Lennon’s Ferrari heads to auction

By Susan Sliwicki

Baby, you can drive John Lennon’s car — so long as you bring enough cash along for the ride.

Lennon’s Azzuro 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 coupe — the first car the Beatle bought after passing his driving test in 1965 — will be among the lots at Bonhams Feb. 5, 2011, auction at the Grand Palais in Paris.

“Lennon’s Ferrari … how cool is that?” reads the description in Bonhams online auction catalogue.

The blue coupe carries a pre-sale estimate $155,000 to $220,000 (120,000 to 170,000 Euros), significantly more than same-model Ferraris have brought at auction in recent years. A restored 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Series II with a V12 engine sold for $82,500, including buyer’s premium, at the 2007 Monterey Sports & Classic Car auction. That’s just under the $85,000 to $125,000 pre-sale estimate, according to auction results posted at collectorcarz.com. A red, left-hand-drive 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Series I brought $55,000, including buyer’s premium, at the 2009 Sports & Classics auction, well below its pre-sale estimate of $65,000 to $85,000. Of course, those cars weren’t owned by a Beatle.

The right-hand drive car came with a blue interior, matched blue carpets, light gray headlining, a Webasto sunroof and overdrive, according to factory records. Ferarri notes, which list Lennon as a resident in London with a home city of Liverpool, indicate Lennon bought the car April 20, 1965. It bore the UK license plate DUL 4C, which also is included in the lot.

In the biography “John Lennon-A Life,” Philip Norman recounts Lennon’s first car purchase. “In February 1965, John passed his driving test, an event that made headline news across the nation. Within hours, every luxury car dealership in the Weybridge area, hoping for business, jammed the road outside Kenwood’s security gates with Maseratis, Aston Martins and Jaguar XK-E. John strolled out to inspect this gleaming smorgasbord, eventually selecting a £2,000 light blue Ferrari.”

This isn’t the first time Lennon’s Ferrari has been on the market. On Nov. 12, 1965, The Autocar Magazine recorded this offering from Brydon Cars: “Ferrari 330 GT fixed-head coupe. 2+2 opalescent silver blue, electric windows, 3,000 miles. Ex-property of John Lennon MBE,” according to the auction background from Bonhams.

The provenance of Lennon’s former Ferrari is unclear after that point, but it was with Modena Engineering by the late 1980s, from whom the current owner purchased the car, according to the sale description.

But it’s iffy just how much of the imprint Lennon left on the car actually remains with it. The Ferrari, which had been repainted red and was in poor shape, underwent a comprehensive restoration to original specifications, although the paint color is a deeper blue than the original, Bonhams catalog said.


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