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FISCAR Castle Combe Autumn Classic Saturday 3rd October 2020 to Sunday 4th October 2020 - Castle Combe

Bonhams: Collectors Motorcars & Automobilia Monday 5th October 2020 - Philadelphia

Estoril Classics Friday 9th October 2020 to Sunday 11th October 2020 - Circuit d’Estoril, Portugal

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The Art of Colour

Wednesday 10th June 2020

In September 2016, a 1995 Porsche 993 GT2 was offered by RM Sotheby’s at its annual London sale. One of only 57 built, it was a one-owner, low-mileage example finished in the eye-catching shade of Riviera Blue, and after three collectors got into a bidding war it went sailing through its top estimate of £850,000 before eventually selling for a record £1,848,000. Enthusiasts looked at that car and speculated on why it went for a price so far beyond expectations, and since then the question of alternative or unique factory colours is one that has been on the mind of buyers and specialists alike.

This is an area of the market in which DK Engineering has acquired a great deal of experience and expertise – in fact, for a time we had in our private collection a Ferrari Enzo that had been finished in the Extra Campionario colour of Grigio Titanio. It was believed to be one of just five Enzos in that colour, from a total of only 20 that were given the Extra Campionario treatment. With 399 having been produced, an Enzo is a rare beast at the best of times. Those sporting an Extra Campionario colour are even more exclusive – and it’s this quality that is behind the desirability of such cars, and is the reason why they can command a significant premium.

In recent years, top-end manufacturers have fully embraced the idea of offering a bespoke service to clients, enabling them to invest a lot of money in making their new car individual. On a LaFerrari, for example, you could have all sorts of different carbon combinations, trim details and various badges. Going back to the Enzo, however, you had a choice of only three exterior colours – red, yellow or black – and you could select the colour of the interior plus the colour of the rev counter. That was it. So if an Enzo now comes to market and it has an alternative colour – an option that, at the time, was offered only to Ferrari’s most cherished VIP clients – it attracts a great deal of attention and buyers are happy to pay extra.

We’ve recently been involved with a fascinating pair of Porsche Carrera GTs that were among a very small number to be given an alternative colour from the factory. The first was one of only three in Midnight Blue, and is a car that we know well and are currently offering for sale, while the other was a unique Cobalt example. This was a model that had a basic choice of only five colours when new – Guards Red, Fayence Yellow, Basalt Black, GT Silver and Seal Grey. On top of that, the German marque offered its Paint to Sample scheme in extremely limited numbers – only about 40 cars out of the 1270-strong production run benefitted from it.

When it comes to Porsches, it’s not just the overall colour that can make a difference. The 4-litre 997 RS is a special car to begin with, but for many enthusiasts it’s even more desirable when presented in black and with the Script Delete option.

Again, it shows the importance of a specification that was different when the car was new, and it’s not an entirely recent phenomenon. If you were to find a Ferrari 275 GTB/4 that was delivered from the factory in a very dark metallic – for example, a dark green with a light tan interior – that would be enough for it to command a premium. It’s something that puts it ahead of others cars, and we’re noticing that clients are becoming increasingly specific about a car being in its original colour. In the case of Ferrari, it’s even better if that colour isn’t red but Celeste or Verde Scuro.

It isn’t enough for a car to have acquired its alternative colour retrospectively – the key thing is that it was applied when new, and by the factory. There are plenty of Enzos that left the factory in red but were repainted black when they were a year old. That’s not going to produce the same reaction when the car comes to market.

Some of the cars that do fulfil this criteria were delivered in period to the Sultan of Brunei, whose collection included many one-off models that were built to individual special order. We’ve been involved with a number of these over the years. A particularly memorable example is one of seven Ferrari F40s that were converted at great expense by Pininfarina specifically for the Sultan, and the only one to be given a Satin Grey finish. There were a number of other personal touches on the car, but its paint scheme was its defining feature. It subsequently spent a number of years in Rosso Corsa before we were entrusted with the task of returning the car to original, a process that involved taking back the Rosso Corsa to the carbon fibre beneath before refinishing it in Satin Grey.

Another Sultan of Brunei car that we’ve been closely involved with is a 288 GTO that, like the F40, was converted to right-hand drive but this time finished in black with a matching interior. Once again, its appearance forms an intrinsic part of the car’s story and provokes a particularly strong reaction among enthusiasts. It gives it a special place in history.

In the past few months, as well as completing the Satin Grey F40 and bringing to market the Cobalt & Midnight Blue Porsche Carrera GTs, we’ve sold a LaFerrari in Blu Tour de France and – whether it’s in our sales, workshop or servicing departments – will continue to be involved with these often-unique and undeniably individual cars. Even in a sector of the market in which rarities abound, the rarest of the rare will always be the most alluring of all.

Words by James Page.

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