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Rare 1953 Ferrari sells for nearly $13 million at auction

May 29, 2013|By David Undercoffler
  • This 1953 Ferrari 340/375 MM Pinin Farina Berlinetta `Competizione' sold for nearly $13 million, including buyer's premium, at a weekend auction in Italy.
This 1953 Ferrari 340/375 MM Pinin Farina Berlinetta `Competizione'… (Hardy Mutschler / RM Auctions )

The already hot classic Ferrari market got even more robust over the weekend, with a rare 1953 race car selling for nearly $13 million, including buyer fees.

The car sold at an annual auction Saturday held by RM Auctions in Villa d’Este, Italy, on Lake Como. The Ferrari, one of three built and entered in the 1953 24 Hours of LeMans, has a name as long as its price tag: 1953 Ferrari 340/375 MM Pinin Farina Berlinetta ‘Competizione.’

The auction was part of the annual classic car weekend focused around the prestigious Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, a car show rivaled only by the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in stature.

Photos:  Rare 1953 Ferrari sells for nearly $13 million at auction

After a spirited round of bidding before a crowd of more than 1,000, the final price was $12,812,800, which includes a 12% commission.

The car demanded such a high premium because of its rarity and race pedigree, and the fact that three world-champion drivers raced the car during its career. It also reflects the ever-hot classic Ferrari market, which has seen values rise 59% over the last 36 months, according to Hagerty Insurance.

This 375 MM features a body made by Pinin Farina, and was originally powered by a 4.1-liter V-12 engine with triple Weber carburettors, and mated to a four-speed manual transmission.

According to RM Auctions, this Ferrari moved as high as second place during the 1953 24 Hours of LeMans, before being disqualified for an illegal fluid change during a pit stop.

After the race, the car underwent a number of upgrades to the body and engine. Notably, the car’s displacement was increased to 4.5-liters, and horsepower totaled 340.

Its subsequent race results in 1953 helped Ferrari win enough points to grab the year’s manufacturers championship, besting rivals including Jaguar, Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo.

The car was then imported to the U.S., where it spent time with several collectors, including a mechanic based in Manhattan Beach. It underwent a final restoration in 2006, which brought the car back to its original 1953 race livery.

Other highlights from the weekend’s sale include a 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico for $2.84 million; a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB for $1.46 million; a 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster for $1.45 million; and a 2004 Ferrari Enzo for $1.39 million.

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