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Vintage Ferraris - Misleading History from sellers, dealers, brokers

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by Zanny1, Jan 2, 2022.

  1. Zanny1

    Zanny1 Formula Junior
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    Dec 19, 2003
    707
    Fountain Hills, Arizona
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    Mike
    Performed some research on a 365 GTC/4 located here in the Phoenix area.
    Owner history file states that when listed at a Bonham's auction in 2005, and I quote:

    "The ex-Bill Harrah Ferrari 365GTC/4 chassis number ‘15479’ is documented in the Ferrari Market Letter archives as Bill Harrah’s personal car. It was ordered for Mr. Harrah in Ferrari Red with a complete black velour interior that it retains today. Meticulous maintenance and loving care characterize this car’s history throughout the 54,574 original miles recorded, and its current owner has sustained this fastidious approach since 1994."

    I have seen several cars that originated from Bill Harrah's dealership, and were claimed to be ordered as his personal car. However, I also have uncovered some history from a reliable source that the car in question was not ordered by Mr. Harrah and did not come from the factory with black velour in place of the mouse-hair.

    Short of ordering a Massini report, one has to take owner history records with some skepticism. Oddly enough, the current owner couldn't care less about the car's history. To him, it's fun driver and nothing else.
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  3. Marcel Massini

    Marcel Massini F1 World Champ
    Honorary

    Mar 2, 2005
    17,807
    Out of 500 365 GTC/4 built no fewer than 92 (ninety two) were originally delivered new to MCM Modern Classic Motors, the U.S. West Coast Ferrari importership owned by William Fisk Harrah, the Reno Casino mogul. This does NOT mean that Harrah was the personal owner of any of those 92 cars.

    Marcel Massini
     
  4. Zanny1

    Zanny1 Formula Junior
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    Dec 19, 2003
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    Fountain Hills, Arizona
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    Mike
    Yes I figured as much. It seems in some cases that sellers refer to cars sold through MCM as Bill Harrah's "personal car". Thank you for the information, Marcel.
     
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  5. PG1964

    PG1964 Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2010
    433
    Torino, Italy
    This story remembers me another one regarding Mullolini and his son-in-law Ciano: apparently they owned all the black Alfa Romeo 6C2300 and the blue Lancia Astura in existance, but sadly (for someone).... it isn't true at all.
     
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  6. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    28,138
    Austin TX
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    Brian Crall
    You mean to tell me sometimes people selling cars lie?

    Scandalous

    In the day Bill Harrahs body guard drove a C4 and used it to follow Bill around. . Don't know whos name it was in. .
     
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  8. TTR

    TTR F1 Rookie
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    Mar 29, 2007
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    Timo
    Interesting timing for this topic, but basically, majority of auction houses, brokers, dealers and even private sellers, come up with elaborate claims/stories as a part of marketing efforts and most don’t seem to care whether they’re true or not, as long as the “commodity” gets sold.
    And many buyers, instead doing their due diligence, often let themselves eat up (hook-line-&-sinker) those “great stories”.

    Having very recently been involved with sales of few “collectible”(?) cars in decades long ownership, including a 50 y.o. Ferrari and hearing/seeing “first hand” accounts/recollections (read claims) contradicting “documented” history was slightly disheartening…

    … and although these “claims” made by the long term (45+ years) owner in his mid-80’s and might’ve seemed rather insignificant, as a minority stakeholder & selling agent for the said Ferrari, I felt obligated to clarify/prove them inaccurate for the buyer.

    While I also believe/know these claims by my long time client/friend (& majority stakeholder on the car) weren’t made with any malicious intent (besides the sale was already done), they sure did momentarily put me into an awkward position by contradicting statements I’ve previously made about the car, but fortunately I/we had strong enough documentation/records all the way to almost day one to dispel any concerns or doubts said “claims” might’ve raised.
     
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  9. PG1964

    PG1964 Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2010
    433
    Torino, Italy
    I have many documentation/records too, but the auction houses didn't want to hear any different stories except their own....sad to say, but it's true.

    So Mussolini (who took the licence at 42), his son-in-law (who bought cars even when he was already dead), his sons (2 of them drove even if they were under age) and his mistress (who evidently couldn't drive without the licence) registered 25/30 cars so far!:eek:
     
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  10. donv

    donv Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Jan 5, 2002
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    The thing you have to remember is that 40-50 years ago, those were just stories, and not nearly as easy to check out as they are today. So your client was probably told by someone, and couldn't or didn't bother to check, and back then who cares anyway?

    These days, start with google and end with Mr. Massini, and you should be in pretty good shape about what's true and what is just a good story.

     
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  11. Zanny1

    Zanny1 Formula Junior
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    Dec 19, 2003
    707
    Fountain Hills, Arizona
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    Mike
    Good advice. It is amazing what a little digging on the net will turn up if you've got a serial number to work from. I've done this several times with vintage Italian and American cars. Uncovered a few stories and pictures that made a prospective car a no-sale.
    BTW.... I use DuckDuckGo for all my internet searches. Google just clogs up your browser and finds it's way onto other favorite internet sites with ads.... my God it is unbelievable.
     
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  13. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    28,138
    Austin TX
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    Brian Crall
    It doesn't even always need to be a vintage car. I just automatically google any VIN I want to know about and am often surprised what I get. If it has been through any of the big auction they typically have its history. You just need to find out if it is true.
     
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  14. PeterS

    PeterS Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Jan 24, 2003
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    PeterS
    I lived next door to Mrs. Harrah in Reno where there was a security guard 24/7. He would make the rounds of the house usually every 15 minutes on the hour. While not walking about the property, the guard sat in the driveway next to the garage door. I always wondered what was in it!
     

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