Most fascinating classic, 2013: Ferrari 180 Testa Rossa

Competition for the must-have toys of the holiday season is always fierce. Nothing, however, matches the tug-of-war for a one-of-a-kind confection.

Granted, the Ferrari 180 Testa Rossa sold at auction in November was thought to be one of five in existence, but for all intents the bidders at Sotheby’s New York were pursuing a once-a-lifetime opportunity.

Fascinating Cars of 2013

Editor Matthew Phenix and deputy editor Jonathan Schultz revisited the most fascinating cars of the year. Click here for a full list of honorees.

And pursue they did. Bidding quickly eclipsed the $50,000 low estimate for the .3 horsepower, 12-volt children's car, before bogging down. Just as the auctioneer began to scan the room at $70,000, the chase resumed. Bids piled up in $5,000 increments. As the price passed $100,000, there was a collective gasp from the 500-strong room. Gavel price, $110,000; final price after commission, $126,000.

Sold in the late 1950s through Ferrari’s only North American dealership, the toy had just attracted the kind of money that would have otherwise secured a Nissan GT-R, an Audi R8, a Jaguar XKR, a Porsche 911 4S or a Maserati GranTurismo. But as the winning bidder knew, exclusivity has its price.

Read more about the Ferrari 180 Testa Rossa here.

Second Opinion

The 1940 Buick Phaeton is not the swiftest or most beautiful car of its era, but one particular Phaeton – the car that rolls into the famous final scene of Casablanca, carrying Bogart, Bacall, Paul Henreid and Claude Rains, captures the imagination like no other. Offered in a Bonhams auction in November, it sold for $461,000, including premium.