Pick of the Day: ’63 Ferrari California replica looking like 14 million bucks

The fiberglass doppelgänger by Modena is like the joy-ride car in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’

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Modena replicated one of the most-desirable of Ferrari sports cars

While faux versions of extraordinary vintage cars are generally mocked as unworthy, some transcend the curse, such as the better pro-built examples replicating Shelby Cobras and Porsche Speedsters.  Then there’s this replica of one of the greatest Ferraris, which takes on a life of its own mainly because of a popular Hollywood film.

While the ad in ClassicCars.com is headlined “1963 Ferrari 250 GT for sale,” the first line of the ad tells the whole story, that the Pick of the Day is actually a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider replica, one of about 50 built by Modena Design in El Cajon, California. 

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These Modenas were well-regarded fiberglass replicas in their day, looking like the most-exotic of Italian motorcars while being powered by durable and easy-to-maintain American engines and drivetrains.  And available at a fraction of the cost of the real thing.

But these replicas really hit their stride when it became known that the joy-ride 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California seen (and “killed”) in the popular 1986 movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was not a real example but one of these Modena replicas.  Actually, three Modenas were used in the film, one for closeup “hero” shots, one for driving sequences and one to show plummeting out of a showy glass-walled garage into a deep gorge.

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modena

Of those three movie cars, one was restored and endowed with high-performance improvements by one of the past owners of Modena Design that originally built the car.

That Modena sold at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction in January for a lofty $396,000, no doubt enhanced by its movie career. Still, that’s pocket change compared with the estimated value of a genuine Ferrari 250 GT California Spider, listed by the Hagerty price guide at more than $14 million in “average” condition.

This Modena is advertised for way less than the movie Modena, with an asking price of $74,500, yet it sounds in the ad like a cool sports car in good condition that can be driven and enjoyed while totally impressing anyone who sees you cruising past.  And without the mind-numbing risk of taking a $14 million Ferrari California out on the road.

“This car is stunning in condition and appearance, and absolutely exhilarating to drive, show, admire and cherish,” says the Monroe, New Jersey, dealer advertising the Modena on Classic Cars.com. 

The car is equipped with a 5.0-liter Ford V8 engine with four 2-barrel carburetors, a T5 5-speed manual transmission, 11-inch front and 10-inch rear vented disc brakes and 4-wheel adjustable coil-over suspension.  The interior is furnished in Connolly leather, with Winton wool carpet and a Nardi wood steering wheel. Exterior trim includes a Hartz convertible top with matching boot, “correct” wire wheels with spinners and fog lights.

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In the specs with the ad, the car is said to have just 4,656 miles on its odometer, but no mention of that ultra-low mileage is noted in the text.  Also, the Modena is shown with a Ferrari badge on its hood and Ferrari script on its trunk lid, which Modenas did not originally have for obvious legal reasons.

modena

The asking price is a tiny sum when compared with the value of a real one.  You do the math.  Just don’t be that guy who tries to pass it off as the genuine article.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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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.

1 COMMENT

  1. Bob, your going to get me in trouble. I just might have to own this car. I already have a Superformance Cobra and a real Ford GT. This would look good in the room with them.

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