If you like your Ferrari purchases to have only delivery miles on them, this sale might be for you.
What RM Sotheby’s is calling the Factory Fresh Collection includes 17 Ferraris, many barely driven, as well as a rare Jaguar XJ220 supercar, a highly desirable E-Type roadster, and a Bentley Turbo R Drophead Coupé. The auction takes place at Marlborough House in London on Nov. 4, coinciding with the famous London to Brighton run for pre-1905 veteran cars the next day.
The star of the collection is probably the 1994 Ferrari 512 TR Spider, just one of three built that year, and the only one in its combination of Blu Cobalto paint and Blu Scuro Connolly leather interior. The odometer shows just 570 kilometres (354 miles). In keeping with the as-delivered theme, the car comes with its service book, technical manual, and a spare key. Provided it’s been serviced for the road, the owner will in effect be getting a new car. The estimate is £2.1 million to £2.7 million (US$2.56 million to US$3.3 million).
“This a truly remarkable collection,” Peter Haynes, RM Sotheby’s marketing and communications director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), tells Penta. “There are some very rare cars in their own right, but the standout feature across the majority of the cars is the very low mileage—barely driven in some cases. My personal highlights include the 1994 Ferrari 512 TR Spyder which is one of just three in existence, in addition to the 1992 Ferrari Mondial T, which reads a hardly believable one kilometre on the odometer.”There are two other 512 TRs in the collection, a 1992 (also blue) and a second 1992 in U.K. specification (right-hand drive) with only 3,904 miles recorded. The first of these has a high estimate of £275,000 and the second £320,000.
The 1990 Ferrari Testarossa has a surreal 160 kilometres, and is one of just 438 built in right-hand drive. The high estimate is £200,000. The 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina (high estimate £350,000) was one of 48 built with drive on the right side, and has traveled only 220 kilometers. One of the two 2008 599 GTB Fioranos has covered only 267 kilometers—making it one of the lowest-mileage in existence. Its high estimate is £180,000.
Other Ferraris in the collection with their recorded mileage: 1994 Mondial T Coupé (one kilometre); 1992 348 TS (130 kilometres); a second 1992 348 TS (179 kilometres); 2007 F430 (104 kilometres); 1994 348 GTB (181 kilometres); 1983 400i (2,743 miles). A highly admired earlier Ferrari is a numbers-matching 1973 Dino 246 GTS by Scaglietti. Its high estimate is £450,000.
Non-Ferraris include a very rare 1993 Jaguar XJ220, one of 282 produced. In keeping with the sale, it shows only 46 miles on the odometer. It’s been recently recommissioned for spirited driving, and is high-estimated at £425,000. A 1969 Jaguar Series 2 E-Type Roadster is also being auctioned, as is a 1991 Bentley Turbo R Drophead Coupé. The Bentley convertible, which is just out of extensive refurbishment by London specialist P&A Wood, has a high estimate of £475,000.
Buyers have the choice of keeping these cars in the garage—and preserving their low-mileage status—or forgetting about all that and driving them with alacrity.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’
Concern about electric vehicles’ appeal is mounting as some customers show a reluctance to switch
Auto dealers across many parts of the country say electric vehicles are becoming too hard a sell for buyers worried about the range, reliability and price of these models.
When Paul LaRochelle heard Ford Motor was coming out with an electric pickup truck, the dealer was excited about the prospects for his business.
“We thought we could build a million of them and sell them,” said LaRochelle, a vice president at Sheehy Auto Stores, which sells vehicles from a dozen brands in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
The reality has been less positive. On Sheehy’s car lots, LaRochelle says there is a six- to 12-month supply of EVs, compared with a month of gasoline-powered vehicles.
With automakers set to release a barrage of new electric models in the coming years, concerns are mounting among auto retailers about whether the technology will have broader appeal given that many customers are still reluctant to make the switch.
Battery-powered models have been piling up on car lots, dealers say, as EV sales growth has slowed in the U.S. this year. Car companies have been offering a combination of discounts and lower interest-rate deals in an effort to juice demand. But it hasn’t been enough, because buyer reticence extends beyond the price tag, dealers say.
“I’m not hearing the consumer confidence in the technology,” said Mary Rice, dealer principal at Toyota of Greensboro in North Carolina. “People aren’t beating down the door to buy these things, and they all have a different excuse why they aren’t buying one.”
