Among the many things that Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll owns is a race track. That’s handy because the Quebec entrepreneur has more than 20 Ferraris, including a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider that he purchased at auction last month for $27.5 million.
The final price, which included commission, makes the red roadster the most expensive road car ever sold at auction.
N.A.R.T. stands for “North American Racing Team,” a Ferrari-backed venture created in the late 1950s to promote the brand in the US.
One of only 10 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spiders ever built, it had been owned by the same family since its creation – that of former Lexington, N.C., Mayor Eddie Smith, who died in 2007.
The single-family ownership increased interest in the car, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Smith bought the car for $14,500 when it was new. Despite its rarity, he enjoyed driving it regularly and was known throughout the small town of Lexington for giving kids a ride in the car so they should share the experience, according to the Times.
Since Smith’s death the Ferrari has been stored in a specially built garage. Proceeds from the sale were to be given to charity, according to Smith’s son.
“This is a bittersweet moment for us,” Eddie Smith Jr. told a packed crowd before bidding began Saturday. “Ferraris came and went, but this one never went, thank God. We enjoyed it as a family for 45 years.”
Stroll earned his wealth helping develop the Tommy Hilfiger clothing brand in the 1990s. He later bought a majority stake in fashion house Michael Kors, according to The Financial Post.
The auction price paid for the car is second only to the nearly $30 million paid in July for a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 raced by Juan Manuel Fangio.
The 275 N.A.R.T. Spider is among the most attractive Ferraris ever made. A bright-red version was featured in the 1968 film “The Thomas Crown Affair,” which starred Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway.
The 275 N.A.R.T. Spiders boast a 3.2-liter V-12 with six Weber carburetors, producing 300 horsepower.
The engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission and four-wheel independent suspension. The car also has taller gear ratios than other Ferrari 275 models, to accommodate the longer straightaways of US tracks, the Times reported.
(Top: The 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider sold by the family of Eddie Smith Sr. of Lexington, N.C., to Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.)