London’s Dover Street is in the heart of Mayfair and is well known for hosting a number of contemporary art galleries. Passers-by are familiar with expensive modern supercars, but last night onlookers were stopped in their tracks by the presence of two, multi-million-pound classic Ferraris parked outside number 37, the home of Mallett, one of the oldest established antique dealers in the world.
The occasion was a VIP presentation of the two cars bequeathed to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in a generous legacy by Northamptonshire businessman and arch-Ferrari enthusiast Richard Colton, who died earlier this year. He requested that money raised from the sale of his cars be used to build a new lifeboat called Richard and Caroline Colton, named after himself and his late wife.
The ultra-desirable pair, a red, 1960 Ferrari 250 GT short-wheelbase (SWB) Berlinetta and a silver, 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 are to be sold by H&H Classics at its 14 October, Imperial War Museum Duxford sale. Both will be offered Without Reserve.
The 250 GT SWB, chassis 1995 GT, is one of just 167 made, with a mere ten delivered to the UK. It is to ‘semi-competition’ specification and was one of a brace of cars imported to launch the British Ferrari distributor Maranello Concessionaires. ‘1995 GT’ has never been ‘restored’ in the modern sense, making it that much more attractive to serious collectors and it and its stablemate come out of long-term – some 40 years – single ownership.
Only 350 300bhp, 160mph Ferrari 275 GTB/4s were ever built, of which a mere 27 were supplied new to the United Kingdom. Widely regarded as the best all-round GT car of the 1960s, the sleek berlinetta comfortably eclipsed rivals from Aston Martin, Maserati, Jaguar and Lamborghini. First-time owners included the Hollywood star Steve McQueen.
The Mayfair event was attended by many members of the RNLI, and in a speech explaining the work of the charity – which costs around £410,000 a day to run – Howard Ramm (Head of Lifesaving Delivery) said: “Last year our volunteer crews rescued over 8800 people – that’s an average of 24 people a day. Our lifeguards helped over 19,000 people and saved 92 lives.
“We believe some of these rescues are avoidable. We’re doing more than ever to share safety messages and prevent people getting into danger. But accidents will always happen at sea, and the calls for help will always come in. We can’t answer those calls without generous donations. After all, we’re a charity. Six out of every 10 lifeboat launches are only possible because of gifts in wills, like Mr Colton’s. And – I can promise you – every gift helps – large or small and we’re extremely grateful to all our supporters.”
Also making a short speech, Simon Hope, H&H Classics’ Managing Director commented:
“These sensational cars’ last owner, Richard Colton, was an eminent V12 collector and keen driver who campaigned them with great verve and enthusiasm. They have been in his ownership for some 40 years and meant a very great deal to him.
“He was a quiet, shy man I was proud to have had as a friend. So we are honoured to have been chosen to handle this sale – which is of national significance, and promises to be a historic event – and we are absolutely committed to realising the maximum amount for the cars.
“Richard was known to be somewhat nervous of the sea, which may have added to his great respect for the men and women who risk their lives daily around Britain’s coast. So when deciding on which charity to leave this splendid legacy of two classic Ferraris, there was only one choice: the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.”
The auction will take place on 14th October 2015 at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridge CB22 4QR.