Held for the fifth time in 2002, Bonhams' annual Ferrari auction has grown out to be one of the highlights of the motoring calender. The location of the auction was the very exclusive 'Palace Hotel' in the Swiss Alp-town of Gstaad. The auction did not only include Ferrari cars, but also Ferrari Memorabilia and and a fine selection of jewelry and watches. All can be read about and viewed in our thirty shot slideshow
Most of the cars were carefully lined up in the underground garage of the hotel, except for the two 'star-cars', which were displayed in the hotel. The selected cars perfectly showcased the diversity of vehicles Ferrari has produced over the past 50+ years, ranging from the earliest still existing Ferrari to the limited edition Barchetta 550, produced in 2001. No less than five Daytonas were included.
The heart of the line-up was formed by a number of cars offered by one collector, including an early fixed head Daytona and a converted Daytona Spider. However the highlight of the offered collection was a 250 GT Lusso. Arguably one of the best looking Ferraris ever, this Lusso was in perfect condition throughout. Former owners include 1960s Formula 1 ace Jo Siffert.
Speaking of Formula 1, the auction also included an interesting collection of Ferrari F1 racers. The three are definitely not Ferrari's most successful designs, but each Formula 1 racer carrying the prancing horse badge is part of 'the legend'. Most remarkable is the 312 B3 'Spazzaneve', one of three different designs to carry the B3 name. The one-off Spazzaneve was designed along the lines of the very successful 312 PB sportscar; compact, with a wheel on each corner. It was tested in 1972 at Monza, but it didn't perform up to expectations and the project was scrapped. The 312 T5 included in the sale, was used in one of Ferrari's worst seasons, 1980; after dominating the 1979 season, picking up both the driver's and constructor's title, Ferrari only managed to score nine points in the next season with the T5.
Especially for families a nice selection of Ferrari's 2+2s was included. With two 250 GTEs, two 330 GT 2+2s and a 365 GT 2+2, the auction offered a complete pick of the 2+2s produced in the 1960s. An unique entry was a 'chopped' Ferrari 208 GT/4. This Bertone styled, wedge shaped four seater was only available as a coupe. It was later converted to convertible spec, the only one known to be 'chopped'.
Of the five Daytonas included, two really stood out. The first started life in 1972 as a 'regular' Daytona, but between 1982 and 1986 it was converted in the USA to 'competizione spec' by former NART engineer Francois Sicard. Recently tested in the workshop of Ferrari expert Piet Roelofs, the engine delivered an impressive 435bhp @ 7750 rpm. The second is a mint Daytona Spider. A genuine Daytona Spider is already a rare sight, but what really made it interesting, is its history. It was deliverd new, late in 1971, to American stuntman Evel Knievel, who, with 35 broken bones, is the Guinness record holder for most broken bones.
As mentioned before the two 'star cars' were displayed in the auction room of the hotel, together with the automobilia. The first was a Ghia bodied 375 MM. The 1955 Turin Motorshow showcar is finished in an unique color combination for a Ferrari; pink(!) over dark metallic grey. This, the only Ghia-bodied 375 MM, was one of the final Ferraris to be bodied by Ghia. The second was the earliest still existing Ferrari, the 166 Spider Corsa with s/n 002C. It is considered to be the third Ferrari built and started life as type 125 (after its unitary displacement), with a 1.5 litre engine. When the displacement of the engine grew to 166 cc per cylinder the type indication changed to 166 as well. These small sportscars campaigned in 1947 and 1948 were the start of the Ferrari-legend.
Our personal favorites of the auction were two 250GT Competiziones, a SWB and Lusso. Originally intended as the luxury version of the 250 GT racers, the 250 GT Lusso entered was converted to rally specifications. Modifications included replacing the 3 Webers by 6 Webers, bringing the engine up to 250 GTO spec. It is one of three Lussos converted to competition specification and was also displayed at the 1964 Geneva Motorshow. The alloy-bodied 1960 Competizione SWB was originally campaigned by the famous French racing car driver Jo Schlesser. After a crash in 1967 the bodywork was badly damaged and replaced in 1968 by a Drogo designed body. Unfortunately the original body was discarded. Today a meticulously recreated alloy SWB body is fitted. The restoration work was done by renowned Ferrari expert DK Engineering. It remains as on of the finest examples of the 1960 spec 250 GT SWB Competizione.
As with many auctions the most valuable cars failed to meet its reserve. Highest successful bid was on a perfect 275 GTB/4, which changed hands for 575.000 Swiss Francs, closely followed by the Competizione Lusso at 535.000 Swiss Francs. Highest unsuccessful bid was the 1.300.000 Swiss Francs bid on the Ghia bodied 375 MM. A 900.000 Swiss Francs bid was made on the 166 Spider Corsa, but that failed to meet its reserve. It did sell right after the auction.