There isn’t much that pushes the price of a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 higher than the millions they already command at auction. Steve McQueen ownership does.
RM Auctions announced Friday that it’s bringing to its annual Monterey auction the brilliant red Ferrari that counts "The King of Cool" as its very first owner. The car is fully restored and in perfect running order. It could fetch at least $9 million when it rolls on stage in August.
"When it comes to cars with celebrity provenance, it doesn’t get any better than a Ferrari owned by Steve McQueen," Max Girardo, managing director of RM Auctions’ Europe office, said in a statement. "We’re both honored and excited to have been entrusted with the sale of this special car by its owner."
McQueen ordered the car through a Hollywood dealer in 1967 while he was filming "The Thomas Crown Affair." Though it was originally gold, the actor had the 275 GTB/4 painted Chianti Red. He also added the Borrani wire wheels from the 275 GTB NART Spider he had recently crashed (and unsuccessfully tried to replace).
After making a few other minor changes to the car (custom-designed driver’s side mirror, retractable radio antenna, unique seat trim), the car was delivered new to McQueen while he was on set filming ‘Bullitt.’ He would own the car until 1971, when he sold the car to fellow actor Guy Williams, of ‘Zorro’ fame, RM said.
After Williams, the car passed through a handful of owners, before the current owner commissioned a complete restoration in 2010. For the past year, this 275 GTB/4 has been on display at Ferrari’s own museum in Maranello, Italy.
The 275 GTB/4 has a 3.3-liter V-12 engine that makes around 300 horsepower. The 4 in the name denotes that it is a later version of the 275 with a four-cam engine instead of the original two. The coupe body style designed by Pininfarina has long been considered one of the most iconic and classic Ferraris built.
In pristine condition, a 275 GTB/4 can sell for between $2 million and $3 million. But because this car was first owned by McQueen, RM Auctions estimates it could sell for at least $9 million when the company offers it during the two-day sale on August 15 and 16.
While many classic cars have notable celebrity owners, it often doesn’t affect the value of the car in a meaningful way. Yet McQueen’s cars and motorcycles are the exception, often selling at auction for three to four times their non-McQueen value.
At RM’s Monterey sale we’ll find out just how much McQueen ownership is worth. In addition to the actor’s Ferrari, a nearly identical red 1967 275 GTB/4 will also be on the auction block -- one without the actor’s name on the original build sheet.