FEB 06th 2014

Phil Hill's Testa Rossa becomes UK’s most expensive car

An unrestored 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa once driven by Phil Hill and Peter Collins has reportedly sold for £24 million, making it the most expensive car ever sold in the UK.

If the current state of the classic car market tells us anything it’s that provenance and originality is king. We’ve long-since passed the point where to restore something like a classic racing Ferrari – which hitherto bore all the markings of its competition career – back to as-new condition would be to greatly diminish its value.

The case of this Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, recently sold by renowned Derbyshire luxury and performance car dealer Tom Hartley, reinforces the point. Ferrari historian Marcel Massini described the car as ‘one of the top five Ferraris on the planet’. He added: ‘It is so valuable because it is totally unmolested and not restored, genuine and very original. It also comes with a fantastic history which is most important.’

With another highly significant Ferrari – this time an ex-Scuderia 375-plus – due to be sold by Bonhams at this year’s Festival of Speed, Mr Massini continued: ‘I believe the Ferrari market will continue to go up as more and more wealthy people need to reinvest their cash but there are not many more top quality cars available.’

The car’s new owner has been kept confidential by Tom Hartley, who also stopped-short of divulging the actual price, although ‘well-placed sources’ reckon the figure to be in excess of £24.1 million.

The car itself ran as high as second place in its Le Mans debut in 1957, but failed to finish. After that though, it won the 1000km of Buenos Aires as well as the 12 hours of Sebring, both in the hands of Hill and Collins. It was later sold to an American customer who continued to enjoy success with it in the States. In 1967 it was donated to the Henry Ford museum in Michigan, where it stayed for 30 years before being sold in 1997. To this day it remains in original, unrestored condition.

Although the rate at which values are climbing for certain cars must level-out at some point (the HAGI index, which tracks the market, estimates the classic Ferrari market has increased fourfold over the past decade), there is clearly no indication of it happening just yet.

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