Lifeboat Ferraris make millions at auction


The 1960 Ferrari 250GT SWB and 275GTB/4 pair bequeathed to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution by collector Richard Colton has sold for £9,758,320 at H&H Auctions’ Imperial War Museum event at Duxford. 

As expected, the big money was achieved by the collector’s short-wheelbase 250GT, its final price of £7,550,400 easily surpassing pundits’ £5m estimate. The car was ordered new by Colonel Ronnie Hoare and was used to launch Maranello Concessionaires along with its sister car. It was just the second steel-bodied, right-hand-drive example to be delivered, and boasted a number of factory performance upgrades including an uprated engine, gearbox and fuel tank. 

Far from being a show queen, the 250GT had been well used throughout Colton’s ownership, racking up in excess of 66,000 miles. Its top mechanical condition allied to the patina of a life well lived made it a charming proposition. 

It was closely followed by ’10177 GT’, a 1967 275GTB/4 also from Colton’s collection, which fetched an impressive £2,207,920. The car also had history with Maranello Concessionaires, spending its early years as the firm’s demonstrator. It was among the last of 350 four-cam examples built, and Colton bought it in the 1970s. As with the 250GT, he used it extensively for touring Europe and taking part in classic rallies. 

The money raised by the sale of the Ferraris will go to the RNLI, which hopes to spend the money floating two new lifeboats. 

“We are deeply grateful to the Colton Family for this hugely generous gift, the single most valuable we have received,” said James Oxley, RNLI spokesman. "It is a wonderful legacy for the Colton family to know their sad loss will lead directly to the saving of life around Britain’s coasts.”

Away from the headline Ferraris, a Broadspeed XJ12 C that starred in the television series The New Avengers smashed its £10-12,000 pre-sale estimate to sell for a whopping £62,000. Despite needing a full restoration, its rarity and provenance was without question. 

Equally intriguing was a 1971 Aston Martin DBS V8 Sotheby Special, which fell £42,000 short of its £120,000 estimate after being exhumed from more than 40 years in storage. It was the first of three Aston Martin DBS V8 chassis to be re-bodied by Ogle Design and played a starring role at the Montreal Motor Show and Geneva Salon in 1972, though required a great deal of work. 

A 1971 Jaguar E-type once owned by footballer George Best sold on estimate at £43,000. 


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