Steve McQueen’s Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso races in to Christie’s
By Stephanie Wilson
Steve McQueen-one of the coolest pop icons ever to defy authority-is known for more than his successful series Wanted: Dead or Alive and epic movies like The Blob. His action-packed roles in films such as Bullitt and The Great Escape had the actor racing through the streets in the top cars of the time, actions that inflamed his love for fine automobiles. The daredevil even performed his own stunts and race scenes while filming in order to spend more time behind the wheel!
It is no wonder that McQueen became a luxury car collector and racer, purchasing an MG as soon as he received his first checks from acting in the 1950s. Porches, a Siata, a Jaguar, and a Shelby Cobra soon made their way into McQueen’s growing collection. But in 1963, the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso (a car often referred to as the cousin of the legendary Ferrari 250 GT SWB and 250 GTO) stole his heart.
McQueen special ordered the vehicle in stunning combination of marrone, a medium-brown metallic paint with an elegant beige leather interior from Otto Zipper Motors in Santa Monica. Balanced against the Borrani wire wheels and a Pininfarina body sculpted by renowned coachbuilder Scagletti, the car is arguably one of the most attractive Ferrari’s ever built.
McQueen traded the car in 1973, which was ultimately purchased in 1997 and restored by Michael Regalia, who put in more than four thousand hours returning the car to its original condition. His work paid off, as the car was accepted in to the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and has received numerous other awards and trophies.
The desirable auto will be sold at Christie’s International Motor Cars 2007 flagship auction on Thursday, August 16th at the Monterey Jet Center in California, and is estimated to take in up to $1.2 million.
“We are thrilled to be offering this seductive car,” says Christopher Sanger, vice president and head of Christie’s car sales in the Americas. “Owned by a man who made the automobile and hard driving an essential component of cool in the 60s and 70s, this Lusso offers a truly unique opportunity for the collector. This was his personal run around-not a film one-off extra-but a car used for the grocery run, as well as trips to the racetrack.”
Christie’s has held auctions devoted solely to autos since 1972, and this one is certainly garnering its fair share of attention: The fine auto was viewed at Christie’s in New York from April 27th through May 9th, and May 24th through the 31st, as well as in Connecticut from June 1st to the 3rd, bringing auto collectors in from around the globe to see the coveted marvel.