Was $324K the Ferrari FF’s Breakout Sale?
With the literal and figurative dust settling from Arizona auction week, we’re looking at standouts among the 2000-plus cars crossing an auction block over the past five days. We do this every time we come to Scottsdale. Last year what got the most chatter was a surprisingly old but absolutely marvelous, impeccably pedigreed 1912 Simplex. At $4.85M it was Scottsdale 2023’s most expensive car, beating out hundreds of younger, faster, better-known, better-looking classics.
The car causing the most buzz this year, meanwhile, is different. It’s surprisingly…new. It’s not the most expensive of the week, either. It’s not even in the top 20. Nor does it have a great story to tell like the Simplex. Instead, what sets this $324,000 Ferrari FF apart (other than its red interior) is that it was a shockingly high, record price for an unusual but usable and enticing model, one that has been poised to take off. Despite its enticing ingredients, the FF is a bit of an oddball and not everybody takes it seriously, but two bidders in Scottsdale really did. Now we are, too.
At the Geneva Motor Show back in 2011, Ferrari unveiled a new, ambitious and fairly risky model – the FF. Like the Ferrari LaFerrari it had a redundant name. FF stands for “Ferrari Four,” so this was the “Ferrari Ferrari Four.” It also wasn’t going to win any beauty contests. While it’s packed with 2010s Ferrari styling cues and while a shooting brake body style is inherently graceful, the FF’s toothy grille and stretched headlights aren’t. Aston Martin DB5 shooting brake or Volvo 1800ES, it ain’t.
But the FF was more than just a not-very-pretty face. First, this was Ferrari’s first production shooting brake body style. It was also the first Ferrari with real, usable back seats, not the laughably small afterthoughts for children found in the back of previous Ferrari 2+2s. The rear seats also split 60/40 for between 16 and 28 cubic feet of storage.
The engine was a familiar F140-series V-12 (although Ferrari’s then-largest displacement production unit at 6.3 liters) and the gearbox a familiar 7-speed dual clutch, but the rest of the drivetrain wasn’t. It had Ferrari’s first-ever all-wheel drive system, which the company called 4RM. This unconventional setup fit a separate 2-speed gearbox to the front of the engine that could send up to 20 percent of engine torque to the front wheels when road conditions called for it.
The result was a 651-hp hatchback that could hit 60 in 3.5 seconds and top out at 208 mph, making it the world’s fastest four-seater in its day. Today, all-wheel-drive vehicles with rear hatches, four-passenger practicality, an exotic powertrain and a premium badge are commonplace. They’re called luxury performance SUVs. But those weren’t nearly as commonplace in the early 2010s when the FF came about. There wasn’t anything quite like it. Road-tripping and grocery-getting usability with the heart, soul, sounds, and speed of a supercar was a big deal. Even better that it was a Ferrari.
But the FF stickered at around $300K. The company only sold 2291 examples from 2011-16 before replacing it with a cleaned-up, improved model called the GTC4Lusso that lasted until 2020 as Ferrari geared up to go full SUV with the Purosangue. In 2022 alone, Ferrari sold more than 13,000 vehicles, so the FF is a fairly rare sight.
It’s also a fairly rare sight at high-end auctions, but if any FF was going to stand out at an RM Sotheby’s auction, it’s this example. “The options list on this car is massive. It has all the right things going for it,” says Alex Ahlgrim, Hagerty Price Guide contributor and modern Ferrari expert.
How massive? First, the Bianco paint is an out-of-range shade of white. The very red interior (it even has red carbon fiber trim) with white accents is special, too, while other options include but are not limited to: red calipers, panoramic glass roof, two full sets of Schedoni fitted luggage, a golf bag, and digital display in the passenger’s side dashboard. According to the auction catalog, these extras added up to $193,785, which brought the total original cost at Ferrari of Beverly Hills to $496,235. “Most FF buyers were forced by the dealer so the builds can be wonky but someone put a massive amount of time into this one,” says Ahlgrim. But despite all that time and money spec-ing out the perfect FF, the car only did 28 miles with its first owner, for a total odometer reading of 90.
In Arizona, the car had a $150,000 – $200,000 presale estimate, which seemed realistic. Most clean FFs sold recently have brought prices in the low- to mid-$100K range, and the model’s Hagerty Price Guide value ranges from $150K in #2 (“excellent”) condition to $182K in #1 (“concours” or “best-in-the-world”) condition. These well-depreciated Ferraris have been much further in the “used exotic” camp than their “modern collector car” peers like the 458 Italia or F12tdf.
But when we put the Ferrari FF on this year’s Bull Market list, we noted that two of the most striking changes in the market over the past decade have been an influx of younger buyers and a shift in preference toward more usable vehicles. The FF, with its combo of everyday practicality with supercar speed and for which over 80 percent of buyer interest comes from Gen Xers or younger, ticks both boxes.
This is the first FF to sell at auction for over 300 grand. Only one other, a one-of-10 Neiman Marcus Edition, had sold for over 200 before. The FF in Scottsdale is exceptional and so is its price. But as we often say, one sale doesn’t make the market. This doesn’t mean that every FF owner’s car is worth $100,000 more than it was last week, and it doesn’t mean the FF has fully shifted from “used car” to “collector car.” But it is perhaps a sign of things moving up, so expect to see more of these cars on the market in the next few months and we’ll see how high they go.