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Sea of red: Nine significant Ferraris headed to Monterey

by Conner Golden
27 July 2022 6 min read
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RM Sotheby's.

The current world record sale might be held by the Germans, but it’s the Italians who consistently crack the biggest sales per auction. Just check the scoreboard: of the top 200 most expensive cars sold at public sale, those prancing horse, cross-and-snake, and trident-emblemed Italians hold well over half of the seats. And Monterey is where many of them cross the block.

It looks like they may well claim a few more, too. This year’s major Monterey sales are lousy with historically significant Italian cars from all marques, but it’s a platoon of big, big Ferraris that are poised to steal the show outright. Keep your spotter’s scorecard clear for more eight-figure sales in one place than we’ve seen in quite some time. There’s no way we can cover every noteworthy Ferrari hitting the peninsula, but let’s dive into a few that we’re paying attention to.  

1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider

RM Sotheby's

This is the big one. The 410 S is a tremendously special Ferrari, and it has the strongest shot at the brass ring for Monterey this year. Consider the 410 S the better version of an all-time great: buoyed by the sensational success of the 375 Plus on the international stage, Ferrari developed the 410 S as a hot-rodded sequel aimed at carrying the momentum through the 1955 and 1956 seasons.

Prepped primarily for long-distance races like the Carrera Panamericana and the 1000km of Buenos Aires, this ex-works 410 packed the one-of-two 375-hp twin-plug configurations of the comparably massive 4.9-liter Lampredi V-12. RM Sotheby’s 410 S is chassis no. 0598 CM, a car that cycled through an unbelievable roster of drivers, including Juan Manuel Fangio, Carroll Shelby, Phil Hill, Masten Gregory, and Eugenio Castellotti.

With due respect to Fangio, Shelby’s stint in 0598 is the standout period. The legendary Texan won eight races and took the podium ten times in this Ferrari—making it the winningest car Shelby drove in his racing career. Later, Shelby would go on to sign the large gas tank of 0598, the script claiming “Mr. Ferrari told me that this was the best Ferrari he ever built.”

We doubt this will sell for 250 GTO money, but this could be the strongest Ferrari sale since RM Sotheby’s $48 million GTO sold in 2018. Based on previous sales of similar Ferrari race cars, look for a final bid somewhere well north of the $30 million waterline.

1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spider

RM Sotheby's

Open-cockpit mid-century Ferrari race cars seem to like the rare air atop the auction world. Like the 410, this 375 comes from the collection of the late Oscar Davis, a top-tier collector who amassed a galaxy-class collection of equal parts pre-war crown jewels and mid-century road-racers. The 375 MM fit right in, especially with its extensive—if a smidge underwhelming—race history and numbers-matching 4.5-liter V-12.

A Scaglietti rebody carried out in-period is unlikely to ding this barchetta much, as RM Sotheby’s aims for a range of $8 million to $10 million.

1957 Ferrari 500 TRC Spider

RM Sotheby's

Another Ferrari from the Davis collection. Against the prior two V-12 Ferraris, this 500 TRC is missing a few cylinders: as one of Ferrari’s highly successful family of Monza race prototypes, this TRC spits and screams with a 2.0-liter Lampredi four-cylinder. With four very, very angry pistons, Gaston Andrey whipped this car to 12 overall and class victories, culminating with overall wins at the 1958 and 1959 E-Modified SCCA championships. The car continued racing competitively through 1963, retiring from the world stage with 30 starts and 18 podium finishes.

Obsessively documented, wonderfully presented, and carrying its original engine, RM Sotheby’s looks to match the 375 MM with an $8 million to $10 million estimate range.

1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C

RM Sotheby's

We Ferrari nuts are spoiled rotten this Monterey season. If you didn’t find the preceding cluster of mid-century Ferrari race cars particularly inspiring for some weird, whackadoodle reason, take a drink of this 1966 275 GTB/C, one of just 12 built.

The run of GTB/Cs was the third series of motorsports-ready GTs from the 275 family, the first being the 275 GTB Competizione Speciale, and the second a small batch of ten minimally track-prepped 275s requested by well-connected customers.

The GTB/C was a serious effort. Though visibly similar to a standard production 275, the "C" shared very little with its more common siblings. All rode on a new steel and aluminum chassis, with heavily revised suspension and updated brakes that allowed for rapid pad swaps. The C’s bodywork is the biggest difference; in lieu of standard hand-rolled aluminum, the C wore a shell of absurdly thin aluminum panels, each joined together with a string of rivets.

Truly, this thing is a delicate flower—the body panels are half as thick as the metal on both the 250 GTO and the Shelby Cobra, and necessitated reinforcement in some areas to prevent errant dents from someone simply leaning on the car. This, along with additional lightweighting efforts, resulted in a 331-pound deficit against an alloy-bodied roadgoing 275. A 250-LM-spec V-12 hustled this paper-thin-bodied beast around the track, a setup pushing out around 280 hp in race trim.

