Rare Ferrari GTB/C Speciale sells for $31.1m

17:05, Aug 18 2014
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An extremely rare 1964 Ferrari GTB/C Speciale has sold for a stunning US$26.4 million (NZ$31.1m) at auction in Monterey, California.

The sale at the RM Auctions event was one of many high-profile auctions held during the annual Monterey Car Week in the run-up to the glamorous Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance car show.

It made the Speciale the fourth-most expensive car ever sold at auction. The record-setting car, a Ferrari 250 GTO, sold earlier last week for US$38 million.

Offers for the Speciale opened with a surprise "knockout bid" of $15 million, which seemed to stun the capacity crowd at the Portola Hotel ballroom into silence.

The bidders, including those participating by Internet and telephone, soon recovered under the guiding hand of auctioneer Max Girardo. Two more offers pushed the bidding to $20m in $1m increments, and then to $22m in one aggressive tactical bid.

"Do I have $23m," he asked? "It's worth every dollar!"

The room went pin-drop silent as the price went to $24m with a bid made by phone - and remained silent as Girardo pleaded with other bidders to speak now or forever hold their offers.

"I'm going to have to count it down," Girardo said. "It's going for the first time. I'm selling the car now. Make no mistake, it's going for the second time. Are you all done? Are you certain?"

When no further bids came forward, the veteran auctioneer raised his gavel, smacked it down, and said, "Sold! Your car! Well done!"

Earlier, RM and Girardo had sold another highly anticipated Ferrari GTB, this one a GTB/4 once owned by Steve McQueen. The car sold after a round of brisk bidding for US$10.2 million, after buyer's fees were included.

Already, the auction action at Monterey has exceeded expectations, and set a new high mark for the Monterey Car Week sales totals.

Cumulative sales for auction houses Bonhams, RM, Gooding, Mecum and Russo and Steele have so far exceeded US$352m, with many expensive cars still to be offered.

Last year's total sales for the entire week were $312m - at that time a Monterey Car Week record.

-MCT/Los Angeles Times

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1964 Ferrari GTB/C Speciale
BIG TICKET ITEM: This 1964 Ferrari GTB/C Speciale has become the fourth most expensive car sold at auction.