Posted by: Jerry Garrett | January 12, 2011

What Would You Pay for John Lennon’s Ferrari?

The Ferrari 330 once owned by Beatle John Lennon. (Bonhams)

What would you pay for a blue 1965 Ferrari 330, once owned by the late John Lennon?

That question will be answered, for some lucky bidder, on February 5 at an auction hosted by Bonhams in Paris.

The British auction house says Lennon bought the Ferrari in 1965 shortly after passing his driving test; he had the 330 GT 2+2 converted to right-hand drive, and then drove it for about a year before selling it (it is currently owned by a private collector, who purchased it from Modena Engineering in the late 1980s and had it restored to its original livery).

While he still owned the Ferrari, Lennon – by all accounts a horrid driver – bought the car for which he is best remembered: A 1965 Rolls Royce Phantom V (the second one he owned); he ultimately had it re-painted with psychedelic designs; that car passed through various other owners until 1985, when Sotheby’s, expecting it to fetch $200,000-$300,000, auctioned it off.

Lennon's Rolls Royce

It sold for a stunning $2.299 million to Ripley International, for display in a “Believe It Or Not” museum. The vehicle was donated some years later to a royal museum in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It seems to make the rounds to other museums these days, on loan.

Lennon also owned a 1958 Bentley S1, painted in a similar motif. It was last seen in a Sarasota, Florida, museum.

The ’65 330 is considered one of the least collectible vintage Ferraris, because its quad headlights and wide grille gave it an odd resemblance to a wide-mouthed bass. Or some other aquatic creature. (Nemo, anyone?)

Bonhams estimates the car (Lot 363, Chassis # 06781 GT Engine no. 06781 GT) could sell for between $155,000-$220,000. That’s almost double what any other ’65 330 might be expected to sell for. Lennon’s brief association with it could be enough to drive the value to a record price for such a vehicle. The celebrity provenance certainly did wonders for the auction price of Lennon’s acid-trip Rolls Royce. (A toilet said to be Lennon’s recently sold for $15,000!)

Celebrity associations work for other collectibles, as well. A 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, once owned by the late Steve McQueen, was auctioned off in 2007 for a record $2.3 million. His motorcycle license sold 18 months ago for $42,700!

Jerry Garrett

January 11, 2011

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Responses

  1. Your expert opinion included here:
    http://blogs.forbes.com/tamarawarren/2011/02/08/brett-ratner-casts-a-steve-mcqueen-style-1963-ferrari-250-gt-lusso/


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