A 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti broke two records on Friday afternoon at Artcurial’s Retromobile sale.
Selling for $37.8 million at the packed Paris auction rooms, the vehicle set a new record for a racing car at auction, and achieved a new high mark for a car at a European auction.
A 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula 1 racer held the previous record for a racing car. It sold for $29.7 million at Bonhams UK in 2013.
The Ferrari’s history as a winner of the Cuba Grand Prix, and second place finisher in the 1957 Mille Miglia, ensured strong interest. As did its list of former drivers, including Stirling Moss, and a small, well-documented list of owners.
"Such provenance, racing history and historical importance makes this one of the most important Ferrari in the history of motorsport," explained Artcurial prior to the sale.
To excite bidders still further, just four were built, with this example last seen 40 years ago.
Billing lasted 11 enthralling minutes, with an "international" caller winning the car, However, he or she will be unable to drive the car on public roads as it was designed solely for racing.
The record for most valuable car sold at auction remains with the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta that made $38.1 million at Bonhams in 2014.
A 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO sold privately for $52 million in 2013 – a record for any classic car sale.
Friday’s sale scored Artcurial seven new world records, with a 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Convertible making $1.6 million, and a 1986 Ferrari Testarossa Spider Valeo achieving $1.4 million.
The strong showing will go some way to restoring buyer confidence in the classic car market, after disappointing sales at the Scottsdale series of auctions at the end of January.