Got a few million and looking to invest in something low-risk and high-gain? Don’t invest in gold. Don’t bother with Apple or Amazon stock, either. Because if there’s one commodity that’s appreciating to stratospheric levels with little sign of slowing down, it’s vintage Ferraris. Sure, it’s a little heartbreaking to relegate some of the greatest driver’s cars ever put on this earth to precious commodities. But with even the once unloved Ferrari Testarossa seeing a 98% appreciation in 2015 alone, the most driving that most surviving cars built when founder Enzo was still alive have done is from the auction block to the 18th fairway at the owner’s local Concours.
The history, power, and je ne sais quoi of certain vintage Ferraris have always given the marque a certain luster at auction that historic Porsches, Jags, and Bentleys can only dream of, but for a long time it was fairly selective. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that 250 GTOs were commanding eight figures at auctions, while lesser 250s were being cannibalized for their drivetrains to be put in replicas. But that’s all in the past now; you’re better off having a Ferrari in your garage that was built before Nixon took office than you are with gold in a vault.
Case in point is this 1962 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico coupe, which is going under the gavel at RM Sotheby’s Paris auction in February, with a high estimate of $3.6 million. While that’s around 10% of what a ’63 250 GTO would run you nowadays, that’s still quite a big chunk of change — like, 14.8 2016 Ferrari 488s chunk of change.
The Superamerica cars have always been impressive performers, but until recently, they’ve never been the most collectible Ferraris of the era. According to Hagerty, just a decade ago, the finest 400 Superamerica coupes were changing hands for just under $700,000. Today, it’s over five times that.
The Superamerica line dates back to 1955, but unlike most of Ferrari’s road cars at the time, they were largely long-wheelbase grand tourers designed for speed and comfort, not lightly-tamed race cars like the more popular 250 series. The 400-series cars were introduced at the Turin Motor Show in 1959, and show a pretty significant evolution for the model. Beneath its Pininfarina-designed bodywork lies a 340-horsepower Columbo V12 bored out to 4.0 liters, four-wheel disc brakes, and a four-speed manual transmission with overdrive. This car is the first of only 18 made. It made its debut at the Earls Court Motor show, then was shown at the Chicago Motor Show with a price tag of $13,017, or about $102,000 today.
Tellingly, there’s also a 1983 Ferrari Mondial QV slated for RM Sotheby’s Paris auction. Long considered to be the butt of every non-fire-related Ferrari joke, if this car does well, we might be living in the final days of the “affordable” 20th century Ferraris. Compared to the Mondial, the ’62 Superamerica is a powerful, pretty, and tastefully-appointed grand tourer, but it’s by no means Ferrari or Pininfarina’s best work. In has more than a few awkward angles, and at its worst it looks like it could’ve fit into Maserati’s gawky mid-’60s lineup. Nonetheless, it proves that the pull of a vintage Prancing Horse goes far beyond skin deep. We wouldn’t be surprised if it tops its high estimate.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.