May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Ferraris led by a 625 TRC Spider took the top three lots in a $41.8 million auction as the Italian maker continues to attract classic-car investors.
The Spider, raced in California during the 1950s, was one of 22 classic Ferraris offered by RM Auctions in Monaco in a two-day weekend event. It sold for 5 million euros ($6.5 million) including fees to a telephone buyer against multiple underbidders.
Ferrari SpA remains the top brand for both established collectors and wealthy individuals looking to diversify their investments. New buyers appreciate the security of a big carmaker that still exists, said dealers.
“Ferrari trumps all other names in terms of prestige and liquidity,” the Geneva-based auto adviser Simon Kidston said in an interview before the sale. “If you have a good car that’s priced correctly, you can find a buyer within hours.”
The 1957 V-12 had been purchased new in 1957 by the West Coast-based Ferrari dealer and racer John van Neumann. Restored in the 1980s, after losing its original engine, the car had been valued at 3 million euros to 3.7 million euros in an event timed to coincide with the biannual Grand Prix de Monaco Historique.
The auction, featuring 94 cars, raised 32.4 million euros, slightly below the 33 million euros achieved at the company’s inaugural event in 2010, RM said. The event had a sell-through rate of 87 percent by volume, said the Canadian-based company.
Among other “prancing horse” classics to sell, a 1966 Ferrari 206 S Dino Spyder and a 225 Sport Spyder “Tuboscocca,” dating from 1952, each made 2.5 million euros.
A works Formula One car that had been raced by Michael Schumacher in the 2000 Austrian Grand Prix went for 806,400 euros. It had been valued at as much as 850,000 euros and had been raced in the Austrian Grand Prix in 2000, when it retired on the first lap following a collision.
The most highly estimated Ferrari was a 375 MM Spider dating from 1953 that had been successfully raced in Argentina in the mid-1950s and more recently in the Mille Miglia Storica. Estimated at 3.3 million euros to 4.1 million euros, it failed to sell. Dealers said it was not entirely fresh to the market.
A Timossi-Ferrari “Arno XI” hydroplane, which set a world speed record in its class of 241.7 kilometers an hour (150 miles per hour) in 1953, had generated headlines about “my other Ferrari’s a boat.” Even so, it also struggled to attract bidders. It sold for 868,000 euros against a low estimate of 1 million euros.
The unusually large entry of Ferraris was partly a consequence of RM no longer holding sales at the Italian maker’s headquarters at Maranello -- and owners’ willingness to offer cars in a rising market, said dealers.
A Ferrari GTO, one of 36 produced in 1962 to 1963, was bought this year in a private transaction in the U.K. for about $32 million, the second highest price ever paid for a classic car.
Prices for classic Ferraris increased 4.82 percent in the first quarter of 2012, according to data compiled by the London-based Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI).
(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
Today’s Muse highlights include Lance Esplund on art and Elin McCoy on wine.
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