A classic Ferrari to be featured at an auction to be held in Paris next month may challenge the record for the highest price ever paid for an automobile.
The 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti, once driven to victory by British World Champion Stirling Moss at the 1958 Cuban Grand Prix, is expected by the the French auction house Artcurial Motors to fetch between $32 and 34 million.
The current record, held by another classic Ferrari sold last year, stands at a whopping $34.6 million.
A former Le Mans lap record holder, this 335 S served the Ferrari factory team in a championship-winning 1957 season during the golden age of road racing, when events were often held on public roads with little concern for the safety of drivers or the spectators that lined the courses.
That year, the car made an indelible mark on racing history after another 335 S Spider racing at the infamous Mille Miglia in Italy crashed into a crowd of fans, killing both drivers and nine spectators. The crash marked the beginning of the end for road racing: the 1,000 mile event considered the greatest of the era would soon be canceled.
Prices soaring well into the eight figures are no longer unusual for cars of this era, which are highly sought after by collectors willing to pay for their own piece of automotive history.
Values for very rare cars have skyrocketed in the past decade, and largely defied the 2008 recession in following other luxury items, such fine art. Though the auction house anticipates the 335 S to fall just short of the record price, it’s common for expectations to be exceeded — especially if more than one bidder wants the car badly enough.
The Artcurial auction will feature an eye-watering list of ultra-rare classic cars, headlined by a handful other great Ferraris, including a 1962 250 GT Berlinetta once owned by the king of Morocco, a 1963 250 GT short wheel base Berlinetta, and the only convertible Ferrari Testarossa ever built.
This last car, a gift to Fiat chief Gianni Agnelli in 1986, features a silver paint scheme and a solid silver Ferrari badge on the front hood — and the periodic symbol for the element that also marked the first two letters of the Italian auto executive’s surname.
It’s good to be the king.