|1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica coupe
This car, Lot 232, sold for $1,815,000, including buyer’s premium, at RM’s auction in Phoenix, AZ, on January 20, 2012.
Spend an hour around Ferrari people and you’re bound hear a story or two.
Stories of the newer Ferraris tend to be about how fast they go, how much they cost, and whether they look good. If the conversation turns to vintage Ferraris, the stories turn to where they’ve been, who’s restored them and who owned them. The latter stories can be fascinating, and none are more so than the story of 0671SA.
Our subject car was built for Dr. Enrico Wax, whose fortune was made as an importer of Johnnie Walker whisky. He was known around the Ferrari factory for his taste in cars and for giving gifts of his product. He had commissioned two custom-built Maseratis in 1953 and 1954 before moving on to Ferraris.
In 1956, he approached Enzo Ferrari about ordering a special Ferrari. Enzo suggested that he might like a 410 Superamerica with a special body by Carrozzeria Scaglietti. An agreement was reached, and Scaglietti provided a spectacular 410 that slightly resembled a 250 Tour de France — but with a brushed stainless-steel roof, tailfins and rocker trim.
About 17 years later, eminent Ferrari collector Ed Niles responded to a 1973 Los Angeles Times ad for the car. Niles reported that the car came to California through an estate in Texas, and he passed on it because it was “smoking ferociously.”He also noted that the car did not resemble the pictures that he had seen of it. He later found out that Carrozzeria Boano had modified the car for a previous owner. Among other things, the nose had been elongated, covered headlights added, the stainless steel fins painted body color and the dash redesigned.
Stolen and stripped
Shortly after the car was advertised in the Times, it was reported stolen. Sightings of the famous car circulated throughout the Ferrari world, and it appeared to be somewhere in Oregon. The rumors reached the ear of Ferrari collector Greg Garrison. Garrison was the producer of the Dean Martin show and other popular television shows of the era. He had a passion for coachbuilt cars, and he set his sights on tracking down 0671SA.
He placed a want ad in every daily newspaper in Oregon. The ad featured a picture of 0671SA and offered a $1,000 donation to charity for information leading to the purchase of the car. Garrison hit pay dirt when a tipster revealed its location after $500 cash was added to the reward.
By the time Garrison got to the car, the thief had tried to disguise it by removing the body and interior and allegedly throwing those parts in a lake. The chassis with drivetrain had been sold to a farmer, who had plans to use it as some type of tractor. A deal with all involved parties was put together, and a few days later the chassis was on its way to Italy for restoration.
Mr. Garrison was a friend of the Ferrari factory and had produced a muscular dystrophy benefit that honored Dino Ferrari. The event raised $6 million for the charity, and shortly afterward, Garrison received a request to meet with Enzo Ferrari. At the meeting, Garrison showed Ferrari a picture of 0671SA and mentioned the car was in Italy, where it was to be restored.
A half hour later, Garrison was at lunch, when he was surprised by a delegation that included Sergio Scaglietti, who announced that they were at his disposal to complete the restoration of the car.
Restored to Pebble Beach splendor
The car was restored to its original configuration with Scaglietti’s assistance, and upon completion was returned to California, where it won its class at the Pebble Beach Concours four weeks later. The car remained a prized possession of Mr. Garrison until his death in 2005.
SCM’s Platinum database shows 0671SA selling at Gooding & Company’s 2007 Monterey auction for $1.3m.
The current configuration of 0671SA seems to be very authentic to the original, but it is understandable why a previous owner modified the car. The tail fins look like an afterthought, the center-mounted gauges are not practical, and the covered headlights were more attractive than the original open ones. Pictures of the original body show the tail fins and roof with a brush finish. However, they are engine-turned in the current configuration.
Early Ferraris are hot, and the nearly $500k jump that 0671SA made from 2007 to 2012 confirms the trend. 0671SA may be the most famous of all the 410 Superamericas, but it is not the most valuable.
The late Series III cars have a few refinements that give them a little extra favor in the marketplace, and our subject car’s rebody surely limits suitors.
At RM’s sale on January 20, the car sold slightly out of its estimate but still within reason. The seller got a few extra bucks, but the buyer didn’t overpay. There will always be collectors for coachbuilt Ferraris — and there are few cars to be had. This is a wonderful car with a great story. As coachbuilt Ferraris go, the buyer couldn’t do much better. Put this one in the well-bought column.