|Vehicle:||1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast|
|Original List Price:||$29,300|
|Tune Up Cost:||$3,000|
|Distributor Caps:||$450 (two required)|
|Chassis Number Location:||Left frame member by steering box|
|Engine Number Location:||Right rear above motor mount|
|Club Info:||Ferrari Club of America PO Box 720597 Atlanta, GA 30358|
This car sold for $814,000, including buyer’s premium, at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island Auction on March 12, 2010, against a pre-sale estimate of $800,000-$1,000,000.
Writing about Ferrari’s Superfast series usually involves describing the car’s chronological position in Ferrari production and then comparing its technical specifications to other Ferraris of the time. A few sentences are dedicated to the famous people who owned them and a few more to what a great car they are. Unfortunately, discussing the Superfast within the context of other Ferraris sells short its virtues and misses the point that while they weren’t great Ferrari race cars, they are in the rarified air of being one of the greatest grand touring cars ever built.
The Ferrari for another stratosphere
The 1960s were without doubt the golden era for Ferrari. Ferrari race cars won trophies all over the world, and many of the production cars would become the highest-profile cars ever built. With models like the GTO, the California, and the Testa Rossa having a monopoly on Ferrari stardom, appreciating the 500 Superfast’s place in automobile history requires a look outside the Ferrari world.
Starting with the earliest automobiles, there have been models which have risen above the crowd. Cars like the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the Duesenberg SJ, the Bugatti Type 57 Atalante, the Bentley R-type Continental, and the Mercedes-Benz 540K stood alone in their class as cars built for a clientele which strived for and could afford the best. Their coachbuilt bodies were often built with details so laborious that the result is as much art as automobile. Their performance was top of the field, effortlessly exceeding their contemporaries. They were automobiles built to fulfill imagination, with little compromise to expense. The Superfast belongs in this company and should be judged with these peers. It was never intended to out-race an LM; it was designed to humiliate the driver of an Aston Martin.
Superfasts trade in a thin market
Despite the Superfast’s qualifications, they can be a tough sell. As cars get more valuable, they are more likely to be collected than driven. Factors like beauty, racing history, and celebrity trump comfort and drivability as extra zeros are added to the price. Race cars and convertibles-the least practical of a series-almost always have the greatest appreciation. So many Ferraris glitter with race history and celebrity status that it takes a seasoned collector to appreciate the Superfast.
A rule of thumb puts a Superfast’s value about par with a 275 GTB/4. Superfast 6049SA had a pre-sale estimate that more or less proves the rule. So why did this example barely break the $800k mark? There’s an old saying that everybody who wants a Superfast has one. and it’s not far from the mark. At any given time there may only be one serious buyer in the market, and it takes two to make an auction. Additionally, this car was apparently still on British papers. The buyer could be subject to duties, fees, and unforeseen problems if he imported the car to anywhere but the U.K. A lien or other legal issue can always pop up to ruin the day. Another possible reason was that while the engine and chassis number matched, there was a “spare” Superfast engine with the same number offered for sale a few years back. Comparing the subject engine’s internal numbers to the build sheet reveals that the engine in the car matches the build sheet and the “spare” doesn’t, but the cloud will continue until some misinformation on the Internet is corrected. Chances are the buyer probably was in the right place at the right time, but he took a calculated risk.
There may not be a more famous 500 Superfast than this one, though. Mention Superfast customers, and the Aga Kahn’s name comes up. This being his car gives it immediate celebrity. Pierre Bardinon’s name also carries a lot of weight, and a car from his collection comes with its own pedigree.
With luck the duty issues should be incidental, and the engine issue shouldn’t take much to clean up. It appears the buyer got a high-end Superfast for entry-level money. He certainly got a car to be proud of, and with luck, he has one with upside potential.