The F40 in question, a 1989 model, may be just one of 1,315 examples made, but it has a rather noteworthy provenance: the car once belonged to Nigel Mansell, the only driver ever to hold both the Formula One and Indy titles at the same time. That Mansell – a man who had access to some of the fastest and most capable racing cars ever made – selected the F40 as his personal ride of choice speaks volumes about the car's abilities and appeal. But then he did, after all, drive for the Scuderia that season, winning the Brazilian and Hungarian grands prix.
The celebrity provenance, however, may not have actually jacked the price up at all. While it may rank towards the top of the list, this was hardly the highest price paid for an F40 at auction. According to Sports Car Market, which tracks such sales, the record currently belongs to a 1993 Ferrari F40 LM that Bonhams also sold for $2.2 million at Monterey. The highest price for a standard, non-LM model was recorded at the same event at $1.43 million.
The Mansell F40 sold to an unidentified telephone bidder during the Bonhams auction event at Knokke-Le-Zoute, Belgium. Other noteworthy lots included a 1984 Lamborghini Countach 5000 S that sold for the equivalent of $420k, a 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC/4 for over $360k, a '65 Lancia Flaminia Zagato for $375k and a Maserati Sebring 3700 for $240k, driving total sales for the day up beyond $4.6 million.
10 Oct 2014, The Zoute Sale
- Bonhams achieve Zoute sale record with €3.8 million total (£2.9 million)
- Top lot a 1989 Ferrari F40 formerly owned by 1992 F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell achieves €690,000 (£543,375)
- Further highlights include a 1984 Lamborghini Countach 5000 S Coupé sold for €333,500 (£262,631), and from 1965 a Lancia Flaminia Super Sport sold for €299,000 (£235,462)
Showcasing the best in European motoring, the Bonhams annual Zoute auction achieved a record €3.8 million.
Set in the picturesque and exclusive Belgian seaside resort of Knokke-Le-Zoute, the sale was held alongside the Zoute Grand Prix Rally and the Zoute Concours d'Elegance, and attracted a strong audience turnout with some keen bidding.
Philip Kantor, Head of the Continental European Motoring department, said: "We've enjoyed another great sale at Zoute, achieving nearly double last year's total. Ferraris continue to excel, taking pole position as top lot, with Nigel Mansell's F40 achieving €690,000 (£543,375) to a telephone bidder, and a 1972 Ferrari 365GTC/4 Berlinetta selling at €287,500 (£226,406).
"Offering an eclectic selection from the best of European classic motoring, the Zoute auction attracts international interest with clients from across the globe bidding - wonderful for a sale in only its second year."
Getting the sale off to an excellent start, a 1978 Alfa Romeo 8C Monza child's car surprised bidders and specialists alike, surpassing all expectations of its €2,000-4,000 estimate and selling for an incredible €31,625 (£24,905).
A brace of Bentleys added British luxury engineering to the event, with a 1987 Bentley Continental Convertible selling far above estimate at €98,900 (£77,883), and from the T-Series, a 1970 Bentley T1 sold for €17,250 (£13,584).
In Maserati's centenary year, the auction featured two of its classic models from the late 1960s. The Maserati Sebring 3700 Coupé achieved a comfortable €193,200 (£152,145), and the Maserati Mexico 4.7-Litre Coupé exceeded expectations, selling for €86,250 (£67,921).
Further sale highlights include a striking Zagato-bodied 1965 Flaminia Super Sport 2.8-Litre 3C 'Double Bubble' Coupé, at €299,000 (£235,462); a 1973 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Limousine selling above estimate at €178,250 (£140,371); and one of the all-time great sports cars, a 1961 Porsche 356 1600 Cabriolet realising €172,500 (£135,843).