Testa Rossa sells for £7.24m
18 May 2009

A Ferrari Testa Rossa has become the most expensive car ever to be sold at auction.

The 1957 racing car made 8.2 million euros (£7.24m), smashing the previous record of 7.04m euros (£6.22m) paid by DJ Chris Evans for a 250 California Spyder last year.

Despite the record sum, which was more than double the total sales at the annual Leggione e Passione auction in Maranello, Italy, there were also signs that the credit crunch is biting.

In total, 11 other high-profile cars failed to reach their reserve prices, including the 1967 330 P4 racer that had been touted as the star of the show, and a Monaco Grand Prix-winning Maserati 250F.

The 5m euros (£4.42m) bid for the P4, which Ferrari had turned into its Can-Am racer in the late 1960s, was at least £1.8m short of the reserve.

The 1.35m euros (£1.19m) offered for the ex-Stirling Moss 250F was well also below expectations.

At one point, five consecutive cars were passed at the auction – including a 4m euro (£3.53m) bid for a 1962 250GT short-wheelbase California – while two other Ferraris were withdrawn from sale at the last minute.

One of the bargains of the sale was an ex-Alain Prost 641/2 Formula One car, which sold for 320,000 euros (£282,000).

“They’ll be disappointed with this. It’s a disastrous auction,” one collector said after the event. “Everybody’s still expecting prices from before the crisis, but this showed they’re down 30 or 40 per cent.”

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