A $858,000 Dino just broke our price guide

Bring a Trailer/silverarrowcarsltd/Ted Seven

Back in May 2020, a 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO and a 2003 Ferrari Enzo managed to sell online for market-appropriate prices. This was something of a first: Save for a single Gullwing and a few long-ago eBay listings, high-end cars simply didn’t bring “all the money” online. Key to these prices, Insider intoned at the time, was the fact that both were modern cars in well-documented, nearly new condition.

I hesitate to call those terrifying early days of the pandemic a simpler time, but for the collector car market, it clearly was. Since then, unprecedented appreciation across all segments and exponential growth of online auctions has thrown all our notions of what will and won’t sell out the window. Case in point: A 1974 Ferrari Dino GTS, chassis no. 07826, just brought $858,000, including fees. That’s some $66K above Hagerty’s condition #1 value and well above other recent sales at auction. For reference, I’ve seen three other “chairs and flares” cars sell in the last 24 months: chassis no. 07836 in July 2020; chassis no. 08310 on BaT in October 2020 for $540k; more recently, in May of this year, chassis no. 05530 sold in Europe (but a U.S.-spec car) for €539K.

Now, Dino prices have generally been on the rise. That’s why it earned a spot on our 2022 Bull Market list. But $858,000? There are two rationalizations for the big price—the fact that this is a “chairs-and-flares” model and a recent restoration. Both rationalizations are weak.

People who don’t know Dinos, or who know just enough about Dinos, have learned the magical “flares and chairs” phrase and ascribe great meaning to these options. More than do most knowledgeable Ferrari collectors. Some really like those fenders—cut open and modified, with flat protruding lips to cover slightly wider wheels—and the seat covers from the 365 GTB/4 “Daytona.” Others, myself included, far prefer the non-“flares” cars. Therefore the premium for a chairs-and-flares car has never been huge. The current Hagerty Price Guide puts it at 20 percent.

1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS Chairs Flares interior
Bring a Trailer/silverarrowcarsltd/Ted Seven

However, the mythical and catchy “chairs and flares” thing has wormed its way into Ferrari-dom and now it seems people are willing to pay up for the option simply based on the idea that such configurations represent the top spec. Their low production count (the generally accepted number is 91) only adds to that.

Now, let's look at the Bring a Trailer car. It was recently restored by a reputable shop—Fast Cars Ltd. in Redondo Beach—for a Canadian collector. The proprietor, Craig Calder, recently told Insider features editor Conner Golden that this owner's entire focus was a good, strong driver, as opposed to a show, car.

"It was always going to be a clean driver with an eye on that he could do a few small shows around where he lives. He didn’t want to worry about it when he drove it, and he wanted to use it regularly," Calder said. (Note that Fast Cars did not sell the car, although it is currently housed in the shop.)

Mission accomplished. This is a driver with many liberties taken. Upgraded cooling fans, fuel pump, on and on. It was repainted in a completely different color than original. Numerous fit/finish/hardware/ component discrepancies are obvious, throughout. Again, a very nice car but not a concours car by any stretch despite the BaT seller declaring it “Platinum Level.”  If the car were brought to an FCA-judged concours, I don't think it would score even at Silver level. Certainly nowhere near Platinum. (Perhaps by “platinum” he meant the color of the exterior paint ...) I’d call it a 2- car balancing the level of restoration with the incorrect stuff.

It doesn’t have a spectacular history. It wasn’t an incredibly nice car before restoration—in fact there were signs of possible old accident damage, panel replacement, color changes, etc. It doesn’t have wonderful original paperwork or old photos or ownership history that tugs at the heartstrings. Oh, and the tool set is incomplete.

It sounds like I'm bashing the car. I'm not. (If you want to see what that looks like, check out the conversation in the Bring a Trailer comments or on Ferrari Chat.) It should also be noted that the car was painstakingly photographed at multiple stages of restoration (the listing contained nearly 2000 photos—the most we've ever seen on a Bring a Trailer listing). But in a rational market, the nitty-gritty details matter on top-tier classics. They really matter on vintage Ferraris.

So why did it sell for $858K? A group of people wanted it … and there aren’t any others for sale right this moment.

"I’ve spoken to the new owner, and I’ve spoken to the seller—everyone seems to be happy," said Calder, who adds that he spoke to "three or four" other people who were interested in the car.

These people presumably liked and were comfortable with the deviations from textbook-correct and original spec. Or maybe they saw the 1977 Trans Am that sold for $440K just a few days prior and said, “Wow, this Dino is CHEAP!”

If a great #3+/ #2- Dino is indeed now $600K, then a comparable F&C car should be $650K–$750K in my mind. So is the gotta-have-it, she’s the only one on the market, I don’t want to wait for the next train premium here $100K–$200K? Seems to be … but the next sale, and this rapidly moving and unpredictable market, might very well prove me wrong again.

Colin Comer is Marketplace Editor for Hagerty and has owned his 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS for 30 years. He also owned a 1974 chairs-and-flares example but traded it for a ’32 Ford years ago.

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