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Car and Driver: 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider Headed to Gooding’s Amelia Island Auction


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1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider


Gazing upon the stunning Ferrari 250GT SWB California pictured here, one might be tempted to think, “Oh, boy, another ludicrously expensive Ferrari headed to auction.” You’d be right to do so, but at this point, is an eye roll even necessary? Pre-auction estimates place the sale of this three-owner 1961 250GT at up to $17 million, or deep into abstract-thought territory. What does $17 million mean to you? It likely means a lot to the current owner, and perhaps to Gooding & Company, which has been consigned to sell the Ferrari at its Amelia Island auction in March.


1961 Ferrari 250 GT-SWB California Spider


Have we become sanitized to unfathomably expensive classic Italian cars? Perhaps, but despite mentions of this specific car’s well-documented history, its role in a film starring Sophia Loren, and its classic red-over-black color combination, there’s really only one reason to spend that kind of money on an old Ferrari: It’s an old, fairly rare Ferrari. If you’re looking for a bargain, it could be that, too—after all, it likely won’t go for $35.8 million. A steal!


Gooding will say the 250GT has the distinction of also being one of Ferrari’s prettiest cars ever and that the bodywork wraps tightly around equally compelling (and race-proven) mechanicals. And sure, this ’61 California is the 22nd short-wheelbase California Spider built, and also among just 37 (of 56 total) to come with faired-in headlights, but it could have been the 876th car built and one of 14,000 to have little covers over its headlights, and were we to have a spare $20 million laying around, we’d still try to buy this car. If you’re better off than we are, by several magnitudes, we suggest two things: First, try not to rub it in; second, make your way to the Amelia Island auctions March 11. Can’t swing that kind of dough? Maybe bid on one of Jerry Seinfeld’s numerous classic Porsches, instead.


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