Bueller Ferrari and 3 Herbie Beetles command big money at Mecum auction


Monterey at the end of August is a car nut’s dream peninsula. Want to be kept up at night by supercars racing down the street? Happens every night. Want to walk toward a Ferrari F50 street-parked in front of a coffee shop? This is the place. It all leads to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and this year the auctions totaled $368 million.

The Ferrari GTO that sold for $48.4 million at RM Sotheby’s grabbed headlines, as did the $22M Duesenberg SSJ at Gooding & Company, but the stars of the silver screen crossed the block at Mecum. There was the fake Ferrari of Ferris Bueller fame, as well as three Herbie Volkswagen Beetles, all of which sold for way above their $30,000–$40,000 estimates. Let’s take a look:

Street Racer Herbie from Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)

Street Racer Herbie from Herbie: Fully Loaded
Street Racer Herbie from Herbie: Fully Loaded

Sold for $77,000

Mecum Lot F137

Average Hagerty Price Guide value for a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle: $10,300

Late in the Herbie: Fully Loaded, Herbie is challenged to a street race by Trip Murphy’s Pontiac GTO. Even though Maggie Peyton, played by Lindsay Lohan, is suited up in her race suit and helmet, Herbie takes Maggie on a ride through the streets that she isn’t prepared for. This car is one of the six that were created for the street racing scenes and is described as the “hero” car that was used for the close-up shots. Of the six, it was apparently built to the highest quality. The final sale price was $77,000, making the nicest “hero” car the cheapest Herbie Beetle sold at Mecum that week. More than seven times the standard value of a ’63 Bug is a serious premium.

Junkyard Herbie from Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)

Junkyard Herbie from Herbie: Fully Loaded
Junkyard Herbie from Herbie: Fully Loaded

Sold for $93,500

Mecum Lot F138

Average Hagerty Price Guide value for a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle: $10,300

In the beginning of the movie, Maggie meets a dirty and rusty car in a junkyard. She is, of course, charmed by the Beetle and falls in love. What follows plays out like a high school love story. Kind of. The junkyard Herbie was painted and modified by Disney to look like it had been sitting for years neglected and rotting away before Lindsey’s character stumbled upon it when looking for a car with her father.

The patina is fake though, as there’s a solid car underneath the special effects. It turns out that classic car buyers love patina, even if it’s fake (let’s not even dive into Lohan side of that equation).

Clearly Mecum underestimated the depth of that love with its estimate of $30,000–$40,000, because the car sold for a whopping $93,500—211-percent higher than the low estimate. A junkyard isn’t always the place to  find love, but that’s not to say there isn’t beauty hidden amongst discarded garbage.

NASCAR Herbie from Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)

NASCAR Herbie from Herbie: Fully Loaded
NASCAR Herbie from Herbie: Fully Loaded

Sold for $107,250

Mecum Lot F136

Average Hagerty Price Guide value for a 1961 Volkswagen Beetle: $10,300

NASCAR Herbie is unveiled at its inaugural race to big fanfare and shock that there is a Beetle being raced in NASCAR. (We’d rightfully flip out, too, if a self-driving Beetle that winks pulled onto the NASCAR start line.) The NASCAR Beetle sold at Mecum features a boatload of racing parts that you would never, ever expect to see in a Beetle. Mecum had an estimate of $30,000–$40,000 on the car, but it seems the tuner parts were worth a stack of cash on the order of $107,250—a hefty 258-percent increase over the low estimate.

Fake Ferrari California from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

1985 Modena GT Spyder California Ferris Buellers day off
1985 Modena GT Spyder California

Sold for $407,000

Mecum Lot S189

Average Hagerty Price Guide value for an actual 1985 Modena GT Spyder California: $14.1 million

Now with all the Herbie out of the way… We all know and love Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the valet-fueled joy ride that ensues in a Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. The close-up shots in the movie were of a real 250 GT, but no owner was going to let his car get thrashed around. The director needed a solution, and that came courtesy of Modena Design and Development, which produced Ferrari 250 GT replicas.

Three of them were used in the movie, with one being used for most shots, another used for the shot of the car crashing out the window, and the last one not getting completed in time for the movie. Chassis number 0003 was refreshed by the president of Modena Design and sold at Car Week for $407,000. This was 25-percent higher than the low estimate of $325,000, and Mecum sold the same exact car for $235,000 in 2013. A real 250 GT California Spyder that’ll be $14.1 million, give or take.

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