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Ferris Bueller Replica Ferrari 250 GT Sells For More Than You'd Expect, Less Than a Real One

If you blinked, you just might have missed this faux Ferrari's near $400,000 sale.

In the classic 1980s movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, young protagonist Ferris recommends picking up a Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder—if you have the means, of course—because "It is so choice." While you might not want to take the advice of a Ferrari-stealing, joyriding truant for much else, Bueller was right on this one point, at least. The genuine article, meaning a real 250 GT California, is a drop-dead classic worth millions of dollars. This 1985 Modena Spyder California, better known to the world as one of the three Ferrari replicas used in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, is nearly as good thanks to its movie fame and sold for a more attainable $396,000 at the 2020 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction on Saturday.

As the story tends to go, the movie's director John Hughes wanted to use a Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder as the star car of his new movie. Only problem was, a genuine Ferrari was too expensive even back then. Factor in the unkind treatment the car would receive in the film, from jumps to being launched backwards out of a suburban Chicago home into a ravine, and it's easy to see why a replica was used instead.

Hughes discovered Modena Design, a company founded in 1980s California, that was seeking to produce replicas of the fabled car (essentially a drop-top version of the 250 GT "Tour de France," one of which we drove. Three cars were commissioned for the movie, each in various states of completion. Only one of them was returned to Modena Design, where movie damage was repaired and the car was resold several times, most recently to an American at a 2010 Bonhams auction in England for the equivalent of roughly $100,000. Today, that car is listed with the National Historic Vehicle Registry. But the car that sold at Barrett-Jackson isn't that car.

Instead, this is one of the two chassis that led more mysterious lives after Ferris Bueller wrapped production. While the third car, chassis 003, was unsold at Mecum's 2019 Monterey auction with a high bid of $225,000, this car, chassis 001, recently received a full restoration by Modena Design co-founder Neil Glassmoyer. Various mechanical components were updated and the car's cosmetics were refurbished to the condition you see here. Powered by a 7.0-liter Chevy V-8 engine with a five-speed manual transmission and riding on chrome 16-inch wire spoke wheels and a coil-over suspension, we're guessing this non-Italian Ferrari is still plenty of fun to drive. Various memorabilia was included in the sale alongside the car, including a signed certificate of authenticity from Modena Design.

Enthusiastic bidding at Barrett-Jackson resulted in a final price of $396,000 with the buyer's premium included. While it is unclear exactly which scenes chassis 001 appeared in for in the film, there's no denying its place in history as a movie icon and an expensive one at that.