Scots car fanatic to sell 1961 Ferrari for £12m

Lord Irvine Laidlaw's 1961 Ferrari 250 SWB California. Picture: SWNS/Gooding & Company
Lord Irvine Laidlaw's 1961 Ferrari 250 SWB California. Picture: SWNS/Gooding & Company
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ONE of Scotland’s wealthiest car enthusiasts is set to sell a rare Ferrari for almost £12 million in one of the biggest ever public sales.

Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider is regarded by many as the world’s most desirable convertible car.

The striking soft-top has a 3-litre V12 engine which gives it a top speed of more than 150mph.

Chassis 3095 GT, as it is known, is one of just 37 covered headlight examples.

The car’s early history is vague, but it is believed that around 1964/65 it was owned or used by Gunther Sachs, the German playboy who married Brigitte Bardot.

It then spent time in Europe and the USA and is currently owned by Lord Irvine Laidlaw, 71, one of Scotland’s richest men, and one of the UK’s foremost collectors of classic cars.

The tycoon, who has a fortune of more than £700 million and homes in Monaco and South Africa, also owns a Ferrari 250 GTO - which is one of the most valuable and sought-after cars on the planet.

Last year the California was used as the official parade car for Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen at the Belgium Grand Prix.

While a number of 250 GT SWB Californias have undergone pricey restorations, Laidlaw’s car hasn’t, which is likely to increase its desirability.

The California is a favourite among aficionados and the seriously rich.

New Top Gear host Chris Evans bought Hollywood icon James Coburn’s old car at auction in 2008 for a then world record £5.8 million.

Prices have continued to rocket, and Laidlaw has now entered it into Gooding & Co’s prestigious Pebble Beach sale in California on the weekend of August 15.

Laidlaw’s car has been given a guide price of $16 to $18 million (£11.5m), which would put in the top ten most expensive cars ever sold at auction.

Gooding & Co said the car “feels as good as at home on the track as it does showcased in front of your picturesque villa”.

The auction house added: “Unlike many top-tier Ferraris, 3095 GT has not yet been the subject of a full restoration, nor has it made the rounds at various concours d’elegance, offering its new owner the pleasure of being the first to exhibit this 250 Ferrari at the most exclusive international events.”

It is likely to attract a lot of interest at the high profile auction.

John Collins, from classic car dealership Talacrest, said: “The California has a magical appeal and this is a good car, with good provenance.

“They are beautiful-looking Ferraris which, alongside 250 GTOs, look really good in a road car collection.

“I owned one for seven years and it was great. They’ve been fetching big money so it will be interesting to see how it gets on.”

The Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider was also the car which famously featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

In the 1986 film, the car found itself smashed up after being reversed through the back of a house in one of Hollywood’s most famous scenes.

However, it wasn’t a real Ferrari - with studio bosses using a replica instead.

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