Ferrari: Top of the Top

  • 21 May 2023
  • 4 min read
  • 8 images
Ferrari: Top of the Top image

Photo credit: Ferrari, Gooding, Pebble Beach, Roberto Carrer, Talacrest, Wheelsage

The world's top 100 collections, ranked by The Key, Top of the Classic Car World, are primarily composed of Ferraris, with no fewer than 610 vehicles. This is more than twice the number of Porsches in second place with 267, and Alfa Romeos in third with 202. If the statistic were based on value, Ferrari would undoubtedly dominate even further. With such a vast number of Ferraris, it's only natural to wonder which of these 600 plus vehicles are the most valuable.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Although it may seem unusual, this information is simply not available. While a detailed examination of recent auctions can provide some indications, it cannot offer any certainty, as the rarest cars are typically the subject of private and highly confidential negotiations. Even the GTOs, with a total of only 36 in existence, each one faithfully identified and certified and known to fetch auction prices of around 60 million dollars, are said to sell for even higher amounts in private transaction, according to insider reports.

1963 Ferrari 330 LMB 1963 Ferrari 330 LMB

The same is true for the 'sister' 330 LM models, which feature a 4,000cc engine rather than the 3,000cc engine found in the GTO (they have many other differences despite having a similar appearance), of which only two were built. However, it is impossible to determine the true value of two absolute Ferrari treasures that recently changed ownership in complete secrecy through private sales. Both vehicles, the 330 P4, famous for dominating the 1967 Daytona 24 Hours race, and the 315 Sport, driven by Piero Taruffi in the tragic 1957 Mille Miglia, have returned to Europe after spending many years in America.

1957 Ferrari 315 S 1957 Ferrari 315 S driven by Piero Taruffi at Mille Miglia

For models of this calibre, in addition to the intrinsic value of the car itself, one must also consider its significance in the history of automotive development. When dealing with one-of-a-kind pieces, such as Taruffi's vehicle, or limited-edition models like the P4, of which only three examples remain, pricing becomes impossible to predict.

1967 Ferrari 330 P4 1967 Ferrari 330 P4

A comparison can be made with the 250 Testa Rossa, which comes in various versions with classic bodywork or the Pontoon Fender design with visible fenders that were incorporated into the bodywork. In these cases, auction prices typically hover around $25 million.

1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

Although prices for racing cars from the 1950s through to the end of the 1960s can exceed that amount, the most interesting road-going Ferrari model in terms of value is the aluminium-bodied 250 GT SWB California Spider. Prices for the normal short-wheelbase version of this car have reached as much as $18 million. The truly rare aluminium-bodied California hasn't appeared at auction for some time, so it's difficult to estimate its current value. It would be fascinating to see how much the very few remaining examples could fetch if one were put up for sale.

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider

But even in this case, it's highly likely that they would change hands via discreet private negotiations. Similarly, it's easy to imagine that the value of the aluminium version could be significantly higher than the steel-bodied one. This is what happens with one of Ferrari's symbols: the 250 Berlinetta passo corto, renamed SWB, from the English Short Wheel Base, which currently sells for anywhere between $7 to $8 million for the steel-bodied versions and between $10 to $11 million for the competition models in aluminium. Driving both models fully justifies the difference. Will this be the same for the California?

1960 Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta Competizione Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta Competizione