Articles

Michael Sheehan's Ferraris-online.com Article

20 Ferraris You Shouldn’t Resist

It’s not about money. Well, okay, yes it is, but it’s still more about driving the essence of superb engineering and timeless style

As appeared in:

Sports Car Market—September 2008 issue

Sheehan Speaks

by Michael Sheehan

I’ve known Keith Martin for more than 20 years and have been involved with SCM nearly from the start. In the earliest days, 1989–90, he was buying and selling Alfa Romeos like there was no tomorrow (read: like there was no 1991). I’ve watched with interest as he has gone on to build SCM, and have been pleased to be able to contribute my thoughts. At the same time, I have made the transition from having a fully staffed sales and restoration shop to being primarily a broker. Lack of overhead can be a wonderful thing.

In celebration of 20 years of SCM, I’ve created the following list of 20 Ferraris I think you should own. Having owned, raced, or brokered almost every model Ferrari built, from 159 S s/n 002C, built in 1947, to today’s 612s, 430s, and 599s, I know which ones are at the top of my wish list. I’ve grouped them into four categories, from hedge-fund-manager-money to the “mere mortal” budget. Here they are—all you need is a checkbook.

1971 512 M
1971 512 M

WHEN MONEY IS NO OBJECT

Ferrari’s hard–fought reputation was built on the toughest race tracks, and the most desirable (and most expensive) Ferraris are those that won on them.

1 1969–71 512 S / 512 M
Price range: $3 million–$4 million
Number made: 25

Built to run flat-out at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With a factory-rated 600 hp and weighing only 1,800 lb, their performance is staggering. Not for the timid but a joy to drive, with massive torque, a power curve that goes on forever, and acceptable brakes. If you have $3 million-plus to spend, you could win the Ferrari Historics.

2 1971–74 365 GTB/4C
Price range: $2 million–$3.5 million
Number made: 15 factory,
10 privateer cars

This was the car to win the GT class at Le Mans, the Tour de France, or any other major endurance race in the early 1970s. It takes well over $3 million to own one of the 15 factory cars, and $2 million-plus for a non-factory car with period race history. If you’re a glutton for punishment, you can drive it to local events.

3 1956–61 250 Testa Rossa
Price range: $10 million–$16 million,
Number made: 34

Easily the best all-around 1950s racing Ferrari, and eligible for the Mille Miglia and the lawn at Pebble Beach. Light, nimble, and easy to drive, the 250 TR is very forgiving at speed, gives lots of feedback, and makes bad drivers look good. Entry-level starts well above $10 million, making them a welcome but expensive ticket to any event.

4 1956–59 250 TdF
Price range: $3 million–$10 million
Number made: 77

Ferrari’s GT class winner in the mid- and late-1950s earned its name by winning the Tour de France and dusting off the 300SLs, Corvettes, and Porsches in the GT classes. Nothing has changed in five decades; the 250 TdF is a great race car that rewards the skillful without punishing lesser talents. A roof, wipers, windows, and a token defroster make it a great event car on those less than sunny days. Alas, they are now $3 million-plus—an expensive ticket to the Mille Miglia.

5 1962–64 250 GTO
Price range: $30 million and up
Number made: 39

Ownership guarantees an invitation to almost any event or concours. It also means you’re a top player in the world of collector cars and have the trophy to prove it. Virtually every GTO serves as the centerpiece for a serious collection. Few change hands, and when they do, eyebrows are raised. Expect to pay $30 million.

FOR THE TRULY RICH AND FAMOUS

Ferrari started production in 1947, and in only four years became a top team in Formula One with the dominant 4.5-liter 375 F1. When the FIA changed the rules for 1952, Ferrari took a room full of now-obsolete 375 F1 engines and went in two directions, building the 375 MM sport racer and the coachbuilt 375 America.

6 1953–54 375 America
Price range: $600,000–$1.2 million
Number made: 12

Very limited, ultra-expensive, and ultra-fast luxury cars for captains of industry and European nobility. As the name implies, most 375 Americas came to the U.S., as America had emerged from WWII with a taste for the best Europe offered. 375 Americas were sold to people like Howard Keck, owner of Superior Oil Co., and Robert Wilke of Leader Cards, both of whom sponsored Indy cars, plus noted racer Tony Parravano. Bland Pininfarina or Vignale styling puts values mostly below $1 million.

7 1956–59 410 Superamerica
Price range: $1 million–$3 million
Number made: 34

One of the Ferraris of choice for Pebble Beach or the Cavallino Classic. Also a great Colorado Grand car, offering freight train top-end performance. With bodies by Pininfarina, Vignale, and Boano, the 410 SA has proven to be a needed piece of any coachbuilt Ferrari collection. Prices start at $1 million and would easily pass $3 million if s/n 0483 (Superfast I) or the one-off Boano Cabriolet (s/n 0485) were ever to come to market.

8 1960–64 400 Superamerica
Price range: $1.2 million–$1.8 million
Number made: 47 (36 coupes, 11 convertibles)

Double the cost of a new Rolls-Royce, this was Ferrari’s top-of-the-line model. Thanks to the 340-hp Colombo V12, the 400 SA was good for a top speed of 160 mph, the fastest road car of its day. Bodied by Pininfarina in both coupe and convertible; expect to pay well over $1 million.

