Update: A Ferrari 335S Spider Scaglietti sold for US$35.7 million (€32,075,200) at Artcurial's Retromobile auction in Paris on 5 February. The car narrowly failed to break the world record of $38.115 million set by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in August, 2014, but eclipsed the $29.605 million fetched by Juan Manuel Fangio's 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Silver Arrow in July, 2013, becoming the second most valuable car ever sold at auction.
There is however, a catch, because depending on the currency used, the sale price is indeed a world record for a motor car at auction. The final price to the buyer of €32.1 million is a world record price for a car in Euros as the Ferrari 250 GTO's record price of $38.115 million (set in USD at Monterey Car Week in August, 2014) converts to €28.5 million. More on the currency exchange conundrum at the bottom of the article.
Built in 1957, this Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti was first driven by Peter Collins and Maurice Trintignant in the 1957 Sebring 12 Hours, then by Wolfgang von Trips in the Mille Miglia in May of that year, where it finished in second place. Mike Hawthorn (World F1 champ in 1958) drove the car in the 24 Heures du Mans, setting the first lap record in the history of the event of over 200 km/h (124 mph).
The car has many more prestigious races to its name including the Swedish Grand Prix and Venezuela Grand Prix in 1957, as well as the Cuba Grand Prix, which it won at the hands of racing legend Sir Stirling Moss in 1958.
A significant aspect of his car's provenance is that it was once part of the Bardinon Collection. In 1970, the car was bought by famous collector Pierre Bardinon, who during the second half of the twentieth century amassed over 70 factory Ferraris comprising the most iconic models in the history of the brand.
Bardinon was the heir to a family fortune in leatherware, most notably the family's business was the creator of the "Bomber Jacket." When Enzo Ferrari was once asked why Ferrari did not have a museum (it has now), he said, "Bardinon has done it for me."
Bardinon's collection contained only major cars representing the first 25 years of the brand. His collection was generally regarded as the most important Ferrari collection in the world, and included a 166 MM, this 335 S, three 250 GTOs, a 330 P4, a 312 P(B), four Le Mans winners, and 13 single-seaters.
Bardinon died in 2012, but cars from his collection will remain treasured, not just for their individual importance, but as having been part of the most valued Ferrari collection ever.
For Paris-based Artcurial, the sale is yet another triumph as the company has grown from relative obscurity in the car area just a few years ago, to become one of the elite collectible car auction houses.
Collectible car prices and currencies
We've been covering auctions at Gizmag for 14 years and had a situation six years ago where there were two "most expensive motorcycles in the world" – in October, 2010, a Brough Superior SS100 sold in the UK to set a world auction record of GBP286,000 (US$450,188).
In 2008, a rarer-than-hens'-teeth 1915 Cyclone board racer sold in the United States for US$551,200. In comparative currency, due to the exchange rates at that time, the sale price equated to GBP278,400 in imperial currency. So there were two highest priced motorcycles in the world, depending on which currency you preferred.
Given we intend to eventually continue our auction coverage into the future, we needed a way to account for currency fluctuations and decided to measure everything in USD, partly because the greenback is the defacto world currency and has been for many decades, and partly because the entire collectibles industry is dominated by the United States - the majority of the highest prices are achieved there, and most of the High Net Worth Individuals who buy these collectible treasures live there. Nonetheless, for those who live in the Euro zone, this car is now the world record holder and for those who think in GBP, it's also a world record.