You might be wondering why I am writing about a car when this is a site about watches?
I will make a direct connection in a bit, but my reason has to do with the fact that collecting watches is not unlike collecting cars. Except of course, for the most part, vintage cars are far more expensive than vintage watches (and that includes sales like the Henry Graves Patek that topped $24million recently).
When we collect watches, we look for pedigree, craftsmanship, good design, and an overall interest or feeling. And as I've written before, there are criteria we can use to identify watches that deserve our attention.
In that sense, vintage cars work in exactly the same way. And the car I'd like to discuss is interesting specifically because of its price at the moment: the Ferrari 550.
If one was to describe the characteristics of the most valuable car ever made, the characteristics would be as follows:
- a Ferrari
- front mounted
- manual gearbox
- Red exterior
- Tan interior
The Ferrari GTO, which meets all of that criteria sets a new world record every time it's put up for auction. Most recently, $38million when it was auctioned by Bonhams.
And every subsequent Ferrari that meets that criteria from the 1960's also sells in the millions of dollars.
So, looking at the V12 front-engine Ferrari's of the 70s, one begins to see the same pattern. A Ferrari Daytona which could have been bough for under $300k a few years ago, is consistently cracking the $1million mark.
A 365 GTC/4 which has never seen its value over $200k, is now easily over $300k.
Looking to the 80's, the main contenders are the Boxer and Testaroosa Ferrari's but those are rear-mounted mid-engine cars and even those are starting to climb.
And then there is the 550 Maranello. The exact same characteristics as the GTO. And in its day, was consistently considered "best in class". But as of this writing, it's still valued under $100k.
This is a car, as Ferrari's flagship when current, sold for $225k. In today's dollars, that is over $320k. You can buy a mint condition 550 for less than a Jaguar (imagine that), or for less than $75k in 1997-2002 dollars.
And it's a solid car. Fast, comfortable, communicative, elegant. A true Ferrari in every sense.
To that end, you heard it hear first, this too will jump in price as it becomes older, and less and less of the 37xx total cars made (for the world) are available. It's already pretty rare in Red/Tan and completely under the radar.
And what about the connection with watches?
Turns out the Tachometer in the 550 is made by Jaeger LeCoultre.