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By Elite Traveler | January 5 2018
Anyone who found it hard to watch the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will know a Ferrari is more than just a sum of its parts.
Since the first Fezza hit asphalt in 1940, the hypnotic howl of the engine has had many a bigwig reaching for the check book and parting with a small fortune. 2012 saw a number of gargantuan Ferrari sales, with prices making superyachts look like small fry. Then, US-based car collector Craig McCaw bought a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for a reported $35m. The seller was Nyetimber vineyard owner and entrepreneur Eric Heerema, the Dutch-born business tycoon who now calls the UK home.
There are two markets for the serious car collector — the auction house, where bidding is public and sale amounts are disclosed, and the private market in which the mega-rich sell each other cars and seldom reveal the sums paid. For reasons of insurance and security, collectors often favor the private market, making it tricky for motor heads like us to compile a definitive list.
However, we can be fairly sure that McCaw’s 250 GTO set a price record not just for Ferraris but for classic car sales as a whole. Move over the 1936 Type 57SC Bugatti Atlantic, which California collector Peter Mullin bought in 2010 for somewhere between $32m and $34m.
Ferrari began its life in 1928 in Maranello, northern Italy, when Enzo Ferrari founded a company to sponsor racing drivers. Under the name Scuderia Ferrari—translating loosely as ‘Team Ferrari’ — the company sponsored amateur drivers in Modena, who drove Alpha Romeos at that stage. Enzo Ferrari was soon hired by Alpha Romeo to lead their motor racing department. In 1940, Scuderia Ferrari produced its first race car, the Tipo 815, which debuted at the Mille Miglia.
When Mussolini’s fascist government confiscated Alfa Romeo in 1941 as part of the Axis Powers’ war effort, Enzo Ferrari’s department set up independently in Maranello — where it’s remained ever since. The Allies bombed the Maranello factory in 1944 and it was only when the factory was rebuilt in 1946 that Ferrari began producing road cars. The rest is history.
And why all the red? Ferrari’s signature ‘race red’ (Rosso Corsa) is the traditional color of Italian race cars. Between the World Wars, the color of race cars identified their nationality rather than the manufacturer or driver. French-entered cars like Bugatti were blue, German Benz and Mercedes white (or bare sheet metal silver after 1934), and British Lotus and BRM green.
So here are the 15 most expensive Ferraris ever built that have left the biggest dents in bank accounts, and account for some of the most expensive cars in the world.
Long may the Fezza burn rubber, turn heads and empty wallets…
The ‘cheapest’ of our 15 most expensive Ferraris, the 1975-1989 Ferrari 308/328 GTB/GTS was made famous by TV detective Magnum P.I. in the early 80s and became the Ferrari of choice for Magnum wannabes and pin-striped traders on Wall Street.
The first of the 308/328 series, this model was available in both coupe and cabrio, with 240hp, 3.0-liter V8 mounted amidships and forms. The model designation stands for 3.0 liters and eight cylinders.
A two-seat, two-door grand tourer, the 2002 Maranello 575M updated the 550 Maranello, and was replaced in 2006 by the 599 version.
The V12 engine (5,748cc) can generate 515bhp, with the model number referring to total engine displacement in liters and the ‘M’ an abbreviation of ‘modificato’ or ‘modified.’ While many style features from the 550 Maranello were retained, the new model saw significant improvements in the engine, transmission and driveline. These included bigger brake discs, different weight distribution, refined aerodynamics and fluid-dynamics, and an adaptive suspension set-up.
The increase in engine displacement offers more power and torque across the rpm range. The V12 kept many of the same design elements with four valves per cylinder and twin overhead camshafts in an all aluminum design. The transaxle design provides optimum weight distribution, with a 50-50 split between the axles. Transmission in between the rear wheels reduces shift times for the new electro-hydraulic gear selector. A first for a road-going car with the V12 engine, the 575M offers an F1-style gear change as an option, with manual levers mounted on the back of the steering wheel.
In the title sequence of Magnum P.I., the eponymous hero shot down Miami roads with the center section removed — a practical measure to fit in all six-foot-four of Tom Selleck, not to mention his mustache. The curvaceous design and Sergio Pininfarina coachwork inspired the “Decisions, Decisions” advertising campaign, with posters comparing the silhouette of the 308 GTB to those of a naked woman and a bottle of wine. Those were the days.
