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Bonhams Maranello Rosso Collection 2014 – Auction Report

Bonhams Maranello Rosso Auction, Quail Lodge, Carmel Valley, August 14, 2014

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $38,115,000

It has been a quarter century since a 250 GTO was offered publicly.

There was, therefore, considerable interest when Bonhams announced they had consigned 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3851 GT along with nine other Ferraris from the Maranello Rosso collection of Fabrizio Violati. Remarkably, all were offered without reserve.

‘Considerable interest’ is a considerable understatement. It was the talk of the Monterey peninsula with pretty much every conversation including the question, ‘What do you think the GTO will bring?’

Taking advantage of the event, Bonhams positioned the ten Maranello Rosso cars in a special session on Thursday afternoon. By timing it then it had no competition from other auctions, except Mecum, and they were closing down ‘The Daytime Auction’ by the 5PM start time at Bonhams. Most of the eyes in Monterey were intently focused on the Bonhams auction block at Quail Lodge.

Then there was a delay in the auction’s start. It was attributed to a (typical 5PM) traffic jam on Highway One heading south from Monterey to Carmel Valley. It may be a measure of the interest in the GTO and its Maranello Rosso stablemates that some registered bidders weren’t familiar with Monterey traffic, particularly the southbound lane drop passing Carmel-by-the-Sea which is always a nightmare.

Robert Brooks didn’t take my suggestion that Bonhams host an open bar during the delay.

The GTO was, somewhat inexplicably, the third of the ten Ferraris to run, but even after it sold most people waited for the anticlimax of the others, several of them cars of sufficient stature to be headliners at any other auction.

The marquee was packed, standing several rows deep and spilling outside where Bonhams had TV monitors displaying the auction. The delay damped enthusiasm a little but when the session concluded there was still plenty to talk about. Most of the cars were somewhat tired, having been displayed statically for many years at Maranello Rosso. Condition played a part in the results, as described below.

At the end of the day the Maranello Rosso segment was a social and commercial success, even without an eye-watering result for the GTO. It demonstrated that buyers still want good cars, but exercise restraint and good judgment.

Here are the overall numbers:

[table id=104 /]

Just to put that in perspective, $65 million is nearly as much as Bonhams sold at Quail Lodge in its three highest grossing auctions at this location combined.

It was quite a day.

