Noth­ing is known of its his­tory other than some­one fa­mous owned it for a year or two? Well, from the point of a view of the car, prob­a­bly the for­mer, but, from the viewpoint of re­sale value, pos­si­bly the lat­ter — es­pe­cially if that fa­mous owner hap­pens to

New Zealand Classic Car - - International Market Report -

‘Prove­nance’, as in the ori­gin or source of some­thing, is a word much used when talk­ing about clas­sic cars. If we have any sense, we ask about a ve­hi­cle’s con­di­tion, its orig­i­nal­ity, its his­tory, and its prove­nance. Prove­nance is part of the car’s his­tory, and, in this day and age, the idea of prove­nance is of­ten linked to a fa­mous or celebrity owner. If a car is de­scribed as hav­ing ‘great prove­nance’, it of­ten means that some­one im­por­tant has owned the car pre­vi­ously. This gives it added ca­chet, some­times dis­pro­por­tion­ately so. Would it be bet­ter, for ex­am­ple, to own a car with full his­tory and for which each of its (non­de­script) own­ers is known since new, or a car in sim­i­lar con­di­tion for which

Non fac­tory

Some of us might baulk at a car changed from its orig­i­nal golden-brown metal­lic to a non-fac­tory Chi­anti red, and con­verted into a spi­der body be­fore later hav­ing the process re­versed again, re­turn­ing it to a hard­top. That is, un­less that car is a 1967 Fer­rari 275 GTB/4, and its first

Fa­mous own­ers

In fact, at Villa d’este there was a whole class of ve­hi­cles de­voted to film stars’ cars, in­clud­ing Clark Gable’s 1953 Jaguar XK120, Mar­cello Mas­troianni’s 1966 Fer­rari 330 GTC, and Clint East­wood’s 1975 Fer­rari 365 GT/4 Ber­linetta Boxer. But su­per­star im­pri­matur does not nec­es­sar­ily mean that it is a su­per­star car. In Oc­to­ber, at the H&H auc­tion

at the Im­pe­rial War Mu­seum in Dux­ford, Eng­land, the 1972 Rolls-royce Sil­ver Shadow sold new to ge­nius foot­baller and bon vi­vant George Best was bought for just £12,320. Where did it all go wrong?

The prove­nance of a mo­tor car is cer­tainly a very im­por­tant fac­tor but only when cou­pled with his­tory, orig­i­nal­ity, con­di­tion, rar­ity, and de­sir­abil­ity. Do not be sim­ply mis­led by virtue of a car once hav­ing had a fa­mous owner. Those fa­mous own­ers, of course, can pro­vide ex­tra mon­e­tary value to a car, but it is know­ing which of those fa­mous peo­ple are the right ones — Steve Mcqueen seem­ingly cer­tainly; George Best ap­par­ently not so much.

Race cars, too, can owe much of their value to prove­nance — some­thing driven by Moss, Fan­gio, Jim Clark, et al. will com­mand a pre­mium, es­pe­cially if it was a win­ning car at top events. There is a rea­son why the top-two prices ever paid at auc­tion be­long to the ex– Jo Sch­lesser, Henri Oreiller, Paolo Colombo, Ernesto Prinoth, Fabrizio Vi­o­late 1962 Fer­rari 250 GTO (US$38,115,000 on Au­gust 14, 2014), and the ex–juan Manuel Fan­gio, Hans Her­rmann, Karl Kling, Ger­man-andSwiss-grand-prix-win­ning 1954 Mercedes-benz W196R (US$29,598,265 on July 12, 2013).

So, make sure you do your home­work, and al­ways check the prove­nance along with the other im­por­tant fac­tors of a car — if it says the car has been owned by Steve Mcqueen, make sure that there is proof — it could make a lot of dif­fer­ence!

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