Ferrari 250 GTO auction - thoughts on chassis 3851 and its value

Ferrari 250 GTO auction - thoughts on chassis 3851 and its value

Fabrizio warming the car up in San Marino....bit smokey - think that might be more than rings..:)

After years of tirelessly working to do a deal on the Maranello Rosso Collection - with a number of players in the trade being offered a chance to partcipate - but baulking at the logistics/cost/risk - Maranello Rosso Limited who managed to finally do a deal with Mr Louwman/Bonhams get to find out what the real appetite for a Ferrari 250 GTO is today.

If an estimated $500m worth of cars are crossing the block this week in Montery - the 250 GTO represents the jewel in the crown - for what may well be the biggest transactional 4 days in the history of collector cars.

This car in may ways will set the tone for the Montery sales week and directly affect the confidence of the old car movement pondering the current state of the market and the sustainability of ever rising prices - everybody believes that as in all markets a correction will take place with some of the lesser cars at some time - but are the very best blue chip cars destined to rise indefinitely?

The Car - Ferrari 250 GTO #3851:

Positives:- Longest continuous ownership in the hands of legendary gentleman and sportsman - Fabrizio Violati - who acquired the car in 1965 - it's still even on it's Modena plates- Actively campaigned by Violati - and in more or less original unrestored condition - it needs a sympathetic rebuild - but so what? It's more original than a number of high profile GTO's - some of which have their original engines in crates - whilst today they run replica engines - probably with the "correct" numbers stamped on the block....what's new?!- Violati was a genuine friend of Enzo and his enthusiastic use of the car contributes to the provenance of the car - GTO's are normally sold in an opaque manner - with brokers taking a healthy cut - it's been a long time since the big Classic Ferrari player - Talacrest - had one in their showrooms - which 18 years ago is probably the only time in recent memory where you could buy one from a dealer for a publically known price - Talacrest sold 2 from their showrooms for $4m & $5m.- The GTO is arguably the ultimate collector car - they are unlikely to go down in value in the long term - however super heated the market is now.- If you can afford to use the car properly - what a beautiful and exciting car to actually drive!

Negatives:- Doomsayers point out to the car being involved in a fatal accident in 1962 - where Henri Oreiller died at Montlhery - but that was 52 years ago and the car was rebuilt - but to me that does not make any difference. Yes - there are some chassis which had more illustrious careers- Car needs a comprehensive preservation/restoration exercise - let's hope that it is a preservation exercise - and in any case it's a hell of a lot more original than some of the pristine examples used for preening on concours lawns by some high profile owners - and the cost of remedial work on this car in real terms compared to it's value - is largely irrelevant- Conspiracy theories - Car has been put up for no reserve - fact that Louwman owns half of Bonhams and that Bonhams is for sale - Bonhams take a very high winning bid "off the phone" to ensure that the profile of selling the most expensive car in history will reside with Bonhams (when in fact Louwman may buy the car) - just when they have a Chinese bidder for the Auction house sniffing around. Well I think the likelihood of that is bollocks - but if it transpires that Louwman buys the car - it would certainly raise eyebrows...No - I think the no reserve idea is a great way of getting some real profile for the car and ensuring that the price reached - is the price it sells for. This will go a long way to ensuring the bill for the acquistion of the Maranello Rosso Collection by Maranello Rosso Collection Limited is largely underwritten...The remaining cars look like profit...

The Price:

Arguably the price is irrelevant unless you are in a position to buy it and are actually bidding - hand wringing and pontificating on what is worth and how people should spend their money - unless you are player and have $40m - $100m to spend - smacks of piss ant whining from the cheap seats of no consequence - and that includes me :)

According to Forbes - the ranks of the world’s billionaires have swelled to a record 1,645 including 268 newcomers in the past year - and lets face it there will be a load more below the radar....

The reality is that in the last few years the super wealthy have got a lot more wealthy - way above the comprehension of most of us. For those in their gilded cages - anything from $50m to $100m is not going to make a big dent in their lifestyles - and if they are into cars - this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Paintings have reached $150m - for some this car is a work of art and comparable.

If you are a real car enthusiast - think of what proportion of wealth you have invested in a special car when you were working your way up the ladder - 10%? - more? In which case if you are worth a billion dollars - and you apply the 10% rule - this car is likely to be within your reach. If you must have a 250 GTO - I guess the only restraints that you would exercise in bidding for the car would be based around:

- Are there other GTO's available from the 39 made that you know are currently for sale at a better "value" price?- Where do you place the desirability of #3851 against the other chassis?- Can you afford it - if you are "only" worth say $150m - would you manage to survive and pay your bills and look after your family with a mere $90m - $50m (depnding on sale price) to live on - and are you comfortable with having that much money tied up in an old car?

Assume the car sits comfortably in the $50m to $80m range - depends on who is feeling punchy on the night - there certainly will be a number of younger relatives of older 250 GTO owners who will be following the auction with "interest" as they express an interest in "estate planning". A number of real enthusiastic GTO owners will merely see the result as an academic number - they love owning and driving their cars and recognise they are going to be a long time dead - so enjoying being a custodian of this wonderful car is a great way to enjoy the fruits of a successful life.

Let's hope what ever happens - the new owner recommissions the car sympathetically and profiles the car in public every so often so that we can all get to enjoy this moving art form.

More importantly - let's hope the new owner spanks it as hard as Mr Violati did and uses it as it was intended as a fitting memorial to Fabrizio Violati who was a worthy custodian of such as a great car...

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