Iconic Ferrari racer becomes one of the most expensive Ferraris in history

The highly anticipated auction of a 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti finally went down, and true to form, it fetched an incredible amount that even surpassed what auction house Artcurial Motorcars Retromobile thought it would go for. Valued between $30 to $34 million, the 335 S sold for a staggering $35,711,359, narrowly missing out on the record $38 million a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta went for at a Bonhams auction in August 2014. The auction took place on Saturday, February 8, 2016 in Paris, France.

Even if it didn’t capture that record specifically, the 1957 335 S will forever be remembered as one of the most expensive Ferraris to have ever been sold. It certainly had one of the highest starting bids on record at $22.3 million. But even at that price, collectors immediately pounced on the rare Ferrari, bidding its value up to $29 million in a matter of seconds. Finally, a bidder – identified merely as an “international bidder” – laid down the final gauntlet with a $35.7 million bid, thus ending one of the most memorable auctions ever hosted by Artcurial.

The identity of the winning bidder is being kept anonymous for obvious reasons, but according to Matthieu Lamoure, director general of Artcurial motorcars, the buyer is based here in the U.S. Whoever he is, he’s taking ownership of a car that has arguably one of the most eventful histories of any Ferrari race car.

It began its racing career in 1957 when it competed in the Sebring 12 Hours event of that year, finishing sixth overall. From there, it lined up at the 1957 Mille Miglia where it got entangled in a horrific crash that killed 12 people. The aftermath of that incident forced organizers to permanently cancel the race after 1957, thus earning the 335 S the distinction of being the car that shut down the iconic endurance race. Despite having that label attached to it, the 335 S also earned recognition in its day for being the first model in history to record an average lap speed of over 124 mph at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Since then, the car has shuffled among a few owners, most notably Pennsylvania architect Robert N. Dusek and the late French racing driver Pierre Bardinon.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

This is the type of auction that leaves the average Joe like me with mouths agape. I mean, $36 million?! I know it’s a Ferrari, and one of the most iconic ones at that, but $36 million is still $36 million. They don’t grow on trees, you know.

Having said that, there is a certain amount of pride I take in being around to see something like this happen. The 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti may not have the most pristine and impeccable reputation as other Ferrari race cars, but as far as having the kind of history that it has – both good and bad – it deserves its status as one of the most iconic Ferraris of all time.

The fact that bidding started at $22.5 million validates its place in the annals of Ferrari lore. For someone to actually raise his hand with a $36-million offer speaks to its status. I don’t know if I’m ever going to see a car sell for that kind of price, but for what it’s worth, I’m just happy to have seen this one take place in my lifetime.

As for the winning bidder, he’s understandably keeping his identity a secret for the time being. But rest assured, at some point in the future, we’re going to find out who he is. But for now, a hearty congratulations wouldn’t be enough for winning this auction. I just hope he takes great care of the car and makes sure nothing happens to it. Remember, the 335 S is designed strictly for racing purposes so using it on the road isn’t smart. In fact, this is one car we want to be a trailer queen. Just keep it in the garage, Mr. Anonymous, and admire it as the crown jewel of your inevitable collection.

1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti

1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti here.

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