16 September 2012

LIFE: Boys and Their Toys

SARONNO, Italy.  One of the articles in the Corriere della Sera’s Style Magazine this week focused on the recent sale of a vintage Ferrari 250 GTO by a Dutch born business mogul to Craig McCaw for a cool 35 million dollars. This particular GTO  is reported to be the most expensive Ferrari in the world. Mere pocket change for Mr. McCaw who, in 1993, reportedly sold McCaw Cellular to American Telephone & Telegraph, AT&T, for $11.5 billion. Mr. McCaw, by the way is also the founder of Clearwire, a a wireless internet provider.  
 The $35 Million Dollar Baby
I don’t know why the magazine decided to run that particular story now, the sale actually took place last June, maybe they had extra pages to fill and anything about Ferrari makes good copy. The Corriere della Sera article was entitled “Billion Dollar Club” and went on to spotlight other members of the exclusive “Billion Dollar Club” and that’s what I found interesting.  The club has only 35 members, which goes to prove what Enzo Ferrari always said, “Ferrari’s are not for everyone.” Not 35 million dollar Ferrari’s anyway. 
 Mr. and Mrs. McCaw
As far as we know, McCaw’s 250 GTO is reportedly the most expensive car ever sold, exceeding the 1936 Bugatti Atlantic which California car collector Peter Mullin paid between $32,000,000 and $34,000,000 in 2010.  There may be someone out there who has paid more but because of security and insurance concerns, most collectors  don’t like to publicize what they have paid for the latest editions  to their collections.
 250 GTO Better in Ferrari Red
You have to ask, what makes this 250 GTO so special? Well, it depends on your point of view. First of all there were only 36 were produced between 1962 and 1964. The car was originally designed to compete in the 24 Hours of LeMans, and was to be driven by rock star driver Stirling Moss.  Unfortunately Moss was severely injured during the 1962 Glover Trophy, a minor Formula 1 Race in West Sussex, England, that was held prior to the LeMans and never drove again. The GTO went on to LeMans with Innes Ireland behind the wheel. Then it was retired.  Now it’s the boy toy to have for the boys in the Billion Dollar Club.  So who are they?  Read on.
 William Connor, CEO Connor Group
William Connor, CEO of the Connor Group, a world-wide merchandise-sourcing organization, which manages   the global sourcing requirements of over 60 companies. The products they source are men, women and children’s clothing,  home textiles, furniture and lighting and other products for the home. In a word: everything – at least everything you can expect to find in a department store.   
 Robson Walton, CEO Walmart
The next name on the list, Robson Walton, CEO of Walmart, is no surprise. According to Forbes Magazine, Robson Walton is the richest of the richest 20 people in the world.  With 2.2 million employees manning his umpteen million stores, I can believe it.
Nick Mason
Then there is Nick Mason, ex Pink Floyd drummer, and because all this talk of millionaires and billionaires is getting depressing, the last name on this list is Sir Anthony Bamford, owner of JCB, a British company that makes very unglamorous heavy equipment like rough terrain forklifts, high speed tractors, backhoes, various types of excavators and lots and lots of money.
 Christopher Cox
Christopher Cox. He’s not a member of the Billion Dollar Club, but he is a collector. He’s  famous in auto collecting circles as the guy who crashed his 30 million dollar Ferrari during a five day tour through France for the 250’s 50th anniversary celebration. The drivers, including Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, were on their way to the town of Le Mans when Cox was hit by another car. The damage can be repaired with no loss of value. That’s good to know. In case you are wondering why Cox’s GTO is yellow and blue and not Ferrari red, it’s because the previous owner had it painted  back in 1963, in honor of the Swedish race car driver Ulf Norinder.
 The 30 Million Dollar Crash
There are only two 250 GTO’s left in Italy and one of them is in the Ferrari auto museum in Maranello. The  other one belongs to an unnamed car collector in Brescia, a small but wealthy manufacturing town in northern Italy. It used to be that collectors would start with MG’s and Jaguars and work their way up to Ferraris, but now the new guys just start at the top and buy what is fastest. I can think of a lot of other things to buy with 35 million dollars, shoes for example. But what do I know, I’m a girl.

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