We recently wrote about eight race cars that we’d be watching at the 2020 Monterey Online auctions, including this gorgeous 2001 Ferrari 550 GT1 by Prodrive with a rather impressive resume. Turns out, we weren’t alone. Last week, after 17 online bids, the striking red race car sold for a whopping $4,290,000 including fees.
That prices smashes the previous record for an online auction, set earlier that week when this 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Long Nose sold by Good & Company brought $3,080,000. We tapped Hagerty valuation expert John Wiley to explain some of what made this particular 550 worth such big money:
“When Ferrari was justifiably concentrating on F1, customers took a modified car road racing, which had happened before with the Daytona, 365/512 BB, and F40. In this case, Prodrive—also known for Subaru rally cars—modified the 550 to go racing against cars like the Chevrolet Corvette C5R. This car won the 24 Hours of Spa in 2004,” he said.
Prodrive upped the standard V-12’s 5.5-liter displacement to 6.0-liters, also replacing the six-speed gated manual with an Xtrac sequential gearbox. Alongside the overall victory at Spa, this very car scored 15 pole positions, 14 outright race wins, and 29 podium finishes. Perhaps most significantly, this chassis was the last V-12 Ferrari to take an overall victory at a 24-hour race.
If there was any doubt about the viability of online auctions over their in-person counterparts, sales like this seem to indicate that good cars will sell well, no matter the auction format. That said, there is an emerging pattern in which the cars that sell for the most money are from Maranello.
“The top five online sales have been a Ferrari,” notes Wiley. “The cars are often well-documented and have a broad appeal, which makes buying them online an easier decision.”
While Ferrari’s might be the darling lots from the ultra-high-end auctions, there’s no shortage of variety when bidding virtually. Bring a Trailer has enjoyed its fair share of recent eye-popping sales of more attainable models, including this gorgeous 1971 Datsun 240Z and this 1985 Chevy K20 truck.
There’s no substituting the electric atmosphere of an in-person sale, but until buyers and sellers feel comfortable gathering en-masse again, plenty of bidding action will be happening online. Until that changes, we doubt this record will hold for long. More likely than not, this race-winning 550 GT1 it’ll be dethroned by some other prancing horse.