Passion

Memories to last a lifetime

Memories to last a lifetime

More than 300 things made by Ferrari. From 1950s metal cars to driver's manuals for rare cars like the 166MM. From the turbines from an F40 to very rare signed letters by Enzo Ferrari. All for sale at an auction held by Sotheby's for serious fans
Words

Vincenzo Borgomeo

Passion, nay love, for Ferrari knows no limits. RM Sotheby’s has begun Open Roads, Fall (rmsothebys.com), an auction of over 300 lots of Ferrari collectibles. There’s still time, until 20 November, to take home a piece of Ferrari history from a spellbinding sale that – as is increasingly the case with everything now – is taking place totally online.

An exquisitely manufactured half-scale Ferrari 500 F2 by Carrozzeria G. Berti of Jesi, Italy ca. 1950. This one-off children's car features multiple speed transmission, hydraulic drum brakes, and dashboard fitted with wood-rim steering wheel and a vintage Veglia speedometer <em>Photo: Courtesy of RM Sotheby's</em>
An exquisitely manufactured half-scale Ferrari 500 F2 by Carrozzeria G. Berti of Jesi, Italy ca. 1950. This one-off children's car features multiple speed transmission, hydraulic drum brakes, and dashboard fitted with wood-rim steering wheel and a vintage Veglia speedometer Photo: Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Sotheby’s are calling them ‘rare and exciting items’ and they’re not wrong. What’s for sale is a cornucopia of little tokens of love for the car maker from Maranello. There’s a ceramic ashtray with a Nardi steering wheel and the Ferrari logo. There are posters, old diaries, even press releases and jacks for changing tyres. They may be simple objects, but they’ve been preserved as if they were ancient relics, as you can tell by the incredible state they’re in (they all look brand-new).

But of course, there are also gold threads among the silver, like artistic ornaments bedecked with the Ferrari logo, Schedoni leather goods originally sold as optional accessories to GTs, and original brochures. There are also some beautiful exhaust pipes, turbines from an F40 (which look more like sculptures than engine pieces) and a postcard of the F1 signed by Enzo Ferrari and Michele Alboreto. Equally spectacular are an original helmet from the 1961 Scuderia Ferrari F1 and a watch made in limited series by Girard Perregaux for the Ferrari F50. Not to mention the original versions for some cars (virgin versions, if you will, ready to be engraved to recreate the models with their original spare parts).

A rare Ferrari 212 Inter, 250 MM, 340 Mexico, 342 America owner's manual, 1952, signed on the first page by Juan Manuel Fangio, Carroll Shelby, Stirling Moss, Luigi Chinetti, Enzo Ferrari, Dan Gurney, Phill Hill, and Sergio Scaglietti. On top a Ferrari 250 GT owner's manual set with leather folio signed on the inside by Luigi Chinetti, Phil Hill, Sergio Scaglietti, and Jacques Swaters <em>Photo: Courtesy of RM Sotheby's</em>
A rare Ferrari 212 Inter, 250 MM, 340 Mexico, 342 America owner's manual, 1952, signed on the first page by Juan Manuel Fangio, Carroll Shelby, Stirling Moss, Luigi Chinetti, Enzo Ferrari, Dan Gurney, Phill Hill, and Sergio Scaglietti. On top a Ferrari 250 GT owner's manual set with leather folio signed on the inside by Luigi Chinetti, Phil Hill, Sergio Scaglietti, and Jacques Swaters Photo: Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

These are not only attractive from a collector’s point of view; they can actually be put to practical use. If you’ve got a Daytona in the garage and want duplicate keys, then you’re all set. And if you don’t, then there are period key rings, with chrome-plated rings and enamelled coats of arms with the Prancing Horse. These are also new, some of them even in their original paper tissue wrapping.

The driver’s and maintenance manuals are a whole other story. They’re practically absent from modern cars, replaced by instructions in multimedia systems, but once upon a time they were essential if you wanted to know how your car worked. Here RM Sotheby’s is offering manuals of the greatest value, for the Ferrari 166 Inter, 166 MM, 195 Inter, 212 Export, and 340 America, for instance. These very rare driver’s and maintenance manuals show that even back in the day, Ferrari took care of everything. The maintenance information, tickets and little dismantling and assembly operations are perfect, full of detail, drawings and plans.

A Ferrari Super America friction metal tin toy; late &lsquo;50s from Japan <em>Photo: Courtesy of RM Sotheby's</em>
A Ferrari Super America friction metal tin toy; late ‘50s from Japan Photo: Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

The most popular objects, of course, are the collectible models. There’s everything, in plastic, metal and ceramic. There are collector’s ultimate dreams, like the Monogram 275P in 1:24 scale, complete with its original box. And there’s no shortage of vintage Children’s Cars, either, represented here by two pieces of rare beauty: a Ferrari 180 Testa Rossa Children’s and a 330 P2. The first has finesse in its aluminium body and spoked wheels (even if the proportions, as often with pedal cars, are not exactly perfect), and the second is quite simply a masterpiece. It’s no coincidence that it was built by the French makers De La Chapelle, who became famous around the world for their replicas of the Bugatti (in full scale). It’s a perfect replica of the car that ran at Monza, the Nürburgring and the Targa Florio. However, to excite the little ones, besides a wooden steering wheel and leather seats it also has a combustion engine linked up to a continuously variable transmission.

Finally, there are objects of unique historical value, which will drive fans bananas, like, close correspondence between Ferrari and the most exclusive racing teams, importers, dealers and customers. Among the various papers there are a few between Drake and the private teams that raced with Ferraris. Some of the writers want to be told when a new model is out, some want advice on how to be more competitive, and some ask for machines to keep in the garage for certain races. And to each of these letters, Enzo Ferrari responds personally, setting out the reasons for his answer point by point. And he never skimps on the details that historians and collectors love so much.
 

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