brought in from the 38 cars that sold. With a total of 42 cars in the auction, that equals a very strong 90-percent sell-through rate.
At the sharp end of the results, a 2017 LaFerrari Aperta—a yet-unbuilt car said to be the last scheduled to come off the line–brought in a record-setting $10,043,000. No doubt, the bidding was helped along with Ferrari and RM Sotheby’s donating all proceeds from this lot only to charity and a few words from Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne on the auction podium, pre-sale.
Bidding on this last lot of the day started strongly but became tedious, with a drawn-out bidding war between an in-room bidder and a phone bidder racking up the last couple million dollars in increments of several hundred thousand at a time.
Runner up to Ferrari’s latest supercar in the sales figures was one of the brand’s best-known historic models, a 1959 250 GT LWB California Spider that won multiple show awards in the past. After spirited bidding, the high bidder paid $9,504,550 to take the iconic drop-top home.
Other strong results included a 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO, selling at $3,948,230, a new world record for the model at auction. The big sale price on this one is reflective of the car’s low mileage (just 453 miles from new), U.S. federalization and its status as just one of 19 288 GTOs (of 272 total produced) to be ordered without electric windows and a stereo as a weight savings measure. Will this exceptional result raise all 288 GTO prices or is it simply an outlier for one of the best preserved cars extant? Time will tell.
Another world record was set by a 1983 Ferrari 400i in desirable five-speed manual specification, being sold by its original and only owner, Keith Richards of Rolling Stones fame. The black Ferrari grand touring 2+2 was said to be Richard’s daily transportation in Paris, France for a period before being stashed away having covered just 2254 miles.
A sharp 400i will typically sell for well under $100,000, and the huge $417,450 paid here makes it the most valuable 400i ever sold at auction. Unlike with the 288 GTO’s high sale price, there’s little chance that this high watermark will do much for the value of lesser, volume-produced 400i models, especially more common automatic transmission versions.
The much-anticipated, sole alloy-bodied 1969 Ferrari 356 GTB/4 Daytona, recently found covered in dust and dirt after years of storage in Japan, brought $2,186,470 and was hastily brought indoors post-sale as it began to rain in Maranello, so as not to wash off any of the car’s dusty patina.
Meanwhile, a low-miles but slightly scruffy looking Dino 246 GTS (with rare factory wheel flares and wider Campagnolo wheels, but oddly without the Daytona-style seats to complete the “Chairs and Flares” package) brought a very strong $640,090—a likely new record for the model at auction.
Notable cars to not reach reserve included a 1960 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione, a model commonly referred to as not only one of the best-looking Ferraris but also the last of the true dual-purpose sports/racing cars that could be driven with equal aplomb in both competition and on the daily commute to the office.
Bidding stalled at $8,893,500 against a low estimate of €8,500,000 euros (or approximately $10.1 million dollars). While the car was both alloy-bodied and Ferrari Classiche certified, a lack of period race history for this competition model likely helped to tamper bids. A similar lack of race history also hampered the 1994 333 SP sports racer, which failed to meet reserve at a high bid of $3,085,500.
Nevertheless, strong results at the second-ever Leggenda e Passione auction were the rule, rather than the exception. Expect RM Sotheby’s to be at it again in a decade for Ferrari’s 80th anniversary.