Journal: How Much Is This Le Mans Test Mule Ferrari 268 SP Worth?

How Much Is This Le Mans Test Mule Ferrari 268 SP Worth?

Andrew Golseth By Andrew Golseth
July 11, 2016
3 comments

They’re a funny thing, those vintage Ferrari sports cars. To think they all had a maximum depreciation point for aging to the status of “outdated” or “crude” mechanical steeds, even more so for the ones that raced. No matter their success in competition, at some point, most were dismissed by collectors for simply being “old”. Is that the word you’d use to describe this car, though?

Abused in brutal endurances, many like it were crashed and hastily repaired or written off entirely. Surely there’s no value in these old battered machines, right? Quite the opposite, if the current market trend is anything to go buy—this stunning 1962 Ferrari 268 SP headed for the upcoming RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction is bound to trade for serious coin once the gavel drops.

After watching a very special 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti fetch a record-setting $35.7 million U.S. earlier this year, it’s tantalizing to think what this Prancing Horse might command next month. But what makes this particular lidless rosso pony so valuable? Well, for starters, its rarity alone is sure to catch wealthy collectors’ notice. Chassis 0798 is the third of just six SP models constructed—one of which no longer exists, making this one of five surviving.

If that wasn’t a small enough stable, this car is one of two that was equipped with an all-alloy 2.6-liter 90-degree V8—the first two digits in the name refer to the model’s engine displacement while the third denotes the number of cylinders—a model assignment formula we wish Maranello would have stuck with. Carlo Chiti took the standard 248 engine and modified its crankshaft to lengthen the stroke, increasing displacement and, subsequently, power. At 7,000 rpm, the SOHC dry sump lubricated V8 fires out 265 horsepower—more than 100 normally aspirated horsepower per liter, in 1962!

This SP visually differs from its four sister cars with a shark shaped snout, a chopped plexiglass panoramic windshield, and a unique low tapered rear clamshell. Built specifically for a new rear-engine layout racing class beginning in 1961, this car became Ferrari’s test mule to further develop aerodynamics and mechanics. Its debut race was the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans where it completed 230 laps before receiving a DNF. Shortly after, the car was sold to Luigi Chinetti, the then owner of the [Ferrari] North American Racing Team (NART).

Mr. Chinetti wheeled this 268 SP for the remaining 1962 season through the 1963 season. Campaigning under NART, the car raced at Bahamas Speed Week, Sebring, and the Canadian Grand Prix. After retiring from contest, the car was added to Pierre Bardinon’s impressive collection, the Mas du Clos, in 1969. After nearly three decades in the Bardinon stable, the car was sold to another collector who flogged the Ferrari at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Cavallino Classic, and displayed the historical racer at the 60th Anniversary Ferrari Concours.

The vintage sports car specialists at Carrozzeria Fantuzzi in Modena restored chassis 0798 to its exact factory specifications and now presents in incredible aesthetic and mechanical condition. This numbers-matching official test mule and NART Ferrari is accompanied by a Ferrari Classiche Certification, supporting the car’s historical authenticity. With rich pedigree, professional restoration, and unrivaled rarity, this old Rosso racer could set yet another auction record.

History
– One of six SP built (one of five remaining/one of two 268 models)
– Official Ferrari Works entry car at the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans
– Official NART racecar driven by Luigi Chinetti

Specifications
~265 horsepower aluminum 2.6-liter 90-degree SOHC V8 with four Weber carburetors, five-speed manual transmission, independent coil spring wishbone suspension with telescopic shock absorbers, and four wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2320 mm.

Vehicle information
Chassis no.: 0798
Engine no.: 0798

Valuation
Auction house: Sotheby’s
Estimate: (Upon Request)
Price realized: Auction on August 19/20

Tim Scott Fluid Images © 2016 courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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