September 22, 2023

RM Sotheby’s expert says the Ferrari collection could fetch $15 million at auction

florida ferraris auctioned by rm sotheby's

Storm-damaged 20-Ferrari Horde goes up for auctionRM Sotheby’s

Had the world forgotten about this incredible Ferrari stock? In August 2004, Hurricane Charley swept through Florida, killing a barn near Kissimmee. A cascade of beams and debris rained down on the dormant collection, which was badly damaged with some collapsed roofs and shattered windshields. These Ferraris were literally exposed to the world and briefly made headlines amid the hurricane coverage, but soon disappeared again.

The Ferraris were assembled and owned by a Florida real estate developer named Walter Medlin who got into trouble with the Internal Revenue Service in the 1990s. The IRS confiscated three of the cars for default: a relatively nondescript 1976 308 GTB, as well as some very historic racers, a 1966 P3 and a 1967 P4. The collection fluctuated over time: around 1978, it had a 250 GTO and a 250 GT California Roadster in it.

The collection was still fantastic, whether you took a few Ferraris, when the roof collapsed in 2004. The remaining 20 cars, still showing their hurricane damage, will be auctioned separately, without reservations, on August 17 by RM Sotheby’s during Car Week in Monterey, California. Thatcher Keast, a car specialist at RM Sotheby’s, said in an interview that he expects the Italian exotics to fetch $15 million. Sotheby’s confirmed that the GTO had been sold a long time ago.

“The collection has been in Indiana for a decade, across the street from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Keast said. “They’re still covered in dust, sitting on flat tires and not running, basically as they were when the shed collapsed on them.” Sotheby’s even plans to recreate the collapsed barn in Monterey, displaying the cars in an “as found” diorama, complete with fallen beams.

florida ferraris auctioned by rm sotheby's

This 1966 Scaglietti Ferrari 275 GTB was on display at the Turin Motor Show.RM Sotheby’s

“This is the native language of barn finds,” said Tom Cotter, host of Barn Find Hunter and the author of numerous books on the art of rediscovering classic cars. “I don’t see how you could ever collect such a collection on Earth again. It’s what dreams are made of, and why I keep opening doors and finding rusty Corvairs and Renaults.”

Bill Warner, founder of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, said Car week he visited the collection several times when it was still in Florida, and he remembers the cars sitting on sand floors amid pigeon droppings. He describes Medlin as “pleasant but very private.” Warner adds: “I told him to move the cars to a better building as this could blow over in a hurricane – which it did.”

There is no holy grail GTO in the collection now, but there is no shortage of spectacular cars. The Ferrari likely to get the highest bids according to Keast is a 1966 Scaglietti 275 GTB that was on display at the Turin Motor Show. He was also ridden in the 1966 Targa Florio with Luciano Conti (publisher of the Italian Auto sprintmagazine) together with co-pilot Vittorio Venturi.

The “long nose” 275 GTB was the first to be fitted with both six carburettors and a lightweight aluminum body. While certainly a bit rough, Keast said it suffered no significant collapse damage and is one of the better-preserved cars in the collection.

Also very noteworthy is a 1956 Pinin Farina 250 GT Coupé Special with Superamerica-style bodywork. The first owner was King Mohammed V of Morocco. The paint is very weathered, but the traces of the two-tone scheme – Celeste with a Nero roof – are still visible. The V-12 matches numbers.

Pinin Farina’s 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial is actually a very battered and stripped body. But some parts, including a transmission, rear end and two axles, will be included, as well as an engine that may or may not be original to the car – research is ongoing. The original pilot was ex-Scuderia Ferrari driver Franco Cortese. During the 1954 Mille Miglia, together with a co-driver, he took fourth place in class and fourteenth place overall. The car was then re-styled by Scaglietti and raced again, including at the 1956 Targa Florio.

The 512 BB Competizione was one of three ready to compete in the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was entered by Luigi Chinetti Sr.’s North American Racing Team (NART), driven by Jacques Guérin, Jean -Pierre Delauney and Gregg Young. He retired after 19 hours and 232 laps. “It still carries all the colors of that race,” Keast said.

florida ferraris auctioned by rm sotheby's

This 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Speciale was one of four built by Pinin Farina in 1956 with a Superamerica style body.RM Sotheby’s

Now that that 308 has been confiscated by the IRS, there are very few run-of-the-mill Ferraris left in the collection. The full lineup of cars, called the Lost & Found Collection:

  • Ferrari 512 BB Competition from 1978

  • Ferrari 275 GTB from 1966 by Scaglietti

  • 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupé Speciale by Pinin Farina

  • 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Coupé Series I by Pinin Farina

  • 330 GTS from 1967 from Pininfarina

  • Pinin Farina’s 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider

  • Ferrari 275 GTS from 1965 by Pininfarina

  • Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso from 1964 by Scaglietti

  • Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta from 1971 by Scaglietti

  • Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta from 1972 by Scaglietti

  • Ferrari D
    ino 206 GT from 1968 by Scaglietti

  • 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Coupé Series II by Pinin Farina

  • 365 GTC/4 from 1972 by Pininfarina

  • 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Series II by Pininfarina

  • 1976 Ferrari 308 GTB ‘Vetroresina’ by Scaglietti

  • Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 from 1969 by Pininfarina

  • 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Series I by Pininfarina

  • Ferrari 512 BB from 1980

  • Ferrari Testarossa from 1991

  • Ferrari 400 automatic from 1977

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