Bonhams Maranello Rosso Collection 2014 – Auction Report

1969 Ferrari 206 GT Dino
Lot # 1 1969 Ferrari 206 GT Dino; S/N 00338; Engine # 0338; Amaranto/Black vinyl; Estimate $500,000 – $700,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $520,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $572,000. No Reserve. Cromodora Fiat wheels, Michelin X tires, woodrim steering wheel. – Scratched, dripped, cracked old repaint, sound original interior, weak trim chrome. Scratched windshield. Rear wheel arches cracked at the joints with the alloy body. Pleasingly original but visibly tired and aged. In the Violati Collection since the late 70’s, very original but also tired and cosmetically unappealing. – The first car of the one-day, ten-car auction of selected Ferrari lots from Fabrizio Violati’s Maranello Rosso collection that kicked off Monterey auction week in an intensely focused presentation. The Dino 206s have several defining attributes: limited production, free-revving 2-liter engines and lightweight alloy bodies, as well as being the first of the Dino progeny. Violati’s is one of the best of them, largely original with only limited cosmetic attention to keep it looking good, and it brought a superior price even among the seriously expensive values recently ascribed to later 2.4 liter Dino 246s. Expensive, but a car to be proud to own and continue to preserve.
1969 Ferrari 365 GTC
Lot # 2 1969 Ferrari 365 GTC, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 12655; Engine # 12655; Marrone Colorado/Beige leather; Estimate $750,000 – $1,000,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $780,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $858,000. No Reserve. Centerlock alloy wheels, Michelin XWX tires, Voxson 8-track stereo, P/W – Fair old repaint with masking holidays on door trim chrome. Lightly creased and soiled original upholstery. Loose driver’s vent window glass. Clean, dry original underbody. Right rear bumper polished through to the copper layer. Sound and usable but aged and used. Part of Fabrizio Violati’s Maranello Rosso Collection since the 1980’s, a typical museum-displayed car. – Appreciably more powerful than its predecessor, the 330 GT, and even more limited production, the 365 GTC is at the pinnacle of the highly appreciated GTC series. This example is no prize cosmetically, and probably needs extensive (and expensive) re-commissioning before it can be driven, not to mention attention to the sloppy repaint and erratic chrome’s condition. Balancing those challenges against its originality and exceptional provenance is a good basis for the price it realized, but by the time it’s ready to be brought back into the limelight, even on tours, it will represent an investment of significantly more and risks being priced out of other collectors’ value spectrum.
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta
Lot # 3 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta, Body by Scaglietti; S/N 3851GT; Engine # 3851GT; Red/Black; Estimate $30,000,000 – $40,000,000; Competition restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $34,650,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $38,115,000. No Reserve. OMP fire system, braced seatbacks, chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, 6.50M-15 Dunlop racing rear tires, braced rollbar, side outlet exhausts. – Ex-Jo Schlesser/Henri Oreiller, Paolo Colombo, Ernesto Prinoth, Fabrizio Violati. Fair old paint, worn interior. A used but well-maintained historic race car owned by Fabrizio Violati since 1965 and raced consistently since the 1970’s. Crashed by Henri Oreiller at Montlhery in 1962 with drastic results for both Oreiller and 3851GT. Returned to Ferrari and ‘rebuilt’, there is little doubt this is except perhaps for the engine and some mechanical parts a completely new 1963 GTO and not the car that finished second in the 1962 Tour de France or in which Oreillier received his fatal injuries, which is not to minimize the results achieved by the next owners, Paolo Colombo and Ernesto Prinoth in Italian hillclimb events, or Fabrizio Violati’s long record of historic event success. It’s a GTO. Enough said. – History is the most important element in a car’s value. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad. Most of the time it is unclear. The Violati GTO had all of those and in claiming the 1962 Tour de France second place for this 3851GT Bonhams also implicitly accepted its instrumentality in the death of Henri Oreiller at Montlhéry. In fact, it is to all intents and purposes a new GTO built in early 1963 using some of the (not insignificant) parts of the original 3851GT and willingly stamped with the old numbers by Ferrari to save the owner the new car purchase tax. Heavily modified to meet modern historic racing safety (and performance) standards by Fabrizio Violati, this is a driver’s GTO. It is described by Bonhams as going to an avid historic racer – which is its highest and best use. Widely speculated in the popular press to be a $50-70 million car, they ignored Bonhams reticence in favor of sensationalist presentation, and then came up disappointed with muted headlines. Still, it was where the attention of all the car enthusiasts in the world were focused at the inception of Monterey’s marathon of auctions, the bellwether of the strength of the collector car market. It returned a sober, realistic evaluation of 3851GT’s mixed history, present condition and application in pursuit of driving excitement. Bidding opened at $25 million and moved slowly from there, ending with auctioneer Robert Brooks coaxing $50,000 increments from two bidders, surpassingly small bumps on a base of $35 million. This is the real world: serious bidders who appreciated 3851GT’s pros and cons. Bonhams refrained from stating an estimate in the catalog to ‘assess the market’, then settled on $30-40 million at the beginning of Monterey week. They did their homework and hit the nail on the head with this mid-estimate result and set a realistic standard for the week’s coming auctions. No matter what else transpires, this is the most expensive car ever sold at auction, and it is a benchmark for considered, thoughtful, realistic valuations in the face of vast hype.
1978 Ferrari 312 T3 Formula 1
Lot # 4 1978 Ferrari 312 T3 Formula 1; S/N 033; Red, White/Blue; Estimate $1,500,000 – $2,000,000; Competition car, original as-raced, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $2,100,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $2,310,000. No Reserve. – Ex-Carlos Reutemann, Gilles Villeneuve 1978 British Grand Prix-winning, 1979 Race of Champions-winner. Dull, oxidized aluminum. shiny show car repaint. Pushed on to the block with the engine running. Needs restoration to be raced successfully or safely. – Just, simply, wicked awesome looking with its polished aluminum low front wing and carefully profiled rear wing sticking out the back, almost organic in its appearance and breathtaking in the sound of its flat 12 engine. There was more and quicker interest in this 312T3 than in the GTO, and the bids quickly reached and then surpassed the high estimate. The race winning history in the hands of Gilles Villeneuve is the stuff of legends and this car, after extensive mechanical attention, will be a thrilling historic GP ride. Expensive, but it induces heart palpitations.
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet SI, Body by Pinin Farina
Lot # 5 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet SI, Body by Pinin Farina; S/N 0759GT; Engine # 0759GT; White, White hardtop/Tan leather; Estimate $6,500,000 – $8,500,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $6,200,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $6,820,000. No Reserve. Painted spoke Borrani wire wheels, Pirelli Cinturato tires, fog lights, covered headlights, two tops. – 1957 Turin Show, Ex-Carlos Kauffman. Sound but old repaint, upholstery and chrome. Dull gauge faces and interior brightwork. Foggy gauge lenses. Old undercoat. A pretty car with unattractive front bumperettes and in neither original nor restored condition that will entail no small expense before it is ready to show.. but with moderate (in relation to the price) mechanical attention it can be driven and enjoyed even in its aged condition. – The problem with this car is that its protuberant bumperettes can’t be lost without also losing its historic accuracy. It’s sad, because without them it’s a handsome, subtle car. The price is all the money for its history and aged condition.
1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta
Lot # 6 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta, Body by Pinin Farina; S/N 0312MM; Engine # 312MM; White, Blue stripe/Dark Blue leather; Estimate $9,000,000 – $12,000,000; Competition restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $6,600,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $7,260,000. No Reserve. RHD. Silver painted wire wheels, Dunlop Racing tires, Marchal headlights, hood mounted clear air deflector. – Fair old repaint, worn but sound interior, good gauges. Clean, orderly engine compartment. An honest historic race car with very attractive coachwork. Ex-Bill Devin, Count Vittorio Zanon, multiple MM Storica participant with Violati and others. – The deal of the Maranello Rosso sale, a car of impeccable history, dramatic, aggressive coachwork and exciting performance. Never messed up and continuously maintained in largely original condition, this is a great value.
1968 Ferrari Dino 166/246T Formula 2/Tasman
Lot # 7 1968 Ferrari Dino 166/246T Formula 2/Tasman; S/N 0008; Red/Red cloth; Estimate $1,200,000 – $1,800,000; Competition car, original as-raced, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $1,100,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,210,000. No Reserve. Gold painted 5-spoke mag wheels, Firestone race tires, body mounted wing, slide throttle fuel injection. – Quickly painted for museum display. Wheels squirted gold over pits and oxidation. Mostly original except for the 2,000 lira paint job, including the tires which have been around for decades. Needs comprehensive attention before going where it belongs: on the track. Ex-Chris Amon, Brian Redman, ‘Tino’ Brambilla, Graeme Lawrence. Raced in 1.6 liter form in F2 by Amon, Redman and Brambilla. Back-to-back Tasman Championship-winner with 2.4 liter engine by Amon in 1969 and Lawrence in 1970. Bought by Fabrizio Violati’s Maranello Rosso collection from Pierre Bardinon’s Mas du Clos collection. A beautiful little car but unused for many years, probably since its acquisition in the early 80’s. – Can there a better way to race vintage formula cars? Great history, seductive, classic mid-engined Formula car appearance and great, championship-winning history? This little Dino has it all. After many years in Maranello Rosso it needs everything, but the reward will be a brilliant little racer with great handling, modest power and benign handling. It has many positive attributes, including the price it brought.
1981 Ferrari 512 BB/LM Bellancauto Le Mans Endurance
Lot # 8 1981 Ferrari 512 BB/LM Bellancauto Le Mans Endurance; S/N 35529; Engine # F102B009; Red, ‘Ferrarelle’/Black cloth; Estimate $1,200,000 – $1,600,000; Competition car, original as-raced, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $900,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $990,000. No Reserve. – Ex-Fabrizio Violati, Maurizio Flammini, Duilio Truffo, Marco Micangeli 1981 and 1984 Le Mans 24-Hours race, first in class at the Monza 1000km in 1981 but with no further exceptional results. Built for Fabrizio Violati on a factory BB/LM chassis to WEC specs. Appears to have sat since 1985 without even a repaint. Dirty and overlooked. – An intriguing but ultimately unsuccessful car, like most of its sibling BB/LMs, this is a car with more potential in historic racing than in its early life and it realized that potential in the price it brought here. It balances the two Le Mans appearances and the entre they open with its aged and neglected condition. This is a car that needs everything, but the same could be said of pretty much any BB/LM that hasn’t been raced in a few years. This result, despite the estimate range, should be seen as all the money for this BB/LM’s condition.
1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta Competizione
Lot # 9 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta Competizione; S/N 12765; Engine # 12765; Red/Black leather; Estimate $650,000 – $800,000; Competition car, original as-raced, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $850,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $935,000. No Reserve. No brake booster, fixed side windows with sliding toll/ventilation panels, low chin spoiler, fixed headlights behind clear covers, flared fenders, wide tires, rear brake ducts. – Built on a production Daytona to Group IV specs. Clean and orderly. Paint is new and underbody has been quickly resprayed. A serious-looking racecar, but without factory lineage and devoid of any race history except through conjecture. Impressively aggressive appearance. – A car bought on the basis if its commanding presence and performance potential, its condition is aged and neglected, but the car is positively evil in its presence, and that counts for a lot, if not this much money.
1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Speciale Aerodinamica, Body by Pininfarina
Lot # 10 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Speciale Aerodinamica, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 3615GT; Dark Blue/Beige leather; Estimate $4,000,000 – $7,000,000; Unrestored original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $6,250,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $6,875,000. No Reserve. Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Dunlop tires, P/W, grille-mounted Marchal driving lights. – Good original paint, chrome and interior. Paint is lightly scuffed and occasionally scraped or chipped. Non-original engine installed, but sold with its original engine, recently acquired to complete the equipe. Odd body with a Lusso open headlight nose and sleek coupe aerodinamica greenhouse and tail. Looks best from the rear 3/4. One of four in similar style. – The last car in Bonhams’ Maranello Rosso sale, and in many respects the most desirable with its SWB chassis and coupe aerodinamica coachwork by Pininfarina, a car of unusual distinction and style. Its desirability was substantially enhanced by offering it with its original engine, even though it was on a stand next to the car. Lack of significant early ownership is a weakness, and new collectors connect ‘SWB’ with the rounded, tightly packed regular production SWBs. They missed the boat on this choice example and it is a sound value at this price. The buyer should be very proud of the car and the price paid for it, including the two engines wrapped into the price.

[Source: Rick Carey]