Is This $30 Million Ferrari the Most Desirable Car on the Planet?

History-oozing racer heads to the auction block in France.

Artcurial

The collector-car world is awash—awash—in $10 million-plus vehicles. Last year there were a half-dozen, and there have probably been twice that already in 2015. I’ve lost count. Four years ago, there were two. As I’ve mentioned before, money from the art world has infiltrated the upper reaches of the car scene, and it’s blowing the hedge-fund types who inflated the market a decade ago out of the water.

This has had a funky follow-on effect: People are selling their cars. There are still some holdouts which will one day make all this look quaint (it’s been almost 30 years since a Bugatti Royale traded hands publicly, when in 1987 one became the first-ever (almost) $10 million car), but more and more reclusive masterpieces are being brought to the auction block.

Artcurial

Take, for example, this 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti, which Artcurial is offering in February at Rétromobile, the giant Parisian festival of all things car. Property of the the estate of late Ferrari collector Pierre Bardinon, its competition history has Artcurial thinking $30 million to $34 million. It’s a factory race car driven at the Sebring 12 Hours; Mille Miglia (second place with Wolfgang von Trips at the helm); 24 Hours of Le Mans with Mike Hawthorn; and three Grand Prix including victory at the 1958 Cuba Grand Prix with Stirling Moss and Marsten Gregory. In private hands in America, Lance Reventlow and Gaston Andrey won the Road America 500 outright in it, racing in legendary Ferrari importer, racer and raconteur Luigi Chinetti’s NART livery. If you’re not a vintage race fan, trust us: These are the names you want.

Starting out as a 3.8-liter 315 S, it was factory-upgraded mid-year to the 4.1-liter V-12, Ferrari’s 400-horsepower Lampredi engine developed for Formula 1. That was enough for Mike Hawthorn to record the first-ever Le Mans lap over 125 mph, and it’s good for probably another 60 over that.

Artcurial

Bardinon bought the car in 1969, so it’s been off the market for the better part of a half-century. It’s hardly obscure; instead, it’s something of a legend, not to mention one of the most distinctive and important Ferrari race cars in private hands. One of the other few 335 S Spiders sold in 2014 for $21.5 million, and it had nothing on this car’s history.

There’s every indication Artcurial will have the first $30 million car of 2016, and every indication it won’t be alone. The time to sell yours is probably now.