Customers cite concerns about vehicles burning through a battery charge faster in cold weather or not being able to travel as far as they expected on a single charge, dealers say. Potential buyers also worry that chargers aren’t as readily accessible as gas stations or might be broken.
Franchise dealerships fear that the push to roll out new models will inundate them with hard-to-sell vehicles. Research firm S&P Global Mobility said there are 56 EV models for sale in the U.S. this year, and the number is expected to nearly double to 100 next year.
“I start to think, you know maybe we should just all pump the brakes a little bit,” Rice said.
A group of dealers expressed their concerns about the government’s role in pushing electric vehicles in a letter last month to President Biden.
A Toyota Motor spokesman said the majority of dealers have become “increasingly more confident in their ability to sell Toyota EV products.”
At Ford, the company’s electric-vehicle sales are rising, including for its F-150 Lightning pickup, but demand isn’t evenly spread across the country, according to a spokesman.
Dealers say that after selling an EV, they sometimes hear complaints about charging and the vehicles not always meeting their advertised range. In some cases, customers seek to return them to the dealer shortly after buying them.
“We have a steady number of clients that have attempted to or flat out returned their car,” said Sheehy’s LaRochelle.
While EVs remain a small but rapidly expanding part of the new-car market, the pace of growth has slowed this year. Electric-vehicle sales increased 48% in the first 11 months, compared with a 69% jump during the same period in 2022, according to Motor Intelligence. Sales remain concentrated in a few states, with California accounting for the largest chunk, S&P Global Mobility data found.
The cooling growth has raised broader questions in the industry about whether car companies face a temporary hurdle or a longer-term demand challenge. Automakers have invested billions of dollars to bring more EV models to the market, and many analysts and car executives say they remain optimistic that sales will continue to expand.
“Although the rate of growth has slowed recently, EV demand is clearly moving in the right direction,” said General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra on a recent conference call with analysts. A combination of more affordable model options and better charging infrastructure would help encourage more people to buy electric vehicles, she said.
There are also varying views within the dealer community about how quickly buyers will adopt the technology.In hot spots for electric-vehicle demand, such as Los Angeles, dealers say their battery-powered models are some of their top sellers. Those popular EV markets also tend to have more mature public charging networks.
Selling an electric car or truck outside of those demand centres is proving more difficult.
Longtime EV owner Carmella Roehrig thought she was ready to go full-electric and sold her backup gasoline vehicle. But after the 62-year-old North Carolina resident found herself stranded last year in a rural area of South Carolina, she changed her mind. Roehrig’s Tesla Model S got a flat tire, but none of the stores in the area carried tires for a Tesla. She ended up paying a worker at a nearby shop to drive her home.
Roehrig still has her Tesla but bought a pickup truck for long road trips.
Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.
“I have these conversations with people who say we’ll all be in EVs in 15 years. I say: ‘I’m not so sure. I’ve tried to do it,’” Roehrig said. “I think you need a gas backup.”
Customers who want to ditch their gas vehicle for environmental reasons are sometimes hesitant, said Mickey Anderson, president of Baxter Auto Group, which owns dealerships in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado.
“We’re in the Colorado Springs market. If this is your sole mode of transportation, and you’re in a market in extremes of elevation and temperature, the actual range is very limited,” Anderson said. “It makes it extremely impractical.”
Dealers representing around 4,000 stores across the U.S. signed the letter in November addressed to Biden, saying the administration’s proposed auto-emissions regulations designed to promote electric-vehicle sales are unrealistic. The signatories ranged from stores owned by family businesses to publicly held giants such as AutoNation and Lithia Motors.
“Some customers are in the market for electric vehicles, and we are thrilled to sell them. But the majority of customers are simply not ready to make the change,” the letter said.
Some carmakers are pushing back EV-rollout plans. GM said in mid-October that it would delay the opening of an electric pickup plant by a year to late 2025. In response to weaker-than-expected consumer demand, Ford said in late October that it would defer $12 billion of planned spending on electric-vehicle investment.
Since September, dealers on average took more than two months to sell an EV, compared with 40 days for all vehicles, according to car-shopping website Edmunds.
While discounts have helped boost sales of some electric vehicles, they also have led to repercussions for some current owners because it reduces the value of their vehicles, dealers say.
“Most people don’t have the confidence to buy an EV and know what it will be worth in 10-15 years,” said Rice from the Toyota dealership.
It may take some time for the industry to adjust because it is still in an early stage of switching to electric vehicles, Sheehy’s LaRochelle said.
“We’re asking for this market to grow organically,” he said.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’