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What's the smarter investment, Ferrari stock or a Ferrari?

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is gearing up to spin Ferrari off into its own company, and float some of its shares on the stock market. But buying and trading in Ferrari stock could face a rather unlikely competitor from within.

As Bloomberg points out, the values held by classic Ferraris keeps going up, and by no small margin. Even something as relatively humble as the 80s-era Testarossa, for example, has nearly doubled in value over the past year alone. Meanwhile the value of some models – particularly those built in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s – have skyrocketed nearly seven-fold since 2006.

Just look at the 250 GTO, one of the most coveted of classic Ferraris among collectors: not taking inflation into account, they were worth thousands in the late 60s, were already selling for hundreds of thousands in the 1980s, and by now are trading hands – on the rare occasion when they do trade hands – for tens of millions. One sold in 2004 for $10 million, and another in 2013 for over $50 million. Those kinds of increases can make a vintage Ferrari seem like a sound investment.

That might make it difficult for Ferrari's stock to compete. The company hopes investors will view it as a luxury goods manufacturer along the likes of Prada, Hermès, or Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, the stocks of which tend to increase in value at a greater rate than those of most automakers. But even the best of those luxury stocks have merely doubled in value since 2006, compared to the aforementioned seven-fold increase enjoyed by some classic Ferraris over the same period.

Add to that the prospect of actually getting to enjoy owning a classic Ferrari – albeit at the risk of damaging it and hindering its value – and the idea of investing in Maranello's products instead of its stock can seem like a much more enticing prospect.

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