Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Who exactly would pay £4.7 million for a Ferrari, even a really nice 330 Testa Rossa, asks Tim Pollard

So a Le Mans-winning 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Testa Rossa Spyder has just sold for a record £4.7 million. I can just imagine the oohs and ahhs echoing around the Leggenda e Passione sale in Italy, competing for attention above the champagne corks and congratulatory back-slapping.

I recognise this rare vehicle is incredibly special. Phil Hill's company car was the last front-engined Ferrari sports car. Arguably the most accomplished racer ever to wear the Pracing Horse badge even. And achingly beautiful to boot. But is it really worth £4.7 million?

This got me thinking. Being a mere journalist, I find it hard to comprehend such values. They're out of reach for us mere mortals, yet you've got to admire the balls of the collectors who stump up such wallet-wilting sums of money. On the face of it, no construct of metal, rubber and glass can ever be worth nearly five mill, can it? And yet this car is steeped with history of the very finest order and I applaud those who choose to save them for posterity. I just pray the buyers see the car as a spiritual, rather than merely financial, investment.

Still, it's not as crazy as Michael Schumacher's pants. A set of his racing underwear went for $742. I hope the buyer displays them prominently on his mantlepiece.