Iconic 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider joins RM Sotheby’s Italian auction

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1961 Ferrari 250GT SWB California Spider
The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider sale could go into eight figures | RM Sotheby’s
The sale of the rare FerrariCalifornia Spider sale could go into eight figures | RM Sotheby’s

A pristine 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider, one of just 16 “open headlight” versions produced, headlines RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba auction May 23 during the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este weekend on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy.

The recent consignment of perhaps the most-iconic of all Ferrari road cars leads a collection 17 classic and contemporary Ferraris that dominate the sale offering 40 exclusive European cars (and a couple of vintage speed boats) at the Villa Erba auction.

RM Sotheby’s does not provide a value estimate for the California Spider, but the current Hagerty Price Guide places it between $9.7 million and $12.4 million.

The 1950 Ferrari 195 Inter Berlinetta is gorgeously styled
The 1950 Ferrari 195 Inter Berlinetta is gorgeously styled

“The words ‘California Spider’ are synonymous with ‘La Dolce Vita’ and the finest motoring experience that can be imagined,” Peter Wallman, car specialist at RM Sotheby’s, said in a news release. “Perhaps the most beautiful convertible car ever made, and featuring the powerful Colombo designed 3.0-litre V12 engine, this spacious and versatile two-seat sports car with racecar performance is the ultimate road-going Ferrari of all time.”

The Ferrari offerings range from such early models as a rare and spectacular 1950 Ferrari 195 Inter Berlinetta and a lovely 1952 Ferrari 212 Export Barchetta by Touring, to more recent supercars, such as a 1991 F40, 2002 Enzo and a 2015 458 Speciale A.

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Some of the other special offerings at the RM Sotheby’s sale include a beautiful 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Villa d’Este Coupé by Touring, one of just 36 built and the last hand-made Alfa Romeo of its era, and a classic, award-winning 1930 Minerva AL Cabriolet, the sole survivor of this model.

For more information and a digital catalog, see Villa Erba auction.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.