Articles

Michael Sheehan's Ferraris-online.com Article

Chasing The Market

As appeared in:

Sports Car Market—April 1999 issue

Sheehan Speaks

by Michael Sheehan

Mike Sheehan

Ferrari 250 S/N 0627 GT began life as a Boano, leaving the factory in February of 1957. The car was supplied to Luigi Chinetti Motors, the Ferrari importer for the U.S., and was sold new to movie star James Cagney for what was then the substantial sum of $10,750. It was heavily damaged in an accident, and sent back to Italy in 1959 to be rebodied as a more attractive 250 longwheelbase, coveredheadlight California Spyder. After the rebody, the car was returned to the U.S. and suffered through the usual fates of most Ferraris in the ’60s and ’70s, moving from owner to owner with minimal maintenance, finally going to Dr. Terry Maxon, in Phoenix, Arizona, in July 1976 as a restoration project for $4,500.

In August 1984, as the early ’80s recession wound down and the Ferrari market began warming up, the car was sold as a restoration project for $35,000 to Sig. Corrado Cupellini in Italy. By 1987, the market had gotten red hot, and the asking price for the now-restored car had climbed to $425,000.

For someone who had to own a California Spyder, but didn’t want to spend over $800,000 for an original car, this period rebody offered a lower cost but attractive alternative that would still allow entry to most of the prestigious vintage events.

Fantasy Junction sold the car in ’87 in the $425,000 range. In ’89, it appeared again on their inventory list for $750,000, and was sold to a well’known Swiss collector for about that amount. In 1990 the Ferrari market imploded. The new owner’s asking price began its descent from $750,000 to $500,000 and, by 1997, to $250,000 at which point end users became interested, making offers in the $150,000 range. The march back upwards was on.

In 1997, the car sold for some number around $200,000 to a brave’hearted dealer in the U.S., who quickly resold it as part of a package deal to a larger dealer. In January 1998, it was reported unsold at the Kruse and Barrett-;Jackson auctions in Arizona. In August, 1998, 0627 GT appeared at the Monterey Auction, reportedly selling for $252,150, which was probably a fair market price at the time. It reappeared in a dealer’s inventory nearly immediately, so we can assume that it didn’t sell to an end user.

0627 GT - 12 cylinders in search of an end user.
0627 GT - 12 cylinders in search of an end user.

0627 GT continued its search for a permanent home, being offered in various market publications at a price of $495,000. In January 1999, it found its way to the Barrett-Jackson Auction again, and attracted what I am told was a real-money bid of $300,000, not enough for the current dealer/owner.

As of March/April 1999 the market price for a factory-built LWB California Spyder in similar, nice, older restored condition is about $600,000. In my opinion, as a car with a replacement body, even though period built, the price of 0627 GT should be less than an original, but well above the price of an original Boano—some number over $300,000 but probably below $450,000. However, the California Spyder market is strong, and the rising prices of real cars will pull the price of this Speciale upwards as well. When buyer and seller both agree on the elusive market-correct number, the car will finally find an end user after ten years of chasing the market. After a decade of wandering, it deserves a happy home in some enthusiast’s garage.

MICHAEL SHEEHAN has been a Ferrari dealer for 30 years as well as a race car driver and exotic car broker.