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Will this Ferrari 250 Cali fetch £9m?
This, boys and girls, is a nine million quid Ferrari. Or it will be if it meets its estimate at auction in a couple of weeks. It’s a 250 GT SWB California, and if you know your madly expensive Fezzas, you’ll know these things have a past history of raking in wads of cash from wealthy auction-goers.
A long-wheelbase version sold for a smidge over £5million back in December, while avid TG fans ought to be familiar with the sharper-handling short-wheelbase Cali belonging to DJ Chris Evans, for which he shelled out £5.6million.
Ferrari 250 variants account for the most expensive car auctioned in five of the last seven years, a GTO topping the lot in 2014 at a mind-boggling £23million.
This 1961 California, though, is estimated by RM Auctions to fetch between 11 and 13 million euros next month in Villa Erba, translating as £7.8-9.3million. It could, of course, exceed expectations and head into eight (British) figures.
So what do you get for such obscene piles of cash? One of the less ugly cars ever produced, for starters. The simple bodywork and stunted shape of Sergio Scaglietti’s design are a world away from the complex aero and elongated silhouette of a LaFerrari.
You also get next to no chance of ever parking beside one at the supermarket, given just 16 of these open-headlight versions were produced. If you do, consolation can come from the fact that Scaglietti’s hand-beaten approach to coachwork means no two are thought to be identical anyway.
This one has had a full restoration, and by Ferrari’s approved Classiche programme at that, while it has been displayed to drooling members of the public at numerous concours events as well as Ferrari’s own museum.
With its stunningly appointed 3.0-litre, Weber-carb V12 engine churning out around 225bhp, you’ll need to avoid anything north of a Fiesta ST if you indulge in the odd traffic light grand prix.
But if that concerns you, may we suggest another car. The SWB Cali may have some motorsport provenance, but with sky-high value and leaf-sprung rear suspension, this isn’t a car for throwing about the place. Rather, it’s one in which to drop the roof, enjoy a spot of sun and revel in an engine that soars at high revs with not a jot of electronic nannying or fake noise to distil its intoxicating effects.
Can’t quite stretch to its estimate? Worry not: RM’s Villa Erba auction also has a 250 GT spider shorn of the expensive California badge, which is expected to command a much more attainable £1 million. Phew.