Businessman reacts after auctioning off Ferrari for $27.5 million

Car originally purchased for $14,500

Greenville businessman's Ferrari auctioned for $27.5 million

GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - A Greenville businessman shared his reactions after auctioning off his rare 1967 Ferrari for $27.5 million.

"You just can't imagine an automobile selling for that much money, especially when you know that it sold originally for $14,500," said Eddie Smith, Jr. of Grady-White Boats in Greenville. Smith had owned the car before selling it at the auction in Monterey, Calif.

The car is a Ferrari 275 GTB/4 N.A.R.T. Spider, one of 10 ever built. 'N.A.R.T.' stands for North American Racing Team, a Ferrari-backed venture created to promote the brand in the U.S.

"Road & Track said it was the ultimate sports car, and it really is," said Smith.

Smith's father, former Lexington, N.C. Mayor Eddie Smith, had previously owned the car before he died in 2007 at age 88. Since then, the car has been stored in a specially-built garage.

"I just really felt that dad would want that car out being used, seen, shared, enjoyed," said Smith about his decision to auction off the vehicle.

The sale was handled by RM Auctions in Monterey, Calif. Smith said he knew his father was looking down with pride when the car was sold for $27.5 million.

"I would have to say that right when the auction ended, he was probably throwing the biggest party they've ever seen in heaven," said Smith.

Smith said in keeping with his father's philanthropy, the family is giving all proceeds from the $27.5 million sale to various charities. Some of the money will be immediately given out, while the rest will be placed in foundations and distributed over time.

"To whom much is given, much is expected. And it feels tremendously great to be able to give back," said Smith. "We're very blessed to be able to get the car in the hands of an owner that indeed will use it, show it, share