Tom Gidden ©2021, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Perhaps more than any other automaker, Ferrari has a tradition of building limited-production supercars that push the envelope of performance and design, while enriching the manufacturer’s cachet. From the competition-intended 288 GTO of the mid-1980s through the 40th anniversary F40 model, the F50 and the Enzo, these cars have served heritage commemorative purposes while reinforcing Maranello’s identity as a boutique company that builds nothing less than the finest money can buy. The heart of LaFerrari is a rear-placed, 6.3-liter V12 that was directly lifted from the developmental FXX model. With an absurd compression ratio of 13.5:1, the V12 develops 789 horsepower, redlining at a whopping 9,250 rpm. The 516 ft-lb of torque arrive relatively high, just shy of 7,000 rpm, so an electric motor derived from the company’s F1 car KERS technology was installed in the rear, adding 161 horsepower, most of which is tapped for use at lower rpms. Power is routed directly to the rear axle alone and shifting is accommodated by a 7-speed dual-clutch transaxle. This incredibly well-presented LaFerrari benefits from a life of doting care under just two ownerships while experiencing minimal driving use. The exterior was finished in Vinaccia while the interior was upholstered in specially ordered Pelle Chiodi Di Garofano, replicating colors used on two of the owner’s significant historic Ferraris. Retained by the original owner for a year or two, the LaFerrari was later acquired by the consignor, who imported the car to the United Kingdom with VAT and duties paid, and first registered it in May 2018. Since then, the Ferrari has lived a quiet life of controlled storage, and the odometer currently displays just 918 miles at the time of cataloging. Accompanied by a full set of color-matched luggage, a toolkit and owner’s manuals, the LaFerrari is documented with a full service history conducted by the authorized dealers Niki Hasler in Switzerland and Maranello Concessionaires in the U.K.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2016 Ferrari LaFerrari
Years Produced:2013–16
Number Produced:499
SCM Valuation:$2,947,500

This car, Lot 138, sold for $2,884,968 (£2,142,500), including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s London auction on November 6, 2021.

LaFerrari, “The Ferrari,” is a pretty ballsy name for Ferrari to give to one of its cars. It connotates the model is the best Ferrari ever. That says a lot, and if performance is the measurement, the LaFerrari lives up to its name.

The LaFerrari is faster than the majority of its buyers’ talents. It is as high-tech and exotic as practically possible. The driver virtually sits on the floor and pilots the car with a carbon-fiber steering wheel adorned with Formula One-style controls. It is a true hypercar, a rank above any past or current GT Ferrari.

The color of money

The record-high auction sale for a car built in the 21st century goes to a LaFerrari Aperta, which sold for roughly $10m. Ferrari built the car from its parts bin after the end of the regular production run and auctioned it for charity to benefit victims of a devastating Italian earthquake.

The circumstances of the auction added an asterisk to the record and muted the significance of the sale. Having the highest non-charity sale of a 21st-century car just does not have the same cachet. This was not even an interesting topic, at least not until this auction.

Someone noted that the circumstances of this auction could be the catalyst for an extraordinary result, and the automotive media machine took note. Several media outlets published blurbs with some referencing the 21st-century record.

“A LaFerrari with under 1,000 miles in a one-of-one color is a recipe for one of the biggest prices for a modern car at auction ever,” wrote Road & Track. “The few that have gone to auction already have sold in the $5 million to $10 million range, highlighted by the record-setting sale of the last LaFerrari Aperta in 2017. In the time since, the collector-car market has exploded at all levels… conditions are right for this like-new car with a one-of-one color and a story to break the LaFerrari’s own record for highest-ever sale at auction for a 21st-century car.”

This car did not, however, set a new record. It didn’t even set a record for a LaFerrari coupe, but that wasn’t unexpected. The reason a color is rare is often because few people liked it enough to order it. Vinaccia is the color of grape marc, the residue left after squashing grapes to make wine. Most references to this LaFerrari’s color note its rarity rather than its beauty. Attracting record money takes more than a rare color.

Expensive to buy and to own

The LaFerrari is a magnitude higher in performance than the Enzo that preceded it. Improvements in lap times around Ferrari’s Fiorano racetrack are usually celebrated in tenths of a second. The LaFerrari shattered the Enzo’s time by over five seconds!

In racing, the adage is, “How fast do you want to go? How much do you want to spend?” The original buy-in for the LaFerrari was not significantly more than the Enzo’s, but the upkeep will certainly be greater. The LaFerrari is a Formula One car for the street, with high tech from top to bottom. The shock absorbers are over $5,000 each, with a full page of the parts book dedicated to the system that controls them. Should you need a new steering wheel, that’s a $14,000 bill, and the list goes on.

Those numbers may not faze a buyer of a multimillion-dollar car, but others might. The HY-KERS propulsion system is made up of the internal-combustion engine, the main electric motor, an electronically controlled gearbox/differential, a second electric motor, a gaggle of sensors and ECUs, and two batteries. It is the batteries that will get your attention; they are maintenance items that will go bad with age.

The lesser of the two batteries is called the starter battery. It starts the engine and performs other functions. Ferrari North America’s current list price for the starter battery is just under $13,000. The main KERS battery is instrumental in performing LaFerrari magic. It is hand-built in Ferrari’s racing department. Ferrari North America’s current list for the KERS battery is a staggering $267,803.96. Installation is extra.

LaFerrari battery replacements will become unavoidable with age. The money may not be a barrier to buyers, but they will be looking for a financial concession for accepting the liability.

Sanely sold

If you are collecting the five aces — 288, F40, F50, Enzo and LaFerrari, you have no choice, you need a LaFerrari. If you just want a Ferrari supercar, an Enzo may be a better choice.

RM Sotheby’s estimated this LaFerrari to bring $3m to $3.4m. A $2.9m sale shows there is sanity in the market. Chassis 214218 was rare, unusual and a top-flight example, but the same can be said for most LaFerraris. The purchase price here is right on the money for this car. The seller can be disappointed that auction lightning did not strike, but the buyer paid a fair price. Everyone should be happy. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)

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