Monterey Car Week kicks off on Friday, August 12, and the peninsula will be lousy with multi-million-dollar cars. Many will be unique, or in uniquely beautiful condition. And then, at Mecum’s Monterey auction, there will be a collection of four homely, hacked-up Ferraris—a stark, perhaps jarring contrast to the pristine, sparkling metal found elsewhere during Car Week. They might not be pretty, but these four—individually, but more so as a group—might be the singular event in Monterey. An unprecedented gathering of one-of-one moments in the history of some of the greatest cars in the world—and, as Frank Mecum, the auction house’s consignment director, told us, perhaps a ready-made magnum opus for a Ferrari super-collector.
But first, let’s look at what these Ferraris are—and are not. All are prototypes—three used to develop the LaFerrari, and one used to develop the F12tdf (Tour de France). Of course, the LaFerrari was Modena’s first road-going hybrid, backing up its already superlative 789-hp V-12 engine with a 161-hp electric motor. To make this novel powertrain package work, Ferrari needed to create and test many iterations. That includes the “first family” mule from 2011, with altered 458 Italia bodywork and a modified chassis, progressing all the way up to the 2014 PS1 pre-series car with near-production bodywork and a finalized drivetrain. At least they’re all arguably more attractive than the last LaFerrari prototype that came up for sale.
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None of these are street legal nor can be made street legal. That takes them into another class of collectable. They are “giant pieces of art,” Mecum tells us. And they’d each provide an owner with an excuse to tell friends or family visiting the collection “a riveting story about what they [are], how you got them. All collectors, that’s one of their favorite things to do.”
What a story they’d tell if all were parked side-by-side, perhaps flanked by the production Ferraris they helped spawn. Rarity is (ironically enough) a common attribute in the world of high-end automobiles—famous owners, low VINs, unusual color combinations. But true exclusivity, true scarcity, is rarer. Being able to point to a car whose entire existence was validating a set of components to help build the production car parked next to it—that’s a story. And a snapshot. Not one that most people—even people who own multiple Ferraris—can manage to tell.
That will likely make the chase for these cars that much more appealing. It’s the best part of owning a collector’s car for many people, Mecum included. “When you’re collecting anything, it’s more than acquiring it. It was the hunt to acquire it.”
Any of these would serve as an epic trophy of that hunt. One popping up for sale in a single massive auction like Mecum’s Monterey show would be notable. Four, at the same time? Unprecedented—and a remarkable opportunity for a motivated bidder with room in their garage and a significant supply of liquid funds.
It’ll be interesting to see how much these sell for—and to who. All cross the block on Saturday, August 20.
Ferrari Prototype Collection
- 2011 Ferrari LaFerrari Prototype M4
- 2012 Ferrari LaFerrari Prototype MP1
- 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari Prototype PS1
- 2014 Ferrari F12tdf Prototype MP4
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