Vintage Ferrari's from the 1950's through 1960's have established a high value at some of the more sophisticated auctions held in the past decades. While there have been several of the 1960's GTB models going for between $26 to more than $27 million each, the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti was auctioned for an incredible $37.5 million, beating the newer editions by some ten million, which is a fortune of a difference. What makes the older Italian dream car so valuable? We looked into the history of this iconic vehicle and here is what we learned.
The history of the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti
This highly prized collector's car was the design genius of Carrozzeria Saglietti and it was produced in 1957. There were just four total ever made and one of them was made through the conversion from a 315 S model. The 335 S featured a two seater spider body style with a 4.0 liter Jano V12 engine that generated 390 horsepower. This car succeeded the Ferrari 315 S and was succeded by the 250 TR. It was Ferrari's answer to its competition the Maserati 450S. This vehicle has a racing history with some successes and failures, but it made a lasting impression in the world of racing and has gone down into the pages of history for the brand as well as within the racing industry of the late 1950s era
The 335 S Racing pedigree
The first famous racer to get behind the wheel of a 335S was peter Collins British racer along with Maurice Trintignant of France. They teamed up in the Sebring 12 Hours race in 1957, followed by an appearance at the Mille Miglia the same year driven by Wolfgang von Trips who took second place. In 1958, the car made the first lap of the Le Mans 24 Hours race in less than four minutes, but wasn't a winner as it suffered catastrophic engine failure later in the race, but it redeemed itself at the Cuba Grand Prix race the same year winning for driver Stirling Moss. The 335 S achieved a top speed of 186 mpg which was considered to be astronomical for the era.
Why the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti is valued so high
As of 2016, Time.com proclaimed this vehicle to be the "most expensive car ever sold at auction" . If you're wondering what makes this such a valuable collectible, there are a few different elements which factor into the ultimate worth of the car. We begin with the fact that it is a Ferrari, but not just any production model. There were only four examples of this car that were ever built in the history of the brand. In addition to this, and to add to the rarity of the car, only three were made the same way as one was a rebuilt of another model. This example has been compared to some of the most exquisite works of art on the planet. With regards to form and function, the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti excels in both aspects which adds to the inherent value of the vehicle. Another element is the historical significance. This car is a pedigreed racer, driven by Mike Hawthorne, British Formula 1 champion and his contemporary Stirling Moss, which further increases the value.
The back story of the $37.5 Million Ferrari
After making an appearance at the Venezuela Grand Prix as well as the Swedish Grand Prix, is was sold to an American importer. In 1958, this car was imported to a New York importer where it was put up for sale. It was picked up by Pierre Bardinon, a car collector from France in 1970, after he placed the winning bid of the equivalent of $37.5 million from Artcurial auction and the car remains a part of Mr. Bardinon's private collection .This seems to be a fit resting place for a car that has worked hard doing its job as a race car driven by some of the most notable professional race car drivers in the world. A prestigious car driven by the masters of their sport and it's now in a protected environment to preserve the vintage collectible for the pleasure of its current owner as well as for the future generations to come. When compared with some of the 1960s models such as those variants found in the 275 class, the value for the 1957 335 S far exceeds those models, partially because it is a rarer example, and it has perhaps left a larger footprint in the racing world.
We've seen many breathtaking vintage Ferrari's sell at auction for prices into the twenties of millions, but the 335 S has surpassed them all. It has the distinct advantage of being one of just our ever built, which gives it an edge on the rareness scale. It's an important part of racing history that dates back to the pre-1960 era, which is yet another boon. This car has a rich and storied past as a contender in multiple high stakes races, and it has been driven by some of the greatest drivers in the world, but its racing days were short lived and it was soon replaced. It still achieved some remarkable speeds and it did win a few races in its day. This is one of those very special collectibles with a value that is determined by a few standard factors such as age, rarity, and historical significance, with big check marks beside each. The other element which has made this car worth a massive fortune is more in the inherent value that the collector saw in this car. Passion and discrimination in the buyer, a little competition in the bidding war and a strong desire for ownership are what helped to drive the final selling price so high.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson