(Bloomberg) -- Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger is selling his 2003 Ferrari Enzo in January at the annual RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale, Ariz., auctions. Hilfiger is the original owner of this extremely low mileage supercar—there are just over 3600 miles on the odometer, which translates to about three-quarters of a mile per day since he bought it—a factor that significantly advances the value of a collectible car, especially one from the modern era. Exclusivity is key in the category as well, so it doesn’t hurt that only 400 Enzos were ever made, and that Hilfiger’s is one of the few in America to remain with its original owner. Given all this, Hilfiger’s car might just be among the most valuable Enzos to sell. But this isn’t why he’s selling.
“My lifestyle is changing,” Hilfiger, now 65, said. “ I don't drive fast sports cars as I used to. These days I prefer driving my Rolls-Royce Dawn or my Maybach.”
Fair enough. The Enzo is not exactly a luxurious, everyday kind of vehicle like a Dawn, and ease of ingress and egress, even with the crazy scissor doors, is not like rolling into the pillow-topped rear seat/bed of the Maybach. Released in the early 2000s, the Enzo was the prancing horse brand’s outrageous top-of-the line super-performance vehicle, a direct successor to the basket-handled F50 and the direct precursor to the contemporary LaFerrari. It incorporated so much racing technology—a carbon fiber body, an electro-hydraulic automated-manual transmission, carbon ceramic brakes, an impossibly high-revving V-12 engine—it was like a Formula One car for the road (and it was, somewhat unfortunately, styled accordingly).
Hilfiger Loves Ferraris
Hilfiger was drawn to the car in part because of his affection for, and connection to the marque. “I love Ferraris,” he said. “Tommy Hilfiger [the brand] sponsored the Ferrari race team, and I designed the Formula One uniforms during the Michael Schumacher years in the late 1990s. When the Enzo launched, Jean Todt and Luca di Montezemolo made sure I got one,” he said, respectively referring to the then-head of Ferrari’s racing team and the then-chairman of the company. Both were instrumental connections in a brand known to sell its supercars only to the proven and the faithful. But Hilfiger has affection for plenty of Ferrari models, including the 458 Speciale, the LaFerrari, and older Daytonas. “Cars are similar to fashion in that they are always evolving in style,” he said.
It is a relatively new trend in the vintage car world for modern supercars such as this to so quickly become collectible. “It used to be that a special car, regardless of how good it was, would depreciate for years before being ‘discovered’ as a bona-fide collectible and appreciate,” said expert car dealer and Road & Track vintage-car columnist Colin Comer. “Typically, this was a process of 20 years or more, and ‘instant collectibles’ were anything but.” This is no longer the case. Now vehicles such as the Ford GT, Porsche Carrera GT, Porsche 918, and McLaren P1, and the Enzo have all gone up in value significantly, without a depreciation pause.
“The Enzo was around $700,000 new, but one has not traded hands for under $1,000,000 that I can recall,” Comer said. “Two years ago, they breached $2,000,000. Now they are passing $3,000,000.”
The Enzo Data
This reportage is backed up by data from the vintage-vehicle valuation experts at Hagerty, which show a steady bump since purchase, followed by a sharp 64 percent spike in prices in the past year alone. “It is definitely possible for this car to hit the $3,000,000 range,” said Hagerty automotive specialist Jonathan Klinger. “This threshold has been crossed three times already at public sale, with a two-owner, 560-mile Enzo in 2015, which sold for $3,300,000; with one of only four black Enzos in 2016, which also sold for $3,300,000; and with the very special Enzo, basically un-driven, which was the final car produced, No. 400, and originally gifted to Pope John Paul by the factory to be sold for charity. That car sold for $6,050,000 in 2015.”
Comer pegs this market appreciation to a generational disruption, one that privileges metrics and accessibility. “It’s a new and younger demographic that appreciates these modern supercars. They like them because it’s easy to find one and verify its history, because all the information is available. And they’re usable and modern cars, something you can actually drive without panicking that it will break, or break you.”
Klinger added what has become something of a truism in the market, as the next generation of collectors enters their peak earning years, and look to spend on toys (or investment toys): “Younger buyers are much more interested in the cars they imprinted on in their youth, vs. older traditional collector cars,” he said. “The Enzo is of an era to benefit from Gen X’s increased activity in the market.”
The Fame Card
Will Hilfiger’s Enzo join the elite of the elite in this category and crest the $3,000,000 mark? Given all it has going for it, this seems quite likely. And unlike some other collectible vehicles we’ve covered recently, this is an instance where the car will be assisted by its celebrity provenance. “One owner and low mileage is really paramount. But it being Hilfiger’s car will definitely help as well,” Comer said. “It’s a lot more impressive than saying it was owned by some hedge fund guy from Chicago.” But apparently ever so slightly less impressive than saying it was owned by the Pope.
The only thing standing in its way seems extremely counterintuitive. (Close your eyes and picture a Ferrari.) “The color hurts it,” Comer said. “Red Ferraris, if you can believe it, are out of favor. I guess you want everybody to know what your car is worth but not view you as predictable or clichéd.”