Ferrari Auction Sets 16.4 Million Record

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08/23/2011 01:30 PM ET

A 1957 red Ferrari was auctioned off for a record 16.4 million at Gooding and Co. on Aug. 20. The car was the first Testa Rossa built, and served as the prototype for Testa Rossa race cars. It has a 300-horsepower 3.0-liter V-12 engine and a four-speed manual transmission.

The same Ferrari competed in the Le Mans 24-hour race, won first place in the 2006 Concours d'Elegance, where classic cars that are on the auction block are judged based on their looks and condition.

The record was the highest amount ever paid for an auto at an auction. ''The ultra-rich remain ultra-rich,'' Swiss-based Ferrari historian Marcel Massini told the Sydney Morning Herald. ''The very, very best sells easily and incredibly high.'' The actual buyer went unidentified.

The previous record for a car sold at auction was the $12 million sale of another 1957 Testa Rossa in Maranello, Italy in 2009. The price paid on Saturday includes a 10 percent fee for Gooding and Company, according to CNNMoney. “In an era when cash returns practically less than the rate of inflation, investing in tangible assets like automobiles brings you better returns,” said Dave Kinney, contributor to Automobile magazine. “And they give you more satisfaction.”

The 1957 Ferrari begins a new chapter with a 16.4 million record. Other cars at the auction included, a 1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe owned by Sammy Davis Jr. and a 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom, both of which went unsold. Gooding sold Steve McQueen’s black 1931 Brough Superior SS80 motorcycle for $176,000, compared with the presale estimate of $100,000 to $200,000.

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