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They auctioned the first Ferrari of Niki Lauda that was not a Formula 1

Niki Lauda washing his Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2 at home.  The witness of being a foreign car is marked on the license plate with the initials EE (photo Marcel Massini)
Niki Lauda washing his Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2 at home. The witness of being a foreign car is marked on the license plate with the initials EE (photo Marcel Massini)

Probably very few 24-year-old employees have had the opportunity to have a Ferrari as a gift car from their employer in the 1970s. Niki Laudathat Austrian boy who asked for a loan to pay for a seat in Formula 1 because his family did not want to support him, was that privileged one.

The car was a 365 GT4 2+2 from 1973 and it was part of what he received when he was hired by Enzo Ferrari as a driver for Scuderia Ferrari starting in the 1974 season. But in those days, when the European Union did not exist, having a car with an Italian license plate in Austria was complicated. The license plate had a mark of EE (Escursionisti Esteri) that gave him away and the controls and questions were a constant. So it was that, despite having enormous enthusiasm for having a car from his own Formula 1 team, he was just crowned World Champion in 1975, Lauda sold it and he bought his own Ferrari to travel around Europe.

That 356 GT4 was silver in color, not so common for a Ferrari, although a little more logical to be a sports saloon and not a coupe like most cars, in which it did deserve that the color be Ferrari red.

The three taillights on each side was a feature of the 365 GT4.  Then there were only four with the evolutions of the model
The three taillights on each side was a feature of the 365 GT4. Then there were only four with the evolutions of the model

However, the last thing that was known about that first Niki Lauda “machine” was that the person who bought it in 1975, the son of Wolfgang Denzel, then a Ferrari importer in Austria, the first thing he did was change the color and paint it redand almost like a criminal act, he decided that all the chrome should be matte black, which considerably lowered the elegance of a car that was born in 1972 and that would be produced, with some evolutions and variants, until 1989.

After the news of the aesthetic change of Lauda’s car, he completely lost track and no one knew what happened to its existence, until its last owner, investigating the origin of the car when he noticed that its original color had been changed, found out that this unit had belonged to the Austrian driver, world champion with Ferrari in 1975 and 1977. .

The car already had 87,951km of road, it was in very good condition despite being from 1973, and the fingerprints that gave it away were the identification plates with the chassis serial numbers 17.517.

The chassis identification plates, which prove the origin of the car despite the color change
The chassis identification plates, which prove the origin of the car despite the color change

The Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2 (so called because although it had 4 seats, the rear was small), it had a 4.4-liter V12 engine with four overhead camshafts that delivered 340 HP of power. The design was by Leonardo Fioravanti, who worked for Sergio Pininfarina, in those years the creator of all the cars in the “Prancing Horse”.

Throughout the years of existence, the model changed its name and engines. In 1976 they called it ferrari 400 gt, with a more powerful engine and the first automatic gearbox to be featured in a Maranello car. Three years later, in 1979, the car changed its name again and was called 400iand it remained so until 1985, when it took the name of Ferrari 412 which it kept until the end of its production and which stood out for having an engine that was now 5 liters and almost 400 HP of power.

A typical 1970s Ferrari sports car cockpit, with the gear lever raised higher than normal
A typical 1970s Ferrari sports car cockpit, with the gear lever raised higher than normal

But going back to Lauda’s car, its last owner, who discovered the “pedigre” of that unit, decided to put it up for auction. Home Dorotheum Auction was in charge of doing it on December 7, and the base, which was 30,000 euros, was exceeded throughout the days that it was available for offers, until the price at which it was sold was closed, which was 207,000 euros.

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