In the charged atmosphere at day two of RM's Monterey auctions, a record-setting sum of money changed hands in exchange for one of the most exclusive Ferraris of all time. The 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider blew away expectations last night, selling for a gavel price of $25 million and a total bill (after RM's 10-percent fee) of $27.5 million. Even in a room filled to bursting with collectors ready to spend millions on rolling sculpture, the sale price caused a major hubbub.
Bidding on the NART Spider, estimated before the auction to top out somewhere between $14M and $17M, started at $10M and was immediately raised with a whopping $16M second bid. The room seemed to hum as the price continued to rise, especially once the twenty-million-dollar mark had been crested.
While any Ferrari 275 GTB is likely to be an auction darling, the 1967 NART car had every factor in place to make it a true whale. Only ten of these North American Racing Team cars was ever built; the Spider appeared in 1968's The Thomas Crown Affair with that movie's star, Steve McQueen numbered amongst the first NART owners (he crashed his); this specific car has had only one owner from new; and finally, the long-standing owner of the car announced that all of the proceeds from the auction would be given to charity. Clearly, the night had a lot of winners.
The actual winner, as reported by Bloomberg, was Lawrence Stroll, a Canadian entrepreneur who helped develop the ultra successful Tommy Hilfiger clothing brand in the 1990s. The $27.5 million that Stroll laid out represents a record-high for a car sold at auction in the US and the second-best tally for any car at auction, just trailing the $29.7M paid for a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 driven by Juan Manuel Fangio.