Snap these up cars — if you have a few million to spare, that is

IT’S AUCTION season — time to bag a bargain — if you have a few million to spare that is.

Snap these up cars — if you have a few million to spare, that is

A 1961 red convertible Ferrari California Spider is expected to fetch as much as €15m at auction this weekend, the top lot among 78 Ferraris that are up for sale.

Gooding & Co is offering the Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider — one of only 37 of its kind — during the annual classic car event at California’s coastal towns of Carmel and Monterey and at the Pebble Beach golf course.

Three auctioneers are offering 390 cars, including 25 from one private collection that may total a record €70m. Cars built for Pope John Paul II and for the former Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli are also among the items for sale.

Last year, auctions at Gooding, Bonhams and RM Auctions reached a record tally of almost €400m, led by a €34.2m Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta that set a record for a car sold at auction globally. Values are stabilising after rising along with other high-end collectibles as wealthy individuals’ appetite for alternative investments grows.

Prices are “flat at a very high level”, said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, a Michigan-based insurer and classic car database. “There is still very high demand for important cars.” The estimate for the Ferrari — the first time since the 1960s that this car with the chassis 3095 GT is coming to a public sale — is €14m to €16m.

In February, the same model fetched the world record for its category at auction, selling for €16.6m in Paris. The car offered in California hasn’t had a full restoration, which makes it unusual for a car of its kind and possibly more valuable, said Larry Fisher, executive director of the NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California.

RM Sotheby’s — created when Sotheby’s auction house took a 25% ownership interest in RM Auctions in February — will auction a yellow 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione for over €15.3m. It’s one of about 45 of its kind, RM Sotheby’s said. “It’s nearly impossible to find a better example in the world right now,” Alain Squindo, vice president at RM Sotheby’s, said.

The yellow Ferrari and an orange 1998 McLaren F1 sports car, estimated at more than €10.8m, are part of a private collection of 25 cars that includes 10 Ferraris, two Lamborghinis and two Bugattis that will be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s. The seller is an unidentified collector based in Florida.

The sale is expected to over than €72m, which would be the highest ever for a private collection sold during a single-day car auction. Bonhams set the record last year for the category at €60m.

Also included in this sale is a 2005 Ferrari Enzo the factory built as a gift to Pope John Paul II, estimated at €3.6m to €5.4m. It’s the 400th version and last one built, according to RM Sotheby’s. The Pope asked for it to be sold to benefit victims of the 2004 tsunami. Ferrari auctioned it after Pope John Paul II died and presented Pope Benedict with the cheque.

Another notable car coming to auction is a 1956 Fiat Eden Roc created for Gianni Agnelli, who became the Fiat chairman in 1966 and who wanted a car to take guests from his estate in Nice, France, to the beach. The open air Eden Roc looks like a cross between a Volkswagen van and a road-ready motorboat. Gooding has a low estimate of €224,000. “It’s an example of a really unusual item that never comes up for auction,” said David Gooding, president and founder of Gooding.

The auction house will also sell a 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO with a high estimate of €2.5m and a 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic for as much as €2m that’s had the same owner since 1979.

Collectors drive their prizes in order to maintain them — and for fun.

“Almost without exception all of these cars will be driven regularly and some of them will be raced,” Hagerty said. “No car is too valuable to drive.”

Meanwhile, new Top Gear host Chris Evans is putting his famous Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car up for auction, alongside 12 other luxury models from his collection.

The multi-million-pound selection of motor cars features six Ferraris, including a rare right-hand drive 1966 model in lime green estimated to fetch between £2.6m (€3.6m) and £2.9m.

The TV and radio presenter, whose annual CarFest show ended in tragedy earlier this month when a pilot died in an air display, will also put 140 lots of auto-memorabilia up for sale, the proceeds of which will be donated to Children In Need.

Evans revealed that he had bought the 1936 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car, the same model used in the 1968 children’s film, in 2012 and has since restored the 17ft motor which comes complete with multi-coloured “wings”.

Sholto Gilbertson, director of motor cars at Bonhams, said: “Chris Evans is offering 13 incredible motor cars at Bonhams sale, a stable which includes six outstanding Ferraris.

“Chris has been a long-standing client of Bonhams, so we’re delighted to offer his incredible motor cars at Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale.

“In refreshing his collection, others will have the opportunity to enjoy Chris’ fantastic cars — after all, you never ‘own’ a classic car, you enjoy it, look after it, and pass it on for others to appreciate.” The 13 cars will be sold by Evans’ company Zimple Cars while the auto-memorabilia will be sold from his private collection.

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