Ferrari Testa Rossa That Won Le Mans May Fetch $10.1 Million - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Ferrari Testa Rossa That Won Le Mans May Fetch $10.1 Million

Ferrari Testa Rossa That Won Le Mans May Fetch $10.1 Million

May 18 (Bloomberg) -- A Ferrari that upset the odds to win the 1962 Le Mans 24-hour race before becoming a New York businessman's commuter vehicle is the prize attraction at an auction to celebrate 60 years of the Italian automaker.
The four-liter Testa Rossa Spyder, the last ever built, may raise as much as 7.5 million euros ($10.1 million) at a May 20 sale in Maranello, Italy, according to joint organizers RM Auctions Inc. and Sotheby's.
``The winning cars of Le Mans, especially an elegant one like the '62 Testa Rossa, are almost priceless, and deservedly so,'' said Leo Hindery Jr., managing partner of New York-based buyout firm InterMedia Partners LLC, who won the race's GT2 category in 2005.
The largest-ever auction of Ferrari cars and memorabilia features 33 vehicles spanning six decades, including a Formula 1 car driven by record seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. Their combined pre-sale value of more than 30 million euros is a record for a car auction in Europe.
The highest auction price for a car is the $11 million paid for a 1931 Bugatti Royale at a Christie's sale in 1987.
Piloted by ex-champions Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien, the 330 TRI/LM Testa Rossa entered the Le Mans race as an underdog because its front-engined set-up was considered outmoded following the advent of rear-powered machines.
In the event, the Ferrari overcame a faulty clutch to speed past the checkered flag more than five laps clear of the field. Hill and Gendebien, who covered 2,800 miles (4,505 kilometers) in the 24 hours, became the first driving team to win the race three times.
`Better Balance'
``At the time, people were moving to rear engines for better balance and better handling around corners,'' said Max Girardo, managing director for RM Auctions in Europe. ``It was an unexpected victory so I guess that's why the car's marked history.''
Three years after the race, the sleek, red open-top was sold to businessman Hisashi Okada, who wowed New Yorkers by using it to drive to and from work before trading it to a French collector in 1974.
Current owner Jim Spiro spent $6.5 million to acquire the status symbol at a 2002 auction. The 48-year-old New Orleans money manager has raced his prize asset in state rallies and recovers from the stresses of his office life by taking it for weekend spins in the countryside.
In 2005, Spiro rescued his car from near disaster. Two days before Hurricane Katrina ravaged his city, Spiro pre-empted the devastation by driving the Testa Rossa 10 miles west of New Orleans to the relative haven of a friend's elevated garage.
The Best
Now, after five years, he's ready to hand it over.
``It's the creme de la creme and I've done all the things I've dreamed of with it,'' said Spiro, who works for Citigroup Inc.'s Smith Barney arm. ``I hope the next owner has 10 percent as much pleasure as I've had.''
Ferrari, founded by race-car driver Enzo Ferrari in 1947, is now a unit of Turin-based Fiat SpA.
Enzo Ferrari inherited the prancing horse symbol from Italy's World War I ace Francesco Baracca, who shot down 34 enemy planes in his single-seat fighter, firing a machine gun with one hand while controlling his plane with the other.
A former Royal Piedmont Cavalry officer, Baracca had a black horse painted on his plane. In 1923, Baracca's parents gave the symbol as a lucky charm to Ferrari, then an Alfa Romeo race-car driver. He went on to found his own company, which has won 14 Formula One constructors' championships and 195 individual races.
Formula One
Schumacher's F310B car, which he steered to two Grand Prix victories in 1997, is one of four ex-Formula 1 speedsters available at the auction and can be snapped up for about 1 million euros.
The others include Patrick Tambay's 1983 San Marino Grand Prix winner and a car driven by Felipe Massa last year in his debut season as Schumacher's replacement.
While Formula 1 cars aren't ideally suited to the daily commute, Ferrari runs programs to give would-be Schumachers their taste of burning rubber.
``For a car enthusiast, it's a dream come true,'' said Girardo. ``You really feel like a Formula 1 driver -- it's a pretty cool way to spend a Sunday afternoon.''
You don't have to be a millionaire to own a piece of Ferrari history. The cheapest car, a 1986 Ferrari 328 GTS, has a reserve price of 40,000 euros, while F1 souvenirs such as racing gloves, piston sets and exhaust pipes are available for less than 10,000 euros.
``It's all about tradition,'' said Hindery, a former chief executive officer of AT&T Broadband Corp. ``Continuity, passion and tradition mean everything to a focused individual, and these marks epitomize Ferrari.'' Spend
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 05-18-2007, 06:14 PM
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"In 2005, Spiro rescued his car from near disaster. Two days before Hurricane Katrina ravaged his city, Spiro pre-empted the devastation by driving the Testa Rossa 10 miles west of New Orleans to the relative haven of a friend's elevated garage. "

Trust me given how things are, he would have gotten compensated way ahead of everyone. Hell I would bet he would have gotten paid while some people were still in the NO Dome. Money talks and the poor walks!
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