How This '59 Ferrari California Earned Its $18 Million Price Tag

Just look at it, for starters

By Evan Bleier

 
How This '59 Ferrari California Earned Its $18 Million Price Tag
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11 December 2017

When determining a pre-sale estimate for a car, the auction experts at RM Sotheby’s look at the vehicle’s condition, ownership history, how rare it is and whether it had a racing career (or enjoyed any other historical significance).

While it never had a famous owner, we’re guessing this 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione aced the rest of those categories with flying colors, because it just sold for $4 million more than its $14 million valuation.

One of just eight California Spiders to be built with an aluminum body, chassis No. 1451GT was outfitted to meet competition specifications. It would go on to race at Le Mans in 1959 just days after leaving the factory. Its then-owner, Bob Grossman, had never raced at Le Mans before and didn’t speak the same language as his co-driver. But that didn't stop the car from finishing fifth overall and third in its class at the grueling race.

Ferrari (5 images)

Now that we’ve covered the special Spider’s rarity, historical value and ownership history, inquiring minds may be wondering about its condition. Rest assured, it’s fantastic. The car took first in its class at Pebble Beach after an initial restoration in 1983 and was restored once again from 2010 and 2011.

This one is spoken for, but if you happen to come across an all-aluminum California Spider, we suggest trying to purchase it — regardless of its condition, owner or racing pedigree.

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