Ascribing a predicted value to this one is a bit of a guessing game. The car raced only minimally in-period, leading to superb levels of originality, but likely removing it from the same $14 million realm as the last, extensively raced 275 GTB/C sold at auction. That said, it’s tough to find a “C” with such original bodywork as this RM Sotheby’s car. If it does hit in the same $14 million range, it’s likely due to the hot, hot collector car market.

1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider

RM Sotheby's

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, no? It’s a freakin’ Ferrari 250 California Spider! These are arguably the most desirable road-focused, non-competizione Ferraris from the 1950s and 1960s, and the sale prices reflect that.

A clean, well-presented car with little provenance of note, expect it to cruise solidly between Hagerty Price Guide’s $10 million (Condition #2, excellent) and $11 million (Condition #1, concours) estimate. If you have the means…

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series I

RM Sotheby's

…we highly recommend picking one up. If you can’t swing eight-figures for the prior Cali, maybe $7 million (estimate based on Hagerty Price Guide) for RM’s black-over-red 250 GT Cabriolet will scratch that itch. Or not. Hey, we’d take either one.

A Trio of 250 TdFs

Wild. There are three separate Ferrari 250 TdFs up for grabs in Monterey this year; one at RM Sotheby’s, one through Broad Arrow*, and one via Mecum. Between RM’s ’59 and Broad Arrow’s ’57, you’ll have to decide which color you’d like—they’re both exceptionally clean cars.

Mecum’s TdF offers a more unique proposition. Like most TdFs, the first owner put it right to work at local race events, leading to a few class wins and successes in regional hillclimbs. The next owner binned it in a 1961 road accident, subsequently parting the engine and salvageable bodywork out to separate buyers. The chassis with accompanying gearbox, suspension, brakes, steering box, rear-end, fuel tank, and dash structure moved to a third enthusiast, who eventually commissioned a restoration by Bacchelli & Villa in 1987. This was a monumental job that brought a new, model-correct engine. The car was restored again in 2012 through Ferrari Classiche.

It's a Ferrari fit for Theseus—and the right type of buyer. While not for the concours scene, it is as good as it gets for someone who simply wants to drive a 250 TDF without concern for ruinous depreciation.  A vintage Ferrari you can actually drive—imagine that.

What Mecum’s car might fetch is a hard to pinpoint, but we expect the other two TDFs to attract between $6.5 million and $7.5 million.

1950 Ferrari 166 MM Berlinetta Le Mans

Copyright and Courtesy of Gooding & Company, Image by Brian Henniker.

Finishing out this pack of aged F-cars is Gooding’s gorgeous 1950 166 MM. As far as early competition-grade Ferraris go, its race history is relatively minor, with much of Gooding’s $5.5 million to $6.5 million estimate made up of rarity, presentation, documentation, and ownership provenance. We bet this one will go to a marque enthusiast with a long ownership dossier of significant Ferraris.

1998 Ferrari F300

RM Sotheby's

Boom! Didn’t expect this one, eh? Here’s a modern(ish) Ferrari F1 car that's sure to at least match a few of the heavy hitting old-timers above dollar-for-dollar. The sale description claims this chassis is the “most successful undefeated Formula 1 chassis across all eras,”  and with first-place finishes at the 1998 Canadian, French, British, and Italian Grands Prix, that rather specific claim holds water.

The real money shot comes with its star driver. Ultra-legend Michael Schumacher throttled this F300 to those four wins on a clear path toward a world championship win until a DNF at the final race of the season at Suzuka stymied his chances. Ferrari sold chassis 187 at end of 1999 to a private owner, and has remained out of the public eye since.

Pricing F1 cars is difficult. So much rides on race provenance and past successes, and while this does have Schumacher’s name all over it, we’d be surprised to see it get close to Sotheby’s record-setting $7.5 million sale of Schumacher’s Monaco-winning Ferrari F2001 chassis that clinched one of his world championships. It’s also up against the auction house’s $6.6 million 2019 sale of another Schumacher world championship Ferrari.

1958 Maserati 450S

RM Sotheby's

Bonus round: Not-A-Ferrari Edition. A fourth sleek-‘n-svelte stunner from the Davis collection, this Maserati is another Italian with Shelby fingerprints on it.  The 450S was Maserati’s 4.5-liter V-8 wallop across the highest levels of motorsport, racking up 31 wins in 119 appearances. RM Sotheby’s 450S is the ninth of ten built, originally ordered by Carroll Shelby for a Texas client after Shelby himself raced a different 450S during his driving career.

Outside of some warmup laps for the buyer, Shelby never raced this specific 450S, but the car went on to claim first-place finishes at three SCCA regional events in 1958, and achieved further success at the 1959 USAC Road Racing Championship.

Presented in excellent condition and retaining a commendable amount of original equipment, the auction house expects $9 million to $11 million at the gavel.


*Hagerty has entered into a joint venture with Broad Arrow Group. You can read more about it here.

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