Ferrari's First 250 GT SWB California Spider Is Headed to Auction

ferrari 250 gt swb california spider
This Crazy-Rare Ferrari Is Going to AuctionCourtesy of RM Sotheby's

Monterey Car Week may still be more than two months away, but that's not stopping auction houses from stoking excitement over their plans. RM Sotheby’s has announced a few of the premier lots for their upcoming Monterey auction, and among the highlights is this 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider by Scaglietti. All 250 GT SWB California Spiders are special, of course, but this one even more so — because it's the very first one ever built.

Only 56 examples of the Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider were built between 1960 and 1963, constructed by Scaglietti in Modena, Italy. (In other words, the car is as rare as it is beautiful.) However, this is an opportunity to buy the first one that Ferrari ever made. Further adding to its provenance, this example served as a show car at the 1960 Geneva Motor Show.

tipo 168 3liter v12
Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

The car is equipped with the competition-spec Tipo 168 3-liter V-12 engine that makes about 280 horsepower, which is enough to push the car to a top speed of 156 mph. Factory covered headlights and removable hardtop are also part of the package. This car is Ferrari Classiche Red Book certified as retaining its original ‘numbers matching’ engine, gearbox, rear axle and bodywork.


The first 250 GT SWB California Spider has a strong history. It has only had five owners since it was new, and only three in the last 60 years. 2024 is the first time in 16 years that the car has been offered for sale. If you want to be owner number six, though, you will need to be prepared to write a large check: the pre-auction estimate is $16,000,000–$18,000,000.

ferrari 250 gt swb california spider
Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction will take place August 16–17. You can register to bid via telephone, online, absentee or in person. The cost to register in person is $400. Then again, that's a small price to pay for the opportunity to be in the room when bidding on one of the most desirable Ferrari models ever made... and a drop in the bucket next to what you'll have to pay if you win.

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