It was an auction that garnered plenty of applause. And that was not all—it was for a car that will also go down in history as one of the most expensive road cars ever sold at an auction. The star of the show was a 1967 Ferrari that went up for auction on August 18 in California.
What’s so special about the car?
The Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder is one of only ten of its kind ever made. Eddie Smith Sr., a millionaire and former mayor of Lexington, North Carolina, took delivery of the rare red beauty in 1968. Apparently, he bought the car for everyday use. And drive he did; including taking the kids for a ride just to share the experience!
Eddie Sr. originally bought the car for $14,500. It was driven for 45 years before it was stowed away, or rather “kept in prison” as Eddie Jr. stated. Eddie Jr. decided to sell the car because it wasn’t being used as much as his late father would have liked. He announced the money from sale will go to local charities in Lexington besides the family foundation.
The sale opened at $10 million, and in the very first bid it was pushed to $16 million. As the price shot up, the cheers got louder. Among a lot of applauding, the final gavel fell at $27.5 million, including commission! The car boasted of a single-family ownership, which boosted its value. The only other car that has been sold at an auction for more is the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 race car, which went for $29.6 million at a UK auction earlier this year.
The new owner
Although the name of the new owner was not officially announced, it is believed the rare Ferrari was purchased by billionaire Canadian fashion entrepreneur Lawrence Stroll.
As rare as rare can get
The Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder was made on the insistence of Luigi Chinetti, the former race car driver, who was Ferrari’s North American Importer in the 1960s. Chinetti spotted a 275 GTB/4 at the Paris Motor Show, which impelled him to ponder over the need for a substitute to the luxurious 330 GTS. It took a lot of convincing before Ferrari relented and spoke to Sergio Scaglietti who manufactured the 275 bodies.
Eventually, Ferrari’s own NART Spyder was manufactured. It was named after Chinetti’s North American Racing Team (NART) that contested all the top races in the US and abroad. However, instead of the 25 cars that he ordered, only 10 were shipped to Chinetti,
No additional bracing was introduced with the 275 NART Spyder, despite the chassis’s reliance on the aluminum body for rigidity.
Chinetti put the cars into race duty as soon as he laid his hands on them. But despite the promotion efforts, he had a hard time selling the cars, which finally had to go out on a significant discount. All the cars were sold through his eastern USA dealership.
The 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder that belonged to Eddie Sr. was repainted to resale red from its original Azzurro Metallizzato. This fully-restored rare car came with matching numbers as well.
About the Author
Drew Yagodnik is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.