The GTB was Ferrari’s first road car with a fiberglass body. True to Ferrari form, the 308 had a steel tube chassis, as well as independent front and rear suspension, unequal-length A-arms, coil springs, hydraulic shocks, and anti-roll bars. Brakes were ventilated discs, the transmission the standard five-speed with gated shifter. A word of warning — despite the (ahem) modest purchase price, maintenance costs will make your eyes water. We’re talking tens of thousands for major engine work.
Unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor, the mid-engined Ferrari Italia F458 produces 570bhp from a 4.5-liter V8 engine.
A unique double clutch and seven-speed transmission takes the car from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds. Top speed is over 202mph. The engine is the result of a shared Ferrari/Maserati design, with direct fuel injection — a first for a Ferrari road car with a mid-engine setup. The 4.5-liter V8 in the Italia F458 currently holds the world record for most power per liter in a naturally aspirated production car engine.
Italia F458 was the first mainstream Ferrari to not be offered with a manual transmission. The car’s suspension has double wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear, as well as E-Diff and F1-Trac traction control systems to improve the car’s cornering and longitudinal acceleration by 32 percent over its predecessors.
As with all recent Ferraris, the body was conceived by legendary design firm Pininfarina. The car’s exterior styling and features were designed for aerodynamic efficiency, producing a downforce of 309lbs at 124mph. The front grille has deformable winglets that lower at high speeds for reduced drag. Michael Schumacher collaborated on the design of the interior, which includes features and controls on the steering wheel rather than on the dashboard — a system borrowed from racing cars.
Named after the Ferrari founder, this 2011 edition is a revival of the original 2002 Ferrari Enzo, with a lightweight carbon-fiber body and V12 engine producing a maximum power of 660bhp. It has a top speed of 217mph and can reach 60mph in 3.4 seconds. The Ferrari Enzo 2011 is one of the 10 fastest street legal cars in the world.
With only 400 units produced, the cost of the 2011 Enzo goes up every time one of them crashes, which happened most publicly at the 2011 Targa Newfoundland. Behind the wheel was Zahir Rana, owner of ZR Auto car dealership, who had modified the car in Germany to produce a staggering 850 horsepower and achieve 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds. The result? Rana took a corner wrong and ended up landing his favorite toy in the sea. Thankfully he escaped with only his pride bruised.
Launched in 2006 in response to growing Ferrari sales in China, this edition of the 599 was produced in a limited run of 12 units.
Fitted with a 6.0-liter V12 petrol engine, it can do 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds. The special China edition features a jade green starter button, tachometer in ancient Chinese characters instead of the usual numerals, luggage embroidered with a map of the Silk Road by Italian explorer Marco Polo, and a Rosso Fuoco paint job with a gray roof.
In 2009, Chinese artist Lu Hao painted one of these limited editions in the style of Song Dynasty-era Ge Liln porcelain, giving the pale jade colored body a ‘cracked’ glaze pattern. The one-off was sold at a charity auction in Beijing for $1.6m. The buyer was an anonymous, silent auction participant based in Shanghai and proceeds from the sale now provide scholarships to auto engineering students at Tsighua University to study at Italy’s Politecnico di Milano.
A rare breed of Ferrari, only three of these cars were ever made. The FXX Evoluzione has a 6.3-liter, V12 engine with a displacement of 6,262cc.
Capable of speeds exceeding 200mph, it’s not even street legal, and was intended only for the Ferrari Client Test Driver program. As the name suggests, the Evoluzione was a development of the Ferrari FXX. The 6.3-liter V-12 engine now produces 860 horsepower at 9,500 rpm—1,000 rpm higher than the original FXX. Cog-swapping is 60 ms — compared to 80 ms for the original FXX gearbox — and new gear ratios have been optimized for the new state of engine tune. Ferrari have not released performance figures, but we’re looking at 0-60mph in well under four seconds.
A new traction-control system allows the driver on-the-fly adjustment, with nine different settings controlled by a switch on the center console. The system was designed to be more responsive to individual driving style allowing the car to adapt to the driver rather than vice versa. Combined with new front suspension geometry, the refined traction-control system also reduces tire wear, while the Brembo brakes and Composite Ceramic Material discs have also been redesigned to double pad life. On the body, the FXX Evoluzione features a new rear diffuser and rear flaps, increasing rear downforce and aerodynamic efficiency by 25 percent.
