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Famous Ferrari sold

Sought after: Ferrari's 250 GT SWB California set a new auction price record.

Ferrari's original California Spider fetches record $11 million at Maranello auction

23 May 2008

JUST one week after Ferrari revealed first photos and details of its new California roadster, an original 1960s model has sold at Maranello in Italy for more than $11 million – double the pre-auction estimate.

The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California was owned for many years by Hollywood actor James Coburn and is one of Ferrari’s best-loved models, with a 3.0-litre V12 single-cam engine mounted under the bonnet.

It was bought by British broadcaster Chris Evans and auctioneers RM Auctions say it was the highest price ever paid for a car at auction.

Original estimates for the car were between Euro 3.2 and 3.6 million, but when the hammer came down the winning bid was an incredible Euro 7.04 million ($11,577,000).

Almost 50 new and historic Ferraris, including three Formula One cars, went under the hammer at the Ferrari Legend and Passion auction held at the factory’s Fiorano test track near the famed Prancing Horse factory.

Another star performer was a 1964 250 LM, a mid-engined ex-racing car that was raced by Austrian former world champion Jochen Rindt to victory in his national Grand Prix, which sold for Euro 4.51 million ($7.42m).

However, there was less interest in the F1 cars, with only an ex-Gerhard Berger 1987 model F1/87 selling, for a relatively modest Euro 247,500 ($407,000), while two others were passed in – a 1995 ex-Jean Alesi 412 T2 at Euro 400,000 and a 2000 ex-Michael Schumacher race-winning F1-2000 at Euro 800,000.

 center imageLeft: 2008 Ferrari California.

An autographed Kimi Raikkonen race suit from his 2007 title-winning season, however, sold for Euro 11,000 ($18,100).

Of the more modern road cars, a 2008 612 Scaglietti sold for Euro 220,000 ($362,000) and the proceeds went to an Indian charity for disadvantaged children while a 2001 550 Barchetta went for Euro 135,000 ($222,000) and a 2004 Enzo sold at Euro 852,500 ($1.4m).

A 1971 Daytona Spider sold for Euro 962,500 ($1.58m) but a 1973 coupe failed to gain interest and was passed in at just Euro 280,000.

Italian styling house Pininfarina is responsible for both the 1961 Ferrari California and its modern 2008 reincarnation, which is the subject of its own website that attracted 300,000 visitors in its first week online according to Ferrari.

James Coburn acted alongside the legendary Steve McQueen a number of times between 1959 and 1963 – including the iconic movies “The Magnificent Seven” and “The Great Escape” – and became good friends with the noted car enthusiast, which led to him buying the Ferrari California in 1964.

Only 56 short-wheelbase California Spiders were created by body builder Scaglietti and Oscar-winner Coburn’s black car (chassis 13) was maintained by LA racing identity Max Balchowsky, whose Hollywood Motors also looked after cars for McQueen, James Garner and James Dean.

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