The Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder that was once the world’s most expensive car is on the market again. Twelve years ago, the rare black open-topped V12 sports car became the very first car in history to sell for more than US$10 million when it fetched €7,040,000 (US$10,894,900) at an RM (now RM-Sotheby’s) auction held at Ferrari’s Maranello Formula One test track in Italy.
The car has a remarkable provenance, having been purchased by Hollywood actor James Coburn when he and Steve McQueen went into Brussels during the filming of blockbuster movie, The Great Escape.
Coburn purchased the car from the famed Garage Francorchamps within minutes of clapping eyes on it for the first time, and loved the car dearly for 25 years before selling it in 1986 when his health began to decline. It was subsequently shown by its new owner, Andrew Cohen of Beverly Hills, at the world famous Pebble Beach Concours on 23 August, 1992 where it won third in class, and then sold on to Bruce S. Lustman of Southport, CT in early 1994.
Lustman and his wife Sandy showed the car extensively during their first year of ownership, taking in the 1994 Cavallino Classic, the 1994 International Ferrari Concours in Monterey and the 1994 Concorso Italiano at The Quail. The couple then enjoyed the GT 250’s performance by campaigning it in the Colorado Grand annually for many years, plus numerous other prestige events.
As we reported in May 2008, the car was sold at auction to British media personality Chris Evans for a world record price, becoming the most valuable car in history for a short period of time. Evans took the car to London dealer Joe Macari for some remedial servicing following his purchase, and Macari appears to have been the car’s de facto minder ever since.
Evans showed the car at Salon Prive in 2008, taking out the people’s choice award, and it was also displayed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2008 and 2009.
Interestingly, the car that was the most valuable in the world just 12 years ago is now on the edge of the top 50 most valuable cars ever sold at auction, as 52 cars have now sold for more than eight figures.
Recently listed for sale on Joe Macari’s web site, no price is quoted for the car, and no indication has been given to the expectations of the seller.
Our expectation is that the car will sell for in excess of US$15 million, given that the record price for a California Spider now stands at the $18,465,000 (EUR16,288,000) fetched by movie star Alain Delon’s black 1961 California spider, which was also the world’s most valuable barnfind.
Since the sale of this car in 2008, seven California spiders have sold for more, and a similar number have sold at auction for less, but the remarkable provenance of this car and the fact it will not be subject to around 25 percent in auction fees will most likely see a figure somewhere between $15 and $20 million change hands.