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Recent Profiles

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Simply put, Ferrari tells their dealers: "This is your allocation, and that's all you will get"

A prototype of the new 250 GT Lusso appeared at the Paris Motor Show in October 1962. The strikingly elegant lines, blending into an aero-efficient Kamm tail, were reminiscent of not only the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta but also the 250 GTO. Notably, the Lusso was the last Ferrari model to be equipped with the legendary Gioacchino Colombo-designed 3.0-liter V12 engine. With three Weber carburetors, as opposed to the six used on the racing version, the unit used in the Lusso produced about 250 horsepower and was capable of propelling the car to a top speed of 150 mph and sprinting from rest to 60 mph in only eight seconds. Simply put, this new 250 GT combined gorgeous styling with a leather-trimmed interior and all the race-bred-12 performance that continues to symbolize Ferrari today.

The Lusso was manufactured from 1963 until 1964, a very short period, with merely 355 produced. Aside from a virtually endless list of positive press reviews in period and today, the Lusso attracted numerous well-known clients, including Steve McQueen; Harvey Postlethwaite, Ferrari’s former head of F1 design; and Battista “Pinin” Farina, who was apparently so pleased with the outcome of his company’s design that he had to have an example for his own personal use.

Finished in metallic gray with black leather interior, 5167GT was in Virginia during the 1970s and Connecticut during the 1980s. In 1987, it was acquired by the current owner and exported back to Italy. He has owned the car for a remarkable 25 years.

Shortly after its purchase, 5167GT was treated to a full, body-off restoration, and the car was finished in black with a cream leather interior. Ferrari specialists in Milan rebuilt the V12 engine, a specialist in Monza performed the bodywork, and the interior work was entrusted to Selleria Luppi of Modena. During the restoration, a brand-new set of Borrani wire wheels was fitted to the car. The owner intended to use the car at Ferrari Club events. However, due to a lack of time, the car was used only sparingly on weekends. Since the restoration was completed, the car has been driven only about 5,592 miles.

Recently, the owner decided to return 5167GT to its original exterior color of Grigio Metallizzato. It was given a bare-metal refinish, with all chrome re-plated. All of the suspension and brake components were recently rebuilt and restored. Approximately 800 man-hours were invested. Photographs of recent work are contained within the car’s history file.

It comes complete with copies of the original Ferrari build sheets and is confirmed to be a matching-numbers car. Offered from long-term single ownership of a quarter-century and having formed part of a small but high-quality collection, this is a tremendously attractive opportunity for Ferraristi.

{analysis}{auto}2907{/auto}This car, Lot 214, sold for $784,392, including buyer’s premium, at RM’s London Auction on October 26, 2011.

There was a time when vintage Ferraris weren’t the highly sought-after commodity that they are today. Contrary to the perception that all early Ferraris are virgins that have never been driven uphill or in the rain, many of today’s multimillion-dollar stars were once just clapped-out race cars or used-up street cars. Rotted-out bodies and severely smoking engines were once commonplace, and yes, some vintage Ferraris have actually been in accidents.

Not that many years ago, many older Ferraris needed more repairs than they were worth. Fortunately for the marque, early Ferrari enthusiasts, such as Dick Merritt on the East Coast and Ed Niles in California, saw value in old Ferraris. They tracked down Ferraris around the country and passed them to new owners — some who barely knew what they were buying, as they had never seen a Ferrari other than pictures in a magazine.

Merritt also tracked down missing engines, squirreled away parts, wrote books on the marque and helped found the Ferrari Club of America. Dick’s work, along with that of his friends, laid the foundation of today’s Ferrari hobby.

Deciphering restoration costs

RM’s write-up of 5167GT, like most auction descriptions, references the restorers of the car. Most of the early Ferraris have been refurbished — if not fully restored. A quality paint job today starts around $10,000. A Pebble-Beach-quality restoration of an old Ferrari can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. When looking at old Ferraris, the details of the restoration should never be overlooked.

Sellers love to brag about the time and money they spent on a restoration, but neither time nor money guarantees a good job. Overly long restorations are usually due to the customer’s inability to pay — or an inexperienced shop getting in over their head. Extremely expensive restorations are often the result of poor planning or the condition of the subject car. The location of the restoration is not a guarantee of quality. “Restored in Detroit” doesn’t make a Mustang any better than one restored in Portland, OR. Likewise, a Ferrari restored in Modena may not be any better than one restored in Brazil.

Proven restoration shops become brands. A Fran Roxas Duesenberg, a Gary Bobileff Miura or a Paul Russell anything says more about a restoration than any reference to time or money. Sellers tend to embellish the thoroughness of a restoration. Restoration shops do everything from accident repair to full restoration. Just because the shop made a car shiny doesn’t mean they made it run. You can’t repair a smoking engine by painting it. It’s a good idea to examine the restoration bills to see what was really done.

It’s interesting that the subject Lusso notes work done at three facilities — but names only one. Selleria Luppi of Modena has a long history of doing Ferrari interior work. You can be sure any work Luppi did is top quality. As for the other work, a close inspection is warranted.

A hot market for twelve cylinders

August 16, 2007, is a holy day for Lusso owners. That’s the day a chestnut brown 1963 Ferrari Lusso once belonging to Steve McQueen sold for $2,310,000 at Christie’s Monterey Jet Center auction. Optimism abounded among owners that their half-million-dollar Lusso would soon command that same kind of money. While a nod has to be given to the exceptional restoration of the McQueen Lusso, the lottery winnings came from the former owner’s celebrity rather than the car’s real value.

SCM’s Platinum Auction Database documents Lusso sales from a low of $632,000 to a high of $907,000 in 2011. RM estimated our subject Lusso at $635,000 to $765,000. The $775,150 sale price was just over the top estimate — but not out of line with today’s values.

Front-engine, 12-cylinder Ferraris are hot. There are few on the market, and those that are offered are priced just more than the last one sold for. The seller had no reason to complain about his sale, and the buyer should be pleased with a great car and a good investment.

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