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2014 Pebble Beach: Ford GT40 concept car sells for $6.9 million

The rare GT40 prototype, built for Carroll Shelby, had been expected to go as high as $10 million
After Thursday's soft Ferrari GTO sale, the GT40 number is a second auction disappointment

A rare 1965 Ford GT40 concept car has sold for more $6.9 million at Monterey Car Week, a "very good value" in the words of the auctioneer.

RM Auctions had pegged the value at $8 million to $10 million.

The Ford advertised at Friday night's auction as "Lot 134, 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype, Chassis GT/108" was a rare example of the 380-horsepower, V-8 race car.

It was the first of only six GT40 Roadsters built, according to RM Auctions' historical record, and the only one to have survived in its original form.

Built as a test vehicle for famed auto racer and designer Carroll Shelby, the car was driven by Shelby and race legends Ken Miles and Jim Clark. It was also a 2003 Concours D'Elegance award winner.

Car historian Ronnie Spain, author of the book "GT 40: An Individual History and Race Record," had extolled this specific version of the limited series, calling it "one of the finest, and certainly rarest, examples of the Ford GT40 in existence."

That didn't stir many buyers. During the auction at the Portola Hotel and Spa in downtown Monterey, the bidding opened at $4 million, leapt in one bid to $5 million, and in a few short hops was at $6 million.

But then the momentum slowed. It took plucky auctioneer Max Girardo several minutes to coax bidders higher. "It seems a very good value to me," he said.

In the end, it was an unidentified bidder phoning in his offer that took the car, at $6.3 million. The final price of $6.9 million includes buyer's fees, a 10% commission.

Another rare car brought in less than many expected earlier this week -- though it set a record for the highest price ever paid at auction. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for more than $38 million on Thursday, including buyer's fees, breaking the previous high of nearly $30 million. 

But some of the foremost experts in the classic car world had expected the rare car to bring as much as $60 million or $70 million.

An hour after the GT40 sale, another 1964 Ferrari 250 LM sold for $11.55 million, only slightly below what RM had expected it bring.

Hagerty’s Insurance, which insures and tracks classic-car values, has estimated that the week's gavel action could see at least $450 million in classic cars auctioned off, compared with $312 million last year.

As of Friday, auction totals for the week stood at $176.3 million, with many of the most expensive automobiles still set to go under the gavel Saturday and Sunday. 

Follow me on Twitter: @misterfleming

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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