9 1964–66 500 Superfast
Price range: $750,000–$900,000
Number made: 36

Last of the coachbuilt coupes. Thanks to a 5-liter, 400-hp engine, the Superfast combined around-town torque and effortless high-speed cruising. Eligible for the best tours and Pebble Beach. A more or less standard body by Pininfarina, so prices still lag.

10 1966–67 365 California
Price range: $850,000–$1.3 million
Number made: 14

The last of the big-engined, coachbuilt Ferraris, with only 14 built. Attractive from some angles, but the slender nose did not match the Kamm-back tail. Eligible for every major concours or tour, the 365 California is hard to value, as few change hands. Today’s number would be $1 million or so.

BEST OF THE 1960s AND 1970s

11 1968–73 365 GTB/4 Daytona
Price range: $300,000–$400,000
Number made: 1,273

The Daytona is the poster child for 1970s supercars, with staggering performance and timeless Pininfarina profile. It is the last of the pre-Fiat, front-engined Berlinettas. The Daytona name results from Ferrari’s 1-2-3 victory at the 1967 Daytona 24 Hours. The definitive GT of its time, and cheap thrills at $300,000–$400,000, still down from its 1989 peak.

12 1972–73 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder
Price range: $1.25 million–$1.5 million
Number made: 121

The Daytona Spyder raised the bar as a stunning drop top. The 365 GTS/4 shared the 365 GTB/4’s performance, beautiful Pininfarina bodywork, and a place in history as the last pre-Fiat front-engined Ferrari. Now back at 1989 prices.

1971 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder
1971 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder

13 1966–68 275 GTB/4
Price range: $1.2 million–$1.5 million
Number made: 330

Introduced at the Paris Salon in October 1966 as the last evolution of the desirable 275 GTB series. Thanks to a six-carb, four-cam engine, dry sump, and torque tube, the 275 GTB/4 represents the pinnacle of 1960s performance.

14 1962–64 250 GTL Lusso
Price range: $500,000–$700,000
Number made: 350

Ferrari’s last intermediate model, it fit in between competition GTs and luxurious yet fast 2+2s. Thanks to exceptional performance and svelte good looks, the GTL is widely regarded as Pininfarina’s best design of the 1960s. Very successful yet forgiving in vintage events, such as the Tour Auto.

15 1971–72 365 GTC/4
Price range: $120,000–$145,000
Number made: 505

Sister car to Ferrari’s GTB/4 Daytona, replacing the two-cam 365 GTC and offering an alternative to the huge 365 GT 2+2. Thanks to a/c, power steering, an easy-to-shift, front-mounted gearbox, and an exhaust note to die for, the 365 GTC/4 is the bargain of 1970s Ferraris.

CARS YOU CAN AFFORD TO USE

16 1996–2003 550 Maranello
Price range: $85,000–$100,000
Number made: 3,600

The 550 marked Ferrari’s return to a front-engined V12, two-seat Berlinetta, a complete departure from the mid-engined Boxer and Testarossa. The 550 offers stunning yet subtle good looks, a you’ll-never-use-it-if-you’re smart 198-mph top speed, and a great reliability record with rational repair costs, at least by V12 Ferrari standards. Easily the best buy in a luxurious supercar today.

17 2002–05 575 Maranello
Price range: $125,000–$175,000
Number made: 2,100

Everything the 550 brought to market, plus the option of an F1 gearbox. Faster, lighter, and with bigger brakes than the 550, the 575 also offered an electronic shock absorber system, which adapts to driving conditions.

18 1999–2004 360 Modena
Price range: $100,000–$150,000
Number made: 16,365

All-new car with alloy chassis and body, potent V8, and the choice of a 6-speed manual or F1 gearbox. Wrapped in a stunning Pininfarina coupe or spyder body, the 360 series has become the first Ferrari for a whole new generation. Coupes can be found around $100,000 and spyders for about $125,000. Ferrari exclusivity at Mercedes prices.

19 1992–2004 456 GT / 456 M
Price range: $60,000–$120,000
Number made: GT — 1,548, M — 1,271

The first of the Montezemolo-era Ferraris, an all-new front-engined 2+2 in the mode of the 365 GTC/4. Ferrari added an automatic gearbox in 1996 and launched the 456 M in 1998. With GTs available at $60,000 and Ms at $75,000–$100,000, the 456 offers four-seat Ferrari goodness at Lexus prices.

20 2006–present 599 GTB Fiorano
Price range: $320,000–$395,000
Number made: n/a

Ferrari’s latest front-engined two-seater flagship, powered by an Enzo-derived 620-hp V12 in an all-alloy chassis. When introduced, the 599 sold for $300,000 over the $280,000 sticker. Sticker is now closer to $320,000, with an extra $75,000 to move to the head of the line.

With prices from $60,000 to $30 million, there is a Ferrari in this group for almost anyone, from user-friendly, low-cost street cars to the best of the best.

I’ve appreciated my two decades as a part of the SCM family and look forward to reflecting on Ferraris with you for the next two.