Published February 27, 2013
In 2003, a Ferrari F50, one of just 50 imported into the United States, was stolen from a dealership in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. In 2009, long after the long after the insurance company had paid the dealership for the theft, the car was recovered in an unrelated FBI sting operation.
The training given FBI agents doesn't include driving exotic supercars, especially not on on cold tires. Rather than having the F50 towed to an evidence warehouse, FBI agent Fred Kingston opted to drive the car instead. As we previously reported, that ended with a damaged F50 and an insurance company filing suit against the FBI.
Shortly afterward, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the lawsuit, claiming that federal law grants immunity on property being held by law enforcement. The insurance company ultimately sold the damaged car at auction for a fraction of its pre-crash value, and that was the end of the incident.
Until now, that is, as the car has once again turned up on eBay, for sale by a California dealership with a salvage title. The starting bid on the auction (which ended on 2/24) was $500,000, with a Buy-It-Now price of $715,000.
Here’s where the whole buyer-beware thing comes into play: the dealership claims that the F50 received only minor cosmetic damage in the crash, and that the car’s suspension and structural components were untouched. That may well be the case, but we’d be nervous gambling with a car this exotic and expensive.
While that’s good news, the claim that the damaged parts were reconstructed by “one of the best body shops,” makes us a bit nervous. Carbon fiber is tricky stuff to work with, and we’d much rather spend the money on replacement original panels than on panel repair.
For the right buyer, the car could still prove to be a bargain, but not at the Buy-It-Now price listed. Hagerty Insurance lists a Condition 1 Ferrari F50 (concours-quality perfect example) at a value of $950,000, while a Condition 4 vehicle (fair overall condition, with normal wear and tear) has a current value of $695,000.
If you can look beyond the salvage title (which will make future resale difficult), and if the car is indeed mechanically sound, it may be worth making the dealership an offer if you’ve always wanted an F50 in your garage. Assuming the car checks out, you aren’t likely to find a better-priced example.