Market trends

What the glorious cars from Michael Mann’s Ferrari are worth

by Andrew Newton
29 December 2023 5 min read
What the glorious cars from Michael Mann’s Ferrari are worth
(Photos: NEON)

With Michael Mann’s Ferrari movie now in theatres, we’ve been doing what car people do – car spotting. Set during just a few tumultuous months in 1957, it explores both the personal struggles of Enzo Ferrari and the critical economic challenges facing the automaker at that time. The backdrop, meanwhile, is a golden age of motorsports that produced the most desirable and valuable cars in history.

After combing through the film and production information, as well as looking through the actual events, we’ve picked out some of the main cars. And, based on recent private transactions and past auction results brought forward using our Ferrari Market Index, we’ve calculated their values.

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It’s also important to note that no eight-figure Ferraris were harmed in the making of this film. Most of the race cars seen on screen are replicas.

Lancia-Ferrari D50: £1.6 million

Vintage racing Ferrari black white
(Photo: Ferrari)

Although most of Lancia’s great racing moments were with sports or rally cars, the Italian firm had a brief but memorable go at Formula One racing in 1954–55. Designed by Vittorio Jano, the D50 was both clever and beautiful. A dual-overhead cam V8 served as a stressed member of the tubular chassis for added rigidity, and a five-speed transaxle in the rear improved balance. The most unusual and recognisable feature were the fuel and oil tanks, mounted in pods nestled inside the wheelbase on either side of the driver.

The D50 debuted in late 1954 and started the 1955 pre-season with two victories, but the death of Lancia’s star driver Alberto Ascari when testing a Ferrari sports car, as well as mounting money troubles, led Lancia to offload its whole F1 project to Ferrari. The latter company, along with driver Juan Manuel Fangio, took modified versions of the D50 (now wearing a prancing horse) to the 1956 World Championship.

Of six cars completed in period, only two legitimate D50s are said to have survived. Both are in long-term collections/museums, but a recreation done to exacting standards from original plans and advertised with an FIA Historic Technical Passport sold nine years ago for €812,000 (£661,942 at the time).

Maserati 250F: £3.9 million

Ferrari vintage racing action
(Photo: Getty Images)

While the Lancia-Ferrari D50 was an unconventional Grand Prix car, the Maserati 250F was mostly standard practise for 1950s F1 machinery. The inline-six engine, simple tubular chassis, suspension (wishbones/coil springs in front, DeDion axle in rear), and overstuffed-cigar-shaped styling were common sights on many F1 cars during that decade. The Maserati, though, was well-executed, powered by a gem of an engine, and driven by top talent. It was also a prolific car with over two dozen built, and privateers used 250Fs alongside the factory team. 250Fs appeared on the grid from 1954 to 1960, and while they weren’t always at the front, that’s still an impressively long run in a sport known for being at the cutting edge of car design.

The 250F won its first race in 1954, and amassed a total of eight championship race wins, including Fangio’s epic drive at the Nürburgring in 1957. Sir Stirling Moss called it “probably the nicest, most user-friendly F1 car” and “without doubt the finest handling front-engined F1 car I think built by anybody.”

Naturally, it’s not the kind of car that pops up for sale often, but an ex-Stirling Moss, Italian GP-winning car sold for £2.77M back in 2014.

Ferrari 250 GT TdF: £5.1 million

Ferrari film cars lineup
The 250 TdF is the second from left. (Photo: NEON)

The Tour de France Automobile was a long-distance sports car race held on roads and race circuits throughout, you guessed it, France. It ran annually from 1951 to 1986, and for four years straight from 1956–59 the 3600-mile event was won by Ferrari’s dual-purpose road/race model – the 250 GT. Alfonso de Portago, the Spanish nobleman/race driver depicted in the film, delivered the first of these Tour de France wins for Ferrari. The company didn’t originally call this car the “Tour de France” or “TdF,” but it’s easy to see how the name stuck given the car’s dominance.

Ferrari built between 70 and 80 original 250 GT TdFs. Their prices can range widely depending on history, originality and bodywork, even down to how many vents are behind the side windows. But they do come to market regularly enough to calculate a reliable Price Guide value. They range from £4.7M for a #4 (Fair) condition car to £6.4M for a concours-ready #1 condition example, but exceptional ones have sold for more than that. That ex-Portago Tour de France winner, for example, sold for £8.44M in 2015.

Ferrari 500 TRC: £6.3 million

Vintage ferrari racing action black white
(Photo: Getty Images)

Widely considered to be the most beautiful of Ferrari’s Testa Rossa designs, 500 TRC is also notable for its engine. Or its engine’s missing cylinders, depending on how you look at it – what’s under that sculpted hood isn’t a wailing V12 but a barking 2.0-litre four-cylinder.

Four-banger Ferraris like the 500 Mondial, 750/860 Monza and 500 TRC either raced in smaller displacement sports car categories or leveraged reliability to achieve overall wins. And while they lack the piston count of the 12-cylinder cars, they don’t lack one bit of the style. They took their fair share of checkered flags, too. Ferrari built just 19 500 TRCs, and sold most of them to customers. When it was a new, internationally competitive race car, Ferrari sold 500 TRCs for about £4,000 (about £93,000 today). The last one seen at auction was in 2022, and it brought £6.34M.

335 Sport: £28.2 million

Ferrari film still

Because the 335 S and 315 S were the focus of Ferrari’s attack on the 1957 Mille Miglia, the main subject of the film, this car will likely see a large share of screen time. These Scaglietti-bodied V12 sports cars were themselves evolutions of the 290 MM, which had given Ferrari victory in the 1956 running of the 1000-mile Italian race. The 315 S was the 3.8-litre version, with about 355bhp. The 335 S was the 4.0-litre version, with 390bhp.

For the 1957 World Sportscar Championship, both had stiff competition from the new 400bhp Maserati 450S as well as the Aston Martin DBR1 and Jaguar D-Type. For the Mille Miglia, however, early retirements among the Maseratis left Enzo Ferrari in a much more comfortable position. By the final hours of the race, his cars filled most of the top ten spots. Then, just miles from the finish, the left front tyre blew on de Portago’s 335 S. He crashed, killing himself along with his navigator Edmund Nelson and nine spectators. Ferrari won the Mille Miglia and the 1957 championship, but it was a tough year for Il Commendatore. As a result of de Portago’s accident, the Mille Miglia would be no more, and the Italian authorities charged both Enzo and the tyre manufacturer with manslaughter. The charges were eventually dismissed.

Another 335 S sold at auction in 2016 for €32.075M (£26.8M). At the time, it was the most expensive auction car ever sold in Europe.

315 Sport: £28.2 million

Ferrari film still

Ahead of the carnage following de Portago’s accident in the 335 S, the less powerful 315 S took the first two spots, with Piero Taruffi (played by Patrick Dempsey) followed by Wolfgang von Trips. It’s Taruffi’s car, number 535 and the winner of the last ever Mille Miglia, that appears on the poster for the film.

Ferrari built just three of these cars in period, and while there are records of 315s selling in the 1990s, that was a vastly different market than today’s. Given the lack of recent data, the closest comparable sale would be the £26.8M 335 S mentioned above.

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