Trump's Ferrari disappoints at Florida auction

This 2007 Ferrari F430 F1 Coupe belonging to American President Donald Trump fetched US$270,000 (S$378,600) in an off-the-record sale after it fell short of auction estimates. 
This 2007 Ferrari F430 F1 Coupe belonging to American President Donald Trump fetched US$270,000 (S$378,600) in an off-the-record sale after it fell short of auction estimates. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The 2007 Ferrari F430 F1 Coupe fell $14,000 short of its low estimate before leaving the sale block for a private sale

Of course he owned a bright red Italian supercar.

United States President Donald Trump's 2007 Ferrari F430 F1 Coupe left the sale block before meeting reserve at auction last Saturday in Florida.

Bidding stopped at US$240,000 (S$336,500) - US$10,000 below the low estimate of US$250,000 for the car, which had been expected to fetch as much as US$350,000.

Hours later, the auction house issued a statement saying "we can confirm it exchanged hands just minutes after it left the podium" for a final sale price of US$270,000.

The company did not say who bought the vehicle and offered no further details about the off-therecord sale.

Were it the hammer price, this would have been the most paid for an F430 Coupe with automatic transition at auction.

Prices can vary widely on this exotic V8, 490-horsepower stallion.

RM Sotheby's sold a 2008 Ferrari F430 GTC for €459,200 (S$687,600) in January in Paris. A 2008 Ferrari F430 Scuderia sold for US$182,600 at a Motostalgia sale in Amelia Island, Florida. And Sotheby's sold a yellow 2007 F430 Spider for US$357,500 last year. 

Other F430s in various conditions can be found online for as much as US$234,500 and as little as US$121,000. 

Pristine, low-mileage versions - especially those with manual transmission or special craftsmanship - hold value better than lesser examples.

Mr Trump's car included Daytona-style seats and Scuderia crests on the fenders. It also had yellow dials, a radio with a CD changer and a carbon dash insert.

Other Trump-owned cars have fared better at recent sales.

His Cadillac limousine took US$68,261 at a Bonhams sale last month in England. The total was four to seven times the average value of an American limo from the same era, according to Hagerty, a Traverse City, Michigan-based insurer and classic car database that tracks auction results.

His Lamborghini Diablo took US$460,000 in September last year on eBay. That was 75 per cent higher than today's current average price for Diablos.

The low price for the Ferrari F430 could have been affected by the fact that the car belonged to a "polarising" president who used it himself, said Mr Jonathan Klinger, a spokesman for Hagerty.

Mr Trump purchased it new in 2007 and owned it for four years, enough to add on 3,860km. Total mileage is near 9,660km.

It is certainly the only supercar to have been owned by a sitting president. Maybe it would have been worth more if Mr Trump still owned it. The car was offered to the auction house by its second and current owner. "The appeal is slightly lower than if (bidders) were buying the car directly from Mr Trump," Mr Klinger said.

In fact, most sales of presidential memorabilia come after a former chief executive's death.

Last year, a pair of cowboy boots owned by Ronald Reagan carried a high estimate of US$20,000, but sold for US$199,500. A concrete shard of the Berlin Wall signed by him sold for US$277,500. It had been expected to take US$20,000.

The auction results of Mr Trump's Ferrari also add to evidence that the F430 is not necessarily a superior investment, something the vintage car market has shown for some time.

Average values at auction for this model have fallen 15 per cent over the last five years, according to Hagerty, hovering at US$120,000 to US$130,000 for a car with an F1 (paddle-shifter) gearbox.

The original list price ranged from US$185,000 to US$215,000.

The gearbox is key to holding value, Mr Klinger said, specifically whether a car has a true manual transmission versus the six-speed paddle-shifter in Mr Trump's Ferrari.

"I expect the cars with the F1 gearbox, like this one, to continue to depreciate for the near future," he said. "These were some of the last Ferraris available with manual transmission, making them worth considerably more than the F1 cars. A manual car is worth somewhere from 50 to 75 per cent more than the F1 gearbox cars."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2017, with the headline 'Trump's Ferrari disappoints at Florida auction'. Print Edition | Subscribe