If you like to ogle rare, expensive Ferraris (and who doesn’t?), then you may want to clear your calendar for January and head west to Arizona. The annual Scottsdale auctions regularly line up Mustangs, Chevelles, and Corvettes as far as the eye can see, but if you go to the right places you’ll find plenty of Prancing Horse badges, often adorning some of the company’s most collectible, valuable, and seldom-seen classic models. Of the 15 most expensive cars ever sold in Scottsdale, 12 are Ferraris.
The 2020 RM Sotheby’s sale alone will feature 20 Ferraris, ranging from a 1954 250 Europa to a 2018 GTC4Lusso. These are the four standouts that we’ll be keeping a closer eye on.
The 275 GTB was Ferrari’s first road car with independent rear suspension and a rear transaxle, so it was already a significant car. That the curvy, swoopy body remains also one of Pininfarina’s best shapes is just icing on the cake… and the soundtrack from a 3.3-liter V-12 doesn’t hurt.
This red car offered in Arizona first sold in Italy in Grigio Ferro (iron gray) over dark beige leather before making its way to U.S. shores in the 1970s. After a drivetrain rebuild followed by long-term storage, it got restored in the mid-2000s and was further freshened for concours events after Skip Barber (of Skip Barber Racing School fame) bought it in 2012. If you’ve ever seen thePetrolicious video on Barber, in which he calls the 275 GTB his favorite car, this red example gets the lion’s share of the screen time.
As for values, just about any 275 GTB is a million-dollar-plus car, but they’re not all the same and neither are their values. Early GTBs like this car have a shorter nose and a SOHC engine fed by either three or six Weber carbs. This is a six-carb, short-nose car, one of 59 built, and generally worth about 10-percent more than a three-carb example. Later 275 GTBs had a longer nose and eventually got a four-cam engine with more power. Four-cam cars are worth a few hundred grand more than a single-carb—add in an extra million dollars for alloy bodywork.
The 250 Europa GT was the first Ferrari dubbed a Gran Turismo (GT). Back in the mid-1950s, Ferrari was still very much a small-scale manufacturer focused primarily on racing, so despite the 250 Europa GT’s staggering looks (courtesy of Pinin Farina) and 200-plus horsepower V12 performance, Ferrari built just 43 examples. The car on offer is number 11.
It sold new to Jan de Vroom (yes, that was his real name), who was one of the biggest financial backers of the North American Racing Team (NART) and kept the car in France. A subsequent owner had it restored and repainted in burgundy over tan leather in the 1980s. More recently it crossed the block at the RM Sotheby’s 2017 Monterey sale, when it hammered not sold at a $1.6M high bid against a $2M low estimate. It still wore the burgundy paint at the time but has since been repainted in its original Azzurro (light blue) with Grigio (gray) roof. It’s an unusual combo for a Ferrari, but it looks great on a Europa. Let’s face it, though—any color would.
The 330 GTC (coupe) and GTS (spider) have similar platforms and performance to their 275 predecessors but are more refined and usable. And while they aren’t quite as breathtaking to look at as a 275, they’re no ugly ducklings. Pininfarina was responsible for the 330’s looks and, as usual, delivered the goods.
All classic Ferraris are rare and expensive, but those are relative terms. While Ferrari built just 600 GTCs, GTSs are much scarcer with 99 built. As a result, the open cars are worth about four times as much as the hardtops.
This one is a U.S.-delivery car sold new through Chinetti Motors in Greenwich, as so many tasty classic European cars were. It originally wore Nocciola (hazelnut) paint over a black interior but got a yellow repaint in the 1980s. RM Sotheby’s reports that the car’s owner used it for hill climbs during that time, with the car boasting “only one accident to its credit.” We’re not quite sure what that means.
No matter—it looks fantastic today, largely due to a $400,000 restoration completed five years ago. The 330 came to Monaco in 2016 and was bid to a $2.034M no-sale on the block and did the same in Monterey the year before with a $2.25M high bid. Looking further back, Russo and Steele reportedly sold it in 2004 for $260,000. Anybody have a time machine? And a spare quarter-million?
If this car meets its reserve and sells, it will likely be the priciest vehicle of the week in Scottsdale 2020. And for good reason. A Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet is a dream car in any configuration, but this car ticks the most desirable boxes. It’s a Series I car, which is particularly rare with about 40 built compared to 200 Series II versions. It also has covered headlights, which are far more attractive than the open-headlight versions and far more expensive—those little headlight covers can add $2M or more. Finally, this one has a documented history, the right paperwork, and its original drivetrain, chassis and body.
Originally finished in Grigio Metallizzato (gray metallic), it sold new in Italy then got a repaint in red during the 1980s. It was then completely restored in the ’90s with another repaint in red. A replacement 250 GT block was fitted, but a few years ago the original block received a $95,000 rebuilt and made its way back into the car. The owner has fired it up for driving events like the Colorado Grand and California Mille and displayed it at shows like the Concorso Italiano and at the Quail, so you may have seen glossy, high-res event photos of this beauty before. What you haven’t seen, however, is this car coming to market, since it’s been with the same collector for over 20 years. Another 250 GT Series I Cabriolet sold for $6.8M in Pebble Beach last year.
Which of these four would you most hope to bring home from Arizona? Drop us your choice in the comment section below.