Maserati Fetches $685,000 as Demand Boosts Car Auction

A Maserati sold for $685,000 in Belgium, underlining booming demand for Italian classic cars after a record $52 million was paid for a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO.

The 1957 Maserati A6G/54GT coupe, estimated by Bonhams at 450,000 euros ($609,000) to 650,000 euros, had never been offered at auction before.

Maseratis have been chasing Ferraris for demand, and this one retained its original “Blue Ritratto” color scheme with chestnut leather trim. The car was one of just 21 with Allemano luxury coachbuilding and sold for 506,000 euros with fees to a bidder in the room.

A buyer is still being sought for a blue 212/250 Ferrari coupe also included in the inaugural Bonhams auction of classic cars at Knokke-Le-Zoute on Oct. 11. The event coincided with the seaside town’s annual Grand Prix Rally and Concours d’Elegance.

The most glamorous -- and valuable -- of Ferrari’s 250-series cars is the GTO, created in 1962 to compete at the Le Mans 24-Hour and other Grand-Touring car races. Fewer than 40 were produced from 1962 to 1964.

A red 1963 competition example, chassis number 5111, sold in a private transaction for $52 million, Bloomberg News reported on Oct. 3. The sale was further independently confirmed by the U.S.-based Ferrari history magazine, Cavallino, on Oct. 7.

The price is a 49 percent increase on the record for any auto, achieved last year for another 250 GTO. An apple-green version, made for the British race driver Stirling Moss, sold privately for a record $35 million, Bloomberg News reported in June 2012.

“There are a lot more billionaires around today,” said Robertson. “Classic Ferraris have become like Warhols and Picassos, and they’re fighting over them.”

Le Mans

This latest record-breaking GTO won the 1963 Tour de France road race with the French driver Jean Guichet at the wheel. It came second the following year. It was acquired by the Greenwich, Connecticut-based collector Paul Pappalardo in 1974. Pappalardo drove it in numerous historic races, including the 2002 Le Mans Classic.

The car was sold within the last six years to a Spanish collector identified by dealers as the Swiss-based businessman Jose Maria Aristrain, who inherited a Spanish steel producer that later became part of Luxembourg-based Arcelor. European steel-industry shares have tumbled 6.3 percent in 2013.

Aristrain didn’t respond to attempts by Bloomberg News to reach him through ArcelorMittal AMO Holding Switzerland AG in Zug.

Muse highlights include the London and New York weekend guides, Warwick Thompson on U.K. theater, Amanda Gordon’s Scene Last Night, Lewis Lapham on history, Jeremy Gerard on U.S. theater, and Greg Evans and Craig Seligman on movies.

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