Ferrari 250 GT California nets $17 million at Amelia Island

The first one offered publicly at auction in over 50 years

  • Image Credit: Jensen Sutta / Gooding & Company

The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider is famed for its feature (in replica form) in "Ferris Beuller's Day Off" and as one of the more valuable Ferrari models. This year's Gooding & Company auction at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance have has cemented that with a high-dollar example.

This 250 is indeed a real example, one of just 56 ever made, and only 37 with those desirable covered headlights. This was the first time this particular example was ever offered for sale to the public in its 55-year history, and it fetched $17.16 million at the Florida concours over the weekend.

That's not quite enough to take the record for this highly sought-after model. According to Sports Car Market, that still belongs to the barn-find example that Artcurial sold last year for over $18 million. But it did beat its own pre-sale estimates, and was enough to top Gooding's list as well as that of Amelia Island.

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Gooding & Company Sets Amelia Island Record for Single Lot and Celebrates More Than $60 Million in Sales from its 2016 Amelia Island Auction

- 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider Fetches $17,160,000, a Gooding & Company Record
- Selections from The Jerry Seinfeld Collection Total More Than $22.2 Million

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (March 13, 2016) – Gooding & Company, the auction house acclaimed for selling the world's most significant and valuable collector cars with the tradition of presenting some of the greatest collections to ever come to market, realized $60,162,150 in a single day at the company's 2016 Amelia Island Auction. The most talked about event of the week did not disappoint, as President David Gooding and Auctioneer Charlie Ross sold 69 of 79 lots for an impressive 87% sales rate, which resulted in an astounding average price of $871,915 per car sold. The standing-room-only crowd also witnessed the company achieve nine new world auction benchmarks. There were highlights throughout the auction, including the $22,244,500 garnered by Selections from The Jerry Seinfeld Collection and the star of the day, the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider which commanded a price of $17,160,000.

"We are delighted with our auction results and are proud of the new auction records we have set, which demonstrates that there is a strong demand for high quality cars," stated David Gooding, President of Gooding & Company. "The room was electric from the beginning and the crowd's intensity only grew when Mr. Seinfeld joined Charlie and me on stage to present his stunning offerings."

Rare-to-auction collector cars from renowned coachbuilders and beloved marques delivered outstanding results. The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider clearly defined this trend with a spirited round of bidding until the hammer dropped with a realized price of $17,160,000, setting the single lot record for a car sold in the history of all Amelia Island auctions, as well as for a Gooding & Company auction overall. Other notable Ferraris which commanded fervent bidding wars were the 1995 Ferrari F50 (sold for $2,310,000) and the 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet (sold for $1,512,500). In addition, coachbuilt pre-war offerings delivered strong prices on Friday. The company's handsome 1931 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe crossed the block with a final price of $2,640,000.

The tent was filled with anticipation as Selections from The Jerry Seinfeld Collection drew near; the enthusiastic crowd erupted in applause as Mr. Jerry Seinfeld joined David Gooding and Charlie Ross on stage to introduce his prized collector cars to his fellow enthusiasts and potential bidders. The paddles went wild for Mr. Seinfeld's 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, which spawned a lengthy bidding battle with the audience eyes shifting back and forth until the final offer sold the car for a realized price of $5,335,000. The ultimate Porsche connoisseur's offerings had strong sales, which included the 1959 Porsche 718 RSK (sold for $2,860,000), the 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 IROC RSR (sold for $2,310,000), the 1990 Porsche 962C (sold for $1,650,000), the 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster (sold for $1,540,000), the 1994 Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 S Flachbau (sold for $1,017,500), the 1998 Porsche 993 3.8 Cup RSR (sold for $935,000) and the 1963 Porsche 356 B 2000 GS/GT Carrera 2 Coupe (sold for $825,000). Mr. Charlie Ross worked the room into a frenzy for the highly original 1960 Volkswagen Beetle until the final price was reached at $121,000, a world auction record for Volkswagen Beetle.

Top 10 Sales:
1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB Spider (closed headlight) sold for $17,160,000
1955 Porsche 550 Spyder Roadster sold for $5,335,000
1966 Ford GT40 Mk I Road Coupe sold for $3,300,000
1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder sold for $3,000,000
1959 Porsche 718 RSK Roadster sold for $2,860,000
1931 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe sold for $2,640,000
1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 IROC RSR Coupe sold for $2,310,000
1995 Ferrari F50 Coupe sold for $2,310,000
1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Coupe sold for $1,875,000
1990 Porsche 962C Coupe sold for $1,650,000

Gooding & Company's next sale, The Pebble Beach Auctions, will take place on August 20 and 21, 2016, at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center. Last year's impressive Pebble Beach sale delivered remarkable cars, breaking several world auction records with a total of 115 stunning cars fetching over $128 million in overall sales. As the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance®, Gooding & Company is revered for showcasing the finest classic, sports and racing cars on the world's stage.

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