Home » Why This Rusted Lump Of Metal Is Worth Over $1 Million Dollars

Why This Rusted Lump Of Metal Is Worth Over $1 Million Dollars

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Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the shabbiest million-dollar car we’ve seen in ages. No, this isn’t just a case of inflation gone wild — this crumpled mass of metal is a very rare Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider, and it’s up for auction. Beyond stretching the definition of car, it could be a great example of how resources and love are the only real automotive limits.

Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider Rear

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

What makes this car so expensive, other than being a Ferrari, is that it’s the second 500 Mondial through Modena’s gates and one of just 13 Pininfarina-bodied Spiders from the first run. Of course, it’s hard to tell what this sports car originally was now, but the laws of physics are cruel and absolute. Imagine this roofless machine easing away from the factory, red paint gleaming in the sun, oil slowly warming up to temperature, Lampredi four-cylinder thrumming away in anticipation of the moment you could open the taps. It’s a bit difficult to picture given the car’s current state, but come on.

Ferrari Spider Composite

Alas, this 500 Mondial wasn’t meant to live a life of leisure. Instead, it was quickly put to work in competition, placing second in its class at the 1954 Coppa della Toscana with former Ferrari factory driver Franco Cortese behind the wheel. Cortese would go on to place fourth-in-class at the 1954 Mille Miglia, after which, the car was reportedly rebodied by Scaglietti for a leaner look.

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Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider Profile

After a few years of mixed success in Europe, this 500 Mondial set sail for America, and after a few years, the inevitable happened. In 1963, the original engine was reportedly replaced with an American V8 and has since been lost to time, which seems sacrilegious, but this was the 1960s and a used Ferrari was just another funny European sports car from a small marque. However, hacked-up engine mounts are likely the least of a prospective owner’s worries. As you can probably tell from the photos, this 500 Mondial Spider was crashed at some point in the mid-1960s and has essentially been left untouched ever since.

Ferrari 500 Mondial Left Rear Three Quarter

So, what we have here is a car with a predicted hammer price of $1.2 to $1.6 million that has no numbers-matching engine, very little, if any, straight coachwork, and extensive fire damage, but at least that left headlight looks usable. Still, there’s the chance someone will want to restore this crumpled mass of metal.

Ferrari 500 Mondial Right Front Three Quarter

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See, a car isn’t dead unless people give up on it. They aren’t living creatures, no matter how emotive the thrum of a V8 or the whiff of old leather might be. With enough time, money, and resources, anything can be Ship-of-Theseus’d back together. Remember, it’s all just metal, plastic, rubber, and glass. I’ve seen rotten S13 Nissan 240SXs stitched back together with sheetmetal and a 120-volt welder, Subarus with head-sized holes in them patched up to hit the gravel again, and the heroic tale of Project Cactus. Cars only die when you run out of resources and love.

Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider Right Profile

Could this Ferrari run again at some point? It would take an awful lot of time and money to complete, but I reckon it could. It’s not like they made tens of thousands of them, chassis aren’t easy to find for less than what this heap should sell for. With a little bit of love and a swimming pool full of money, this little red Spider can breathe through carburetors once again. However, here’s the important thing: Heroic acts of restoration aren’t exclusively for old Ferraris. If you really love a car, stick with it through thick and thin. It may not always be economical to repair, but can you put a price on love?

(Photo credits: RM Sotheby’s, Bring A Trailer)

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Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
8 months ago

You’re paying for the VIN plate. Anything that comes with it is a bonus.

Chi_spotting
Chi_spotting
1 year ago

$1 million paperweight more like.

Clubwagon Chateau
Clubwagon Chateau
1 year ago

Heroic acts of restoration aren’t exclusively for old Ferraris. If you really love a car, stick with it through thick and thin. It may not always be economical to repair, but can you put a price on love?”

❤️

Harris K Telemacher
Harris K Telemacher
1 year ago

This definitely has the appearance more of an industrial art piece than something to be restored. This will end up hanging upside down or vertically in the lobby of some corporate building.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 year ago

‘This is a $1 million car’
Counterpoint: Nope.

Vee
Vee
1 year ago

This is a prime example for why the Ship Of Theseus argument has the logical extreme conclusion of intent is more important than material and history. Especially where money’s involved.

If I sewed together a new jacket that looks like George S. Patton’s original parade wear jacket and I put his pins and embroidery on it, that’s not George S. Patton’s original parade jacket. Until a rich person comes along and wants to get that jacket evaluated as an investment, that is.

Jmfecon
Jmfecon
1 year ago
Reply to  Vee

You read my mind sir!

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
8 months ago
Reply to  Vee

Like George Washington’s hatchet. The head’s been replaced once and the handle 3 times.

Cargeek!
Cargeek!
1 year ago
Masterbuilder
Masterbuilder
1 year ago

I’m sure I’ve seen Ferrari rebuild worse than this in their factory.

