Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) Classiche Separates the Real from the Pretenders
For the last decade + Ferrari Classiche has been doing Tier 1 restorations and vehicle authentications on the iconic company’s vintage and classic cars.
As it turns out there are fake Ferraris in the market since the prices have escalated into the multi-millions of dollars.
“We often joke there must be over 100 250 GTOs out there now,” says Gigi Barp, Head of the Ferrari Classiche department at the company’s factory in Maranello. Established specifically to provide restoration services, maintenance, and certificates of authenticity to owners of vintage Ferraris, Ferrari Classiche is the ultimate authority when it comes to questions of authenticity regarding Enzo Ferrari’s mechanical progeny.
Those of us who know, are keenly aware that Ferrari made just 39 250 GTOs between Y’s 1962 and 1964, which means all those 61 odd other examples are fakes or replicas depending…there is a difference between replicas and counterfeits.
“The late 1980’s saw a spike in the construction of very accurate replicas of the most important Ferraris,” Mr. Barp says. “In the case of the 250 GTO, these were often created using comparatively less valuable models like the 250 GT 2+2 as their base.”
It can be very difficult to distinguish between a genuine collectible car and a faithful reproduction.
That being the case Ferrari did something to ensure classic and vintage buyers of its cars get what they pay for.
So for those who own an old Ferrari or is considering buying one and wants to know more about its history, prudence dictated that the car be certified at Ferrari Classiche. They know everything that there is to know about vintage and classic Ferrari cars.
“Our historical archives are incredibly complete” Mr. Barp says. “We store over 220,000 original designs going back to Y 1945. We have all the build sheets and commercial documents of every car we have ever made, as well as vital documentation of all of the modifications made to our racing cars in every series and championship.”
Any model built more than 20 years ago, or any limited series special whenever built, is eligible for the authentication process. Pricing for the service varies depending upon the age and complexity of the model. More recent production cars start at $2500 and can can run to $17,000 depending upon the nature of the exam necessary.
“Most of the time, certification can be done at our dealer facilities,” Mr. Barp says. “But if there are major concerns, or it’s a particularly important car requiring additional technical or metallurgy testing, we inspect it here at the factory. If this is the case, the owner also pays for shipping.”
Once a car is determined to be correct, a committee headed by Piero Ferrari issues an official certificate of authenticity. The owner is then provided with full documentation of the certification process, as well as the certificate. Thus enhancing the value of a car.
“There was a need for a uniform standard of measurement, and Ferrari Classiche provides that,” says Ian Kelleher, managing director of RM Sotheby’s (NYSE:BID). “As an auction company, we want our clients to know what they’re buying, and we want that history to be correct.”
The establishment of Ferrari Classiche was a groundbreaking development in the vintage and classic collector car world.
Before Ferrari established the department in Y 2004, no other automobile manufacturer had taken control of its brand heritage in that way.
According to RM Sotheby’s Mr. Kelleher, “No one in the auction world has an issue with replicas, as long as they are presented as such,” he says. “For me, the difference between a replica and a counterfeit is intent. The majority of the replicas out there were not built with the intention of deceiving the buyer. It was more about allowing someone the opportunity to enjoy something they might not be able to otherwise. Counterfeiting, on the other hand, is done with criminal intent.”
“The only time a problem arises is when people try to pass replicas off as originals,” Mr. Barp says. “If we become aware of a complete fake, we inform our legal department, which then takes the necessary action.”
To date, Ferrari Classiche has issued over 5000 certificates of authenticity worldwide, of which nearly 35% were for cars in North America. As to how many replicas are out there, it is not known. Mr. Barp could not say with any degree of certainty, and auction houses do not really consider them an issue unless somebody tries to fraudulently pass one off as genuine.
Should you uncover a Ferrari treasure in a barn or buried in the ground, before you buy it, have it checked by Ferrari Classiche.
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