When Enzo Ferrari first established his company, we can't help but wonder if he ever imagined the extreme value that some of his cars would bring in the next century to come. There have been several editions which have sold for unbelievably high amounts. There is a hot market for Vintage Ferraris and the more rare, the greater their worth on this market of enthusiasts and collectors who have millions in spare cash to spend just for the privilege of ownership. One such treasure is the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 N.A.R.T. Spider. In 2013, this car sold for an astounding $27.5 million at auction. This magnificent example of the workmanship and gusto of the brand deserves a closer look.
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 N.A.R. T. Spider
Some of the most expensive Ferrari's sold at auction have been the property of self-made millionaires who started out without much in the way of resources. Most of us are familiar with the Preston Henn collection 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale which was housed for two decades at the Swap Shop flea market owned by Henn until it was discovered after his death and auctioned for a price of $27.4 million. We find a similar history for the 1967 275 GTB/4NART Spider. Eddie Smith was the owner who grew up n an orphanage in the 1930s but worked his way up from ushering at a movie theater to owning his own business, the National Wholesale mail order service and making millions. He was a contemporary of Henn and the two were Ferrari enthusiasts who collected the rare versions of these vehicles. Both collectors passed away within a year or so of one another and their families auctioned off their prized Ferrari's and Eddie's came in just slightly above his friend Preston's.
The significance of Eddie Smith's 1967 275 GTB NART Spider
The NART is an acronym for North American Racing Team. This car was the second that he bought for his growing collection. As hard as it is to believe, this model wasn't a big seller. Ferrari initially planned to produce 25 in a limited production run, but when demand by the public was low, the manufacturer only made a total of 10 of them. This would help in establishing their rarity in the years to come. Smith purchased this vehicle in 1968 when it was just a year old. he made the purchase of the vehicle with a chassis number 10709 from fellow ultra-expensive Ferrari collector Luigi Chinetti who imported and sold the Spider to Smith. under his care, the spider was driven to watch Sebring race events and was repainted a red color in the 1980s, but it wasn't until after his passing that his son, Eddie Smith Jr. put the car through a total restoration with the removal of each part and a thoroughly professional job to preserve the integrity of the original vehicle
1968 was the same year that Steve McQueen totaled the sibling and he had an interest in Smith's but he wasn't about to part with it, not even for a superstar celebrity the like of McQueen . This vehicle had been stored in a garage that was specifically made to keep it protected from the elements although it was out of the sight of the public for the most part, unless the family was tooling about to see a race. Sadly, Mr. Smith passed away at the age of 88 years in 2007. The family had sentimental feelings about the vintage collectible Ferrari but they honored their father's memory by placing it for sale at RM Auctions at Pebble Beach in Monterrey. Eddie Smith Jr. gave an emotional introduction at the auction house that let everyone know what the car had meant to the family and that they were selling it with the hope it would go to a winner who would enjoy driving the car and letting others catch a glimpse of this rare and cherished collectible. The family donated proceeds from the sale of the vehicle to a variety of different charities in keeping with his father's philanthropic spirit.
An unexpected surprise
When the car was put up for sale, it was the expectation that it would sell for somewhere in the neighborhood of $14 to $17 million with bidding opened at $10 million. The response of collectors was to show up at the auction, filling the room to its capacity and most were prepared to pay a tidy sum for the rare Ferrari which had once been unpopular but was now one of the hottest commodities on the auction market. bidding ensued and the final selling price after the gavel drop at $25 million and fees was $27.5 million . A sibling of the 275 NART Spider appeared in "The Thomas Crown Affair" with actor Pierce Brosnan playing the lead role in 1968, according to a report issued by the New York Daily News.
When assessing the worth of these rare and beautiful Italian racing cars from the 1960s era, the inherent value is found through a variety of factors. The Ferrari brand is synonymous with speed, quality, and prestige. Then there is the story behind each of these iconic vehicles. The more we research, the more we're discovering that there was a cult following of Ferrari enthusiasts which linked the owners of these vintage cars in life and in death, their stories live on as we retell them after their most prized possessions have been auctioned to others who maintain the tradition of care and passion for their new acquisitions and the stories of these collectibles continues through a new generation, gaining yet more interesting facts to be added to their history sheets.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson