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    First 458 in US auctioned off


    It's one thing to own a Ferrari; it's another to be the first one to own an all-new model. The first 458 Italia was auctioned off on Thursday night for $530,000 in a stunning charity gala held at a Beverly Hills estate that made the Clampett mansion look like the carriage house where the pool boy stayed.

    Auctioneer David Gooding donated his services and got the ball rolling at $250,000, which was more than the expected MSRP for the car of about $220,000. But no one's going to pay sticker for this car. Waiting lists are said to be as long as two and a half years for somebody who puts down a deposit today, according to newly appointed CEO of Ferrari North America Marco Mattiacci, who was on hand for the festivities. Also present were Piero Ferrari, son of Enzo, and Amedeo Felisa, Ferrari CEO.

    More than 500 potential bidders were shuttled to the site, which reportedly became available as the result of the divorce of an incredibly rich couple. These things sometimes happen in Beverly Hills. Their pain is our gain.

    Among the 500 was an impressive sprinkling of 22-year-old artificial blondes with legs about, by our estimate, 19 feet long, perched precariously on heels that looked to be about one foot of spike. Former AutoWeek contributor Dan Neil acted as MC, God bless him, and the evening started with a full acoustic set by recording artist John Mayer, who also donated his services.

    The buyers mingled about on a sprawling lawn decorated with three 458s, in which anyone who wanted could sit. We sat, and we found the car to our liking. Hear that Matteo? Cut loose with a press loaner, will ya?

    We recognized some of the minglers as car collectors, many with impressive garages. Next to them were stars and starlets whom we might not have recognized, being as we are somewhat immune to pop culture. We can say that Malin Akerman looks just as she does in the movies, swimsuit model Molly Sims did not jump into the estate's immense pool, and Katie Cassidy strolled about regally, apparently fully recovered from the teen screamerNightmare on Elm Street. Racer and actor Patrick Dempsey, who might just be a genuine nice guy, actually walked up and thanked us for an article we wrote about him. Porsche Cup winner Cort Wagner was over at the bar having a good time.

    Does this sound like a gossip column?

    Back to the auction.

    It started with Ferarri pilote Fernando Alonso's driving suit, fresh from his win at the season opener in Bahrain (“His taut little buns were actually in here,” Neil implored). That went for $35,000. A chance to be a Team Ferrari member at the Montreal F1 race was way undervalued at only $21,000. What's wrong with you Ferrari people, anyway?

    Then bidding got going on the car. It went fairly quickly up to a half million, then stalled. Perhaps many bidders had set that in their heads as the point over which they would not go. Gooding prodded, Neil exhorted, then they got what might dubiously be called “help” from Talk Soup or The Soup host and “comedian” Joel McHale. McHale thought the crowd needed to be prodded a bit to get moving with off-color references.

    “All right you [expletives] ” he began.

    He then used the same term to disparage seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, preceding it with “loser.”

    “No wonder they got rid of him,” McHale said, when informed Schumie no longer drove for Ferrari.

    “Is this your lovely wife, or your daughter?” he asked a potential bidder.

    Maybe this is how you get people to spend more than half a million. What do we know?

    In any case, the hammer fell shortly after at $530,000. All proceeds went directly to the Catholic Medical Mission Board and the William J. Clinton Foundation for relief efforts in Haiti. CMMB has been working in Haiti since 1912, and Clinton was asked by President Barack Obama to spearhead efforts in that country with the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

    It was a wonderful evening for a great cause. But the winner won't get his car until July, Felisa told us. That's when regular production cars start going to regular customers. If you could call anyone who buys a Ferrari regular. We'll wait for that press loaner. For now, good job Ferrari. Ciao, baby



    Re: First 458 in US auctioned off

    Great Cause, but why not give the guy the car now!! I do not understand how the car went from a divorced couple to be available? Was it built already? Or was the ownership papers for a slot of production auctioned off only? Either way it went for quite a large sum, which is good for the cause! 


    indeed shifting is ancient technology - so is a fuel burning engine..  I happen to like both :) 
    1984 BMW 323i 5spd 2.3L 141 hp (105 kW) More door. Black on black (parting out) 
    1986 BMW 325e 5spd 2.7L 121 hp (172 lb·ft) Le Mans Blau on Tan leather.
    1986 BMW 325is 5spd 2.5L 168 hp (164 lb-ft) White on Tan leather (parted out) 
    2005 Ford Focus S, 5spd 2.0L 136 hp (120lb-ft) CD silver on grey (sold)
    1986 Porsche 944, 5spd 2.5L 150 hp (168lb-ft) champagne gold on grown leather. (sold)



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