After being imported from California in 1968, some mechanical work was done to this car and it was repainted. The present vendor purchased it in 1995 with 54,414 miles, and in 1998 spent $58,000 on the engine, chassis and a retrim of the interior. $34,500 was for rebuilding the engine, including replacement of both heads and rebuild to "un-leaded" specifications with all new valves, etc., as well as a re-bore and 12 new oversized pistons. Approximately $3,000 each was spent on brakes, suspension, exhaust, electrics, air conditioning and transaxle. Interior refurbishments were $4,000.

Thirty pages of invoices relating to its post-1988 servicing and refurbishment are available. Mileage is now 59,700. Black with matching leather interior and red carpets, this superb Ferrari Grand Routier is presented in very good condition in every respect.

{analysis} This GTC coupe sold for $71,435, including buyer's premium, at Bonhams' Olympia, London, auction on December 2, 2002. Richard Hudson-Evans, SCM's reporter, judged it 2+ condition with thick but unmarked pre-1995 repaint and with a new, slightly sat-in interior.

None other than Phil Hill and Paul Frère, separately, declared the GTC, in 1966, as one of the best GTs ever made, and over 600 left the factory between 1966 and '68. Even today, those who have owned many Ferraris proclaim the GTC to be the best driving of all the vintage V12s. Cheap by two-seat Ferrari standards, GTCs regularly change owners for $60,000 to $100,000.

Prices of GTCs bottomed in the mid-'70s, and long-term owners have enjoyed modest but not spectacular appreciation. I recall the warning that Mike Gorley, our service manager at FAF (the authorized dealer in Atlanta of which I was the majority owner) and a long-term GTC owner, gave me in 1977: "Better buy a GTC, they will be over $10,000 before the end of the year."

This car was previously sold at a 1995 auction for about $80,000. Assuming that the seller at Bonhams was the earlier purchaser of the car, he had gotten a firsthand education about the dangers of buying an older, newly painted, good-looking "exotic." Prior to his 1995 purchase, he probably realized that most 28-year-old cars that haven't been completely and competently restored have some critical components that need attention, such as worn valve guides, leaky rings, weeping water pumps, weak synchros, etc.

However, it's doubtful that he realized the full extent of his potential liability. From the figures in the catalog, it appears that he "invested" $127,000 in just the purchase and repair bills, and assuming a normal Bonhams 10% seller's commission, he netted about $56,000. So the 5,300 miles he drove cost approximately $71,000, or $13/mile. Which, by the way, makes our Editor's $1.76/mile cost for his recently-sold Mondial seem downright reasonable.

How do you avoid the fiscal immolation this hapless owner endured? First, remember that on any under-$100k 12-cylinder exotic, the three most important factors are condition, condition and condition. So if buying in a venue where you can't do a test drive or have your mechanic check out a car, do what the new owner did here: Buy an exotic with a fistful of repair invoices.

You will be much further ahead than if you buy a rat, even a handsome one, and fix it yourself. Why? Well, due to some unexplained law of economics, repairs are much cheaper if you buy them from the previous owner rather than your mechanic. Just as you don't get 100% of your money back for home improvements, so too with car restorations.

This particular car is a prime, although not unusual, example of how the market discounts repairs. The seller bought the car for $80,000, put in $58,000, and got back $56,000. The buyer, on the other hand, bought the car for less than the 1995 price and got all the repairs thrown in for free.

As the car has only covered 1,700 miles since the 1998 engine work, the new owner will probably have to adjust the valves, clean the carbs and fool with the advance weights in the distributors (that's plural). But even with all that, I would have to say he's going to come out just fine on this.

At $71,435, the new owner can put another $10,000 into this car for cosmetic enhancements without going under water.

Sometimes at auctions the forces of audience enthusiasm conspire to push a car to unexpectedly high prices. At other times, lack of the same, and, I would hazard to say in this case, a failing paint job leading to an unexciting visual presentation, means that someone got a good buy.

GTCs will never have the values or visual panache of their predecessor, the 275 GTB. But they are much more satisfying to drive. And this car appears to be ready to give its new owner quite a few good miles of motoring, and maybe even at a reasonable cost per mile. I hope the seller had a business use for his Ferrari so that he can at least use the loss as a write-off.-John Apen{/analysis}

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