Baby, you can drive my car. And buy it, too! On July 12, Bonhams will auction off John Lennon’s very first car, a Ferrari 330GT Coupé, during the Festival of Speed in Goodwood, England. The sports car is expected to fetch between $275,000-338,000.
Lennon bought this sky-blue right-hand-drive Ferrari 330GT 2+2 Coupé for £6,500 back in 1965 (equivalent to close to $170,000 nowadays). The late Beatle kept it and drove it all over the place for three years. Repainted and revamped several times since then, the car was eventually restored to its original specs by its current owner, and will go under the hammer in all its original glory.
In addition to Lennon’s treasured Ferrari, several historic racing cars will be going under the hammer at this highly exceptional auction, starting with Juan-Manuel Fangio’s Mercedes W196, estimated at several million pounds. Bearing the chassis number 00006/54, this is the very car he drove to victory in the German and Swiss Grand Prix races in 1954. This legendary speedster, which brought the Argentine driver his second world championship that year, was innovative for its fuel-injected engine and all-independent suspension.
Bonhams to sell the Ferrari that was John Lennon’s first car
Ex-John Lennon, 1965 Ferrari 330GT 2+2 Coupé
9 May 2013 — The Ferrari personally selected by Beatles singer/songwriter John Lennon as his first car is the latest important motor car to join the line-up for the Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, UK, on Friday 12th July.
In February 1965 The Beatles recorded Ticket to Ride – a song that would become one of their biggest hits, topping both the UK and US singles charts. By happy coincidence, that same month, the news that Lennon had passed his driving test made headlines across the country. Within hours, the road outside the security gates of his Kenwood home in Weybridge, Surrey, was jammed with Maseratis, Aston Martins, and the Jaguar E-type, as luxury car dealerships – hungry for business – spotted an opportunity to secure a high-profile client.
The singer, by then a father to 22-month-old Julian by his first wife Cynthia, strolled out to inspect the cars and chose a right-hand drive Ferrari 330GT 2+2 Coupé finished in Azzuro blue paint, with a blue interior, priced at £6,500 (equivalent to just over £110,000 in today’s money).
Motor vehicles were to become a passion for Lennon, none more so than this Ferrari, which he used for the best part of three years – until October 1967 – covering more than 20,000 miles.
By the late 1980s, this special car was with the famous Modena Ferrari dealership, from where it was acquired by its current owner. Painted red and separated from its number plate, it was then lovingly restored to its original specification.
Offered for sale by Bonhams with its original DUL 4C registration restored by the DVLA, this matching-numbers motor car is one of only 500 of its type built and is estimated to realize between £180,000 and £220,000 at the auction. It is offered for sale along with an extensive history file documenting its provenance and restoration, which also includes correspondence with Lennon.
Sholto Gilbertson, Senior Specialist in the Bonhams Motor Car Department, said: “It is a wonderful commentary on the early excitement generated by ‘Beatlemania’ that John Lennon didn’t even have to leave his house to buy his first car.
“We are delighted to be offering a car associated with such an icon of contemporary popular culture at the first of our Goodwood series of auctions in 2013. Already our Festival of Speed Sale is shaping up to potentially eclipse last year’s record-breaking total.”
Joining the John Lennon Ferrari at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale are a number of other important motor cars, including the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 in which five-times Formula 1 World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio won two grands prix on his way to his second World Drivers’ Championship.
Among other cars on offer are the 1955 Maserati 300S Sports-Racing Spider that finished third in the 1955 Sebring 12-Hours (estimate £3.5 million – £4.5 million); a 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 ‘Le Mans’ Tourer (estimate £1.4 million – £1.8 million); and an example of the ultimate Ferrari from the 1960s – the 1966 Ferrari 500 Superfast – that is one of only six right-hand drive models made (estimate £800,000 – £1 million). Only 37 Ferrari 500 Superfasts were built, each to the highest possible specification, encompassing the ultimate in performance, luxury and presence and equipped to each client’s individual expectations.
The Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale is known for attracting top prices for Ferraris, with a right-hand drive Ferrari Classiche-certified 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS Spyder selling for a world auction record £561,500 last year.