If I had a few million of fuck around money laying just there gathering dust, I’d buy it and have it shipped straight to Maranello. I guess you wouldn’t get the Scaglietti rebody, but you’d have a factory fresh ’54 500 Mondial Spider.

If you’re big into Ferraris, that alone might be worth the price.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 year ago

Hey if i buy it for $1.5 million, restore it for another $4.5 million give or take does it still come with a salvage title?

Studdley
Studdley
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Let me introduce you to the sordid world of *title washing*

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 year ago

I can see that, thirty odd years ago a 250 GTO owner was asked what he would do if a meteor crushed his car. He replied salvage the camshafts, swap them into a 250 GTE engine and have craftsmen weld up a new chassis and hand beat a body just like Scagliatti did in 1963.
Someone will either preserve the wreck as art or source a drive train and have everything else repaired or remade

AlfaWhiz
AlfaWhiz
1 year ago

I’d say it’s probably worth more as an art piece as it is, than when (or rather if) it gets rebuilt. You know, because art.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlfaWhiz
Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
1 year ago

There’s indeed some precedent for this kind of thing; this is from 2015 and I’d already posted it in comments elsewhere on this website but I figure it’s always worth repeating (besides, it’s actually a pretty cool car, especially when one delves into its history, even if it’s not quite as storied as the putative Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider):
https://www.artcurial.com/en/lot-talbot-lago-t26-grand-sport-swb-par-saoutchik-1949-2651-46

notoriousDUG
notoriousDUG
1 year ago

I get that technically it is still the same car because *reasons* but what’s the point in paying an extra million just to have some history?
You could likely build that car ground up for less, or not much more, than saving what is there without the 7 figure buy in.

Fredzy
Fredzy
1 year ago
Reply to  notoriousDUG

If actually restoring, I imagine the plan of attack would be to build as authentic a replica of the car as possible (by GTO Engineering, for example) essentially from the ground up. Incorporate as much metal from this heap as possible into the build (maybe 50% of the body panels or so plus some random bits from the main chassis) and call it what it is. That little bit of authentic metal could multiply its value and allow it to make economical sense after all.

notoriousDUG
notoriousDUG
1 year ago
Reply to  Fredzy

Nothing at that level of investment makes sense…
Again, you could make effectively the same car you would have in the end for less starting from scratch.
And there is nothing really wrong with that, but people need to acknowledge it is just paying for clout.
I am too practical to pretend that the pile of scrap for sale could be restored into a more enjoyable car than a replica built from scratch/

Cerberus
Cerberus
1 year ago
Reply to  notoriousDUG

That doesn’t get you into the club, invited to concours and such. Ewe, you mean you actually DRIVE your cars?! Joke aside, there’s also vintage racing and I’m not sure if recreations are allowed. In complete agreement, though. If I was rich enough, I wouldn’t buy the new exotic trash, but I would have my own designs made and recreations of things like an XKSS with some more modern brakes and such, but I couldn’t have any less interest in belonging to a group or club, especially not one made up of such people. Although, the other argument here is that it would be difficult in some places to register a scratch car with no emissions control, while this VIN makes it possible. The other problem is a Ferrari 500 engine isn’t going to be cheap and easy to source. At that point, if you find one, you might as well put it in an “original” chassis that would be worth a lot more. Of course, why GAF when you’re obviously ridiculously loaded financially if it isn’t about snobbism over the driving experience, IDK.

notoriousDUG
notoriousDUG
1 year ago
Reply to  Cerberus

I refuse to join any club that would have me.

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
8 months ago
Reply to  notoriousDUG

Alright, Groucho.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 year ago
Reply to  Cerberus

It’s difficult to register a scratch built car, but it’s easy to buy a 1988 Caprice for $300 and then “replace all the parts on it with Ferrari parts”.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
1 year ago

“… after which, the car was reportedly rebodied by Scaglietti for a leaner look.”

“In 1963, the original engine was reportedly replaced with an American V8 and has since been lost to time …”

So, whatever you build out of the frame at this point has basically the originality of a T-bucket roadster?

Bison78
Bison78
1 year ago

This car won’t be rebuilt. A new car will be built using the old VIN. This is like a NFT: paying $1.2M for a number.

Jb996
Jb996
1 year ago
Reply to  Bison78

It will be a Ship of Theseus.

Just all in one go, and not over time.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
1 year ago
Reply to  Bison78

Except this number will remain valuable. You are paying for the right to build an exact 500 Mondial replica and have it treated like a real car (Mille Miglia eligible, etc). Some sections of sheetmetal will likely be reused so as to further buttress that claim.

Fire Ball
Fire Ball
1 year ago

Ran when parked.

Studdley
Studdley
1 year ago
Reply to  Fire Ball

*into a concrete barrier

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