“We chose to call this model LaFerrari because it is the finest expression of our company’s unique, unparalleled engineering and design know-how, including that acquired in Formula One.”
This is how Chairman Luca di Montezemolo summarized the successor to the Enzo when it was launched at the Geneva Salon in March 2013. He planned a 499-car production run. One more car — the 500th — has been added, and will be auctioned to benefit Italian earthquake victims.
A “green” hybrid Kinetic Energy Recovery System, which had appeared on F1 cars in 2009, supplemented the naturally aspirated 6.3-liter V12, which could put out some 788 hp. The KERS system not only provides reductions in emissions and fuel consumption, but also gives a tremendous performance boost equal to another 161 hp.
Each time Ferrari has elected to produce the ultimate sports car, they have produced something totally out of the box. As nothing had prepared the world for the looks of an F40 or Enzo, the statement made by LaFerrari had to match that. The exquisite design is both striking and modern, yet gives nods to the brand heritage.
Only 120 LaFerraris were sold to the U.S. market. A mere 230 miles have been covered in this car. It remains on factory warranty and carries no restrictions.
|Vehicle:||2014 Ferrari LaFerrari|
|Original List Price:||$1,420,112|
|SCM Valuation:||Median to date, $2,700,000; high sale, $4,700,000|
|Tune Up Cost:||$5,000 (estimated)|
|Chassis Number Location:||Under passenger’s side removable floor mat|
|Engine Number Location:||Bottom of the crankcase near the flywheel|
|Club Info:||Ferrari Club of America|
|Alternatives:||2015 McLaren P1, 2015 Porsche 918 Spider, 2017 Acura NSX|
This car, Lot 95, sold for $3,685,000, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge auction in Carmel, CA, on August 19, 2016.
You can’t just walk into a Ferrari dealer, stroke a check and buy a new car. Most new models have multi-year wait lists, and even getting on one of those lists is a dance.
Ferrari strongly encourages dealers to sell new cars at list price, so if you get one, you probably can immediately sell it for a profit that ranges from a few thousand dollars on an aging model to over seven figures on a new supercar. But in the Ferrari world, doing so can cost you.
Ferrari and their dealers aren’t benevolent souls who like to give away money. Dealers reward their best customers with new cars, and dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars racing in Ferrari’s Challenge series is the kind of thing that makes you a good customer. Buying pre-owned Ferraris from your dealership is good too. Financing your purchase through Ferrari Financial gets you some points. Selling your car to the dealer at a favorable price can also get you some love. But reselling your new car at a profit on the secondary market is a no-no that all but guarantees you’re not getting back on the list.
Some strings attached
Getting a Ferrari supercar is a tougher game. You’re not getting a supercar by buying that awful-color California that just won’t sell. The supercars are built in limited quantities, so the demand for them far outweighs the supply. Ferrari is especially serious about putting their supercars in the right hands, and the vetting process can rattle even the most self-confident billionaire.
Prospects must apply for the honor of writing that million-dollar check. The application asks about the Ferraris that the prospect currently owns, what they owned in the past, how they use them, and some personal information as a potential tiebreaker.
Ferrari scores the application, and a lucky few applicants are then allocated a car. Ford used a similar process to award their new Ford GT, and they reportedly got 7,000 applications for their 500 cars.
Not everyone takes it well if they are not picked. A Ford GT applicant posted a YouTube video to express his displeasure, and a LaFerrari Spider (Aperta) hopeful has gone as far as suing Ferrari for damaging his reputation by not allocating him a car.
If you were lucky enough to get a LaFerrari, you had to agree to hold the car 18 months or sell it back to the dealer for no more than list price. Of course, with a million dollars or more on the line, enterprising owners found ways to covertly pass their LaFerraris to new owners. Elaborate agreements were made that hid transfers often by technically maintaining ownership until the embargo term was up.
The LaFerrari is truly an engineering masterpiece — the first road Ferrari to take advantage of hybrid F1 technology.
When Formula One switched to hybrid cars, the intention was that the environmental technology would trickle down to street cars. The jury is still out on if it will be a long-term success, but the current results are certainly thrilling. It’s the maintenance side that causes concern.
The hybrid interface is exceptionally complicated and the hardware is unproven. And let’s not forget that Ferrari mechanics are mere mortals, and expecting them to understand state-of-the-art F1 electronics is a bit of a stretch. Plug-in diagnostics make servicing easier, but fixing a serious bug could be a nightmare.
Hardware is an even bigger if. When a part like an ECU for a 550 Maranello is not available anywhere in the world, it takes a leap of faith to believe that hybrid interface components for a LaFerrari will be available 15 years forward.
On the market
Bonhams’ LaFerrari was advertised as the first LaFerrari offered at auction. They were correct but only beat the second one by a day. These were the start of a wave of LaFerraris that will hit the market as embargos expire. One online listing site now shows three for sale in the U.S. Another site shows six available in Europe.
Bonhams’ LaFerrari had been advertised for sale on a dealer’s website prior to the auction. Then, the car had 50 fewer miles than it had at the auction and was priced at $4,250,000.
Earning $3,685,000 for a two-year-old $1,400,000-list-price car should have been the story of Monterey week, but the glow faded fast. Across town and a day later, Mecum drew an astronomical $5,170,000 for another LaFerrari at their auction. The only significant difference was a matte black paint job on the Mecum car. Just three LaFerraris were painted that color, and there must have been two very rich people who loved it, as the premium paid over the Bonhams car would buy a very nice yacht.
There’s no right or wrong price for a LaFerrari right now. Supply is limited, and if you have to have one, your only choice is to pay whatever the seller is asking. Long term, I suspect prices will go the way of the early F40s, which initially sold for almost four times list price but soon settled at a much lower level.
Time will tell, but for now, call this a market-level deal. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)