Officially known as the Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina, the P4/5 Competizone is a bespoke one-off designed by Pininfarina for film director and stock exchange magnate James Glickenhaus.
The car began life as an Enzo Ferrari but Glickenhaus preferred the style of Ferrari’s 1960s P Series race cars, and Pininfarina redesigned accordingly. Officially presented to the public in August 2006 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elégance, the P4/5 Competizone cost Glickenhaus $4m. It can accelerate from 0-60mph in three seconds and has a top speed of 217mph.
So how does one convince Ferrari to produce a tailor-made car? In fact, one doesn’t. It was Pininfarina who first approached Glickenhaus, asking if he would be interested in commissioning a one-off. Glickenhaus described his ideal car as a “modern Ferrari P,” along the lines of his own 1967 Ferrari 330 P3/4. He promptly bought the last unsold Enzo Ferrari and asked Pininfarina if they could reinvent it as something entirely new, yet drawing inspiration from the P Series. They set to work. Over 200 components were designed especially for the car, while most components, including the engine and drivetrain were modified from the original Enzo Ferrari. Glickenhaus was pleased with the result, and Pininfarina has since expressed interest in designing more unique cars. High rollers take note.
The first Ferrari to use the Lucas fuel injection system fitted to the intake manifold, this last model with chassis 0844 was sold by Christie’s in 2000 for $5.6m.
The 330 P3 was the first Ferrari to use fiberglass doors rather than aluminum. The clutch is found right behind the gearbox rather than between the gearbox and engine. The gearbox was the new ZF five-speed unit. While the engine produced more power, the wider track added weight, giving the P3 a similar power to weight ratio as the P2.
The single seat is positioned almost in the center of the car. Like most racing cars originally designed for clockwise circuits, the P3 is right-hand drive. The low roof demands a reclined sitting position, with enough surface area on the seat to support the driver without padding. The Racetech steering wheel is removable, making it easier for the driver to enter. The gearstick features sliding fingers to prevent gate-jumping and a reverse lock-out. The main rival of the 330 P3 was the Ford GT40, which beat the Ferrari at both Le Mans and Sebring in 1966.
Developed for American SCCA racing, the 1958 412 S was the most powerful Ferrari of its era.
The 1958 412 S used chassis #0744 — probably the 312 S driven by Gendebien for the Spa GP — and the engine taken from the single seat 412 Monza Indianapolis (MI). The engine was a punched out version of the V12, designed to compete with American Scarabs.
The Ferrari 412 S had a rocky start. Debuted at Watkins Glen in 1958 with Phil Hill at the wheel, the car failed on the track and promptly went back to the factory. Here it became one of the first Ferraris to be fitted with disc brakes. When Hill raced the modified 412 S at Riverside, the car failed with fuel starvation. In 1959 the car was bought by Jack Nethercut, who soon sold it on to Fred Knoop. Success came when it set a track record of 181mph at the 1960 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix.
The 412 S was later bought by Steve Earl who used it to promote the first Monterey Historic Races in 1973. A long series of owners later, Jarold Williams finally restored this historic racer to its original 1958 specification.
Of the three Berlinettas built, only two survive today, making this an endangered species.
In 1953, the Ferrari 340/375 MM Berlinetta Competizione finished fifth overall at the 24 Hours of LeMans—the highest place finish for a Ferrari that year—driven by brothers Paolo and Gianno Marzotto. The engine displacement was subsequently increased from 4.1 to 4.5 liters, with a jump from 340 to 375hp as result.
After modification, the Berlinetta won a number of races in Europe, before being sold to private owners in the USA. In 1995, Formula-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone added the Berlinetta to his collection, later passing it on to Ferrari collector Jon Shirley. Shirley raced it several times before having it overhauled and modified for $325,000. A piece of racing history indeed.
Based on the Ferrari Monza, the 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC Spider is a road-worthy racing car — a style common in Ferraris in the 1950s and 1960s.
Weighing a mere 1,500lbs and producing 320 horsepower from a V12 engine, this was one of the world’s fastest cars. It held its own alongside the top German cars of the day and finished seventh overall at the 1957 24 Hours of LeMans. Known as the ‘prettiest car ever made,’ this curvaceous Ferrari is one of Elite Traveler’s favorites.
In May 2012, the 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC Spider was sold at auction in Monaco for $6.5m. One of only two ever made, this particular Spider was once owned by American Ferrari importer John von Neumann, who held on to it for over 30 years. At the same auction during the Monaco Grand Prix, RM Auctions made a total $43m, selling over 90 classic cars, 100 Ducati motorbikes and three boats.
Built in a limited run of 150, the Ferrari GT SWB 250 is one of the most esteemed cars among collectors.
Available in both road (‘lusso’) and race editions, all came with three-liter V12 engines. The road cars produce 220/240 horsepower, while the competition-specification engines bump that figure up to 280. Ferrari spent much of the late 1950s developing the 250 engine and chassis, and the GT SWB 250 is the result of this work.
The body came in either aluminum or steel, and its short wheelbase (94.5in) was 7.8in shorter than its predecessor, helping the car handle sharp turns at speed. The sleek body was designed by Pininfarina, with Sergio Pininfarina himself calling it “the first of our three quantum leaps in design with Ferrari.” Sir Stirling Moss once raced a GT SWB 250, adding to the car’s value today. This is typical of a Ferrari’s history and provenance boosting its value.
The car famously wrecked in the 1986 movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the 250 GT SWB California Spyder is one of the most sought after Ferraris out there.
Fortunately the car used in the movie was a replica based on an MG rather than the real McCoy — an original is worth twice what the movie cost to make. In 2008, UK radio presenter Chris Evans bought a 250 GT SWB California Spyder for $12m at RM Auctions, filling a hole left when we sold his 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO. The seller was actor James Coburn who had owned the car for over 20 years. When bidding started, the car was expected to fetch around $4.5m, but half an hour of later, the hammer went down at a sum almost three times that. Evans’ splurge set a new record for a car auction, only to be surpassed the following year — more on this later.
Designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti, the Ferrari California Spyder was a reinvention of the popular Ferrari 250 for the American market. The result is the quintessential sports car with a long hood, two seats and a drop top. Produced in a limited run of 50 cars, the Spyder features a 3-liter SOHC V12 engine with 280hp and a four-speed manual transmission. Lucky Mr. Evans.
Italian for ‘red head,’ the fiery Testa Rossa is one of the world’s most iconic race cars.
The 1957 edition was the first Testa Rossa—or ‘TR’ as it’s affectionately known — produced in a limited run of 22 cars. They went on to snatch a number of racing victories over the next decade in Brazil, Cuba and Portugal. Producing 300bhp from a 2,953cc single overhead cam degrees V12 engine, it features six Weber 38 DCN carburetors and a four-speed manual gearbox.
In August 2011, one of these rare gems fetched $16m at auction. This particular TS was a Scuderia Ferrari team car that raced at Le Mans, complete with restored 1958 Le Mans NART (North American Racing Team) colors. Dennison International won awards for the restoration. Conceived by Gian Carlo Guerra, the ‘pontoon’ bodywork features a nose resembling the period’s Ferrari F1 cars with cutaway fenders known as sponsons. This design exposes the large brake drums to aid cooling, though makes the car unstable at high speeds.
No Ferrari has made more headlines than the 1962 250 GTO, which US businessman Craig McCaw bought in 2011 for a staggering $35m.
The car in question was one of only 39 ever made, built for British racing legend Sir Stirling Moss, with Moss’s period livery to match. Moss never got to race the car himself—an accident at Goodwood ended his career before he had the chance—but the 250 GTO competed at the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1962, with Innes Ireland at the wheel instead. The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO generated 302bhp, with a 0-60mph speed of 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 180mph.
In July 2012, American businessman Christopher Cox wrecked his Ferrari 250 GTO en route to LeMans in what has been dubbed the most expensive car crash in history. Cox was driving in a convoy of Ferrari fanatics—among them Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and JCB boss Sir Anthony Bamford. Cox collided with the car in front, crushing the entire front end and leaving his wife with a broken leg. Cox escaped with minor injuries. Let’s hope Craig McCaw keeps his in good condition.