Ferrari brand sports cars occupy a special place in the marketplace and within the community of rare collectibles enthusiasts. Every now and then a very special model surfaces in the marketplace and it usually results in quite the buzz, stimulating an interest in every detail about the condition, history, significance, aesthetics and probably somewhere in the middle of priorities, the monetary value. For the purists who don’t consider money an issue, the bidding wars begin. Such was the case with the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione which was auctioned at the pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It’s significance in history undisputed and it’s value at auction proven to be $18 million. This is one example of Ferrari’s vintage masterpieces that is worthy of a closer look to satisfy our curiosity about what factors conspire to make this car worth millions.
Is it really worth $18 Million?
This is a question that has been asked repeatedly, even from Ferrari buffs who carry on a love affair with the brand. It’s a fortune, of this there is no doubt, but beauty as well as value is truly in the eye of the beholder. Any collectible is worth what an individual is willing to pay for it period, but this example has some compelling, extra special attributes that really need to be explored to understand why there are some who would pay up to $18 million for the privilege of ownership.
The true significance of the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione
What makes this car special enough to fetch a price of $18 million? If you’re no into Ferrari’s or don’t have a working knowledge of the history of the brand then it might not be much to look at, but for those who know what creates uniqueness and value in a collectible automobile get excited.
The Ferrari branding
We begin with the fact that it’s a Ferrari, so that gives the car prestige and status and it’s the foundation upon which the value is built. Just the name alone is enough to suggest high value because of the reputation of the high end automakers. It’s an early Italian sportscar, and Ferrari’s maintain the habit of building cars that are crazy fast from their founding models to the present.
The second critical factor is that it’s in “pristine” condition, according to The Drive, this vehicle cannot be listed as being in ‘mint’ condition because it underwent a restoration in 2013, eliminating the possibility of such qualification. This makes us wonder what the selling price would have been had it been a ‘mint’ vehicle on top of its other attributes.
The rarity of the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione
A factor that drives the significance over the top is that it is extremely rare with a historical significance for Ferrari. It’s a street legal race car that competed at the Sebring 12 hours and finished in fifth place, thanks of its powerful engine, the Tipo 168, according to Topspeed , there are not many of these cars available. It’s not something that you can just go out and purchase. It’s a highly prized collectible car and for this example, the bidder who was willing to pay the highest price became the new owner.
Unique construction and historical significance
The 1959 California Spider has satisfied the requirements for high valuation by experts with its racing history, the fact that it’s a vintage vehicle and on top of this, it features a unique build. This example has an aluminum construction, which makes it a very rare specimen, also adding to its significance in the history of automaking . Experts rate a vehicle on its rarity considering a number of factors, including those we’ve already stated. The Sotheby’s team estimated that this vehicle would carry a value of $14 million, but they were off by a cool $4 million because there was somebody out there who gave it a little more credit than that. This is a model that set a precedent for the brand and it’s one that other automakers took inspiration from. The 1959 California Spider in the spotlight has had a major impact upon Ferrari design, the automotive industry as a whole, and upon the collectors who now have something of great value to wage bidding wars upon.
Worth $18 Million?
There is much more about the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione that meets the eye. It’s very much a snapshot in time in the history of Ferrari. The car shows the forward progression and innovation of the automaker as they continued to build faster, then more attractive high end sports cars. The move to make them street legal was an issue that they worked hard to resolve. This exceptional specimen has survived for sixty years, albeit restored within the past decade. Some fail to see the value while others would give a fortune to call it their own. The monetary value is one thing and from a business perspective, it’s a good investment on a collectible that in all likelihood will maintain its value or even increase in the years to come.
What is perhaps even more important is the historical significance for those who follow Ferrari and other sports car histories and the innovations that have led to the evolution of a model, a brand, and the industry overall. It is this pivotal time in the development of automaking that has helped us to arrive where we are today. This is why we place such high value on such items from the past. It’s more about what the car signifies and its unique place in history than about the dollar amount, at least for those purists who are fascinated with the progress we’ve made in fine racing machines that we can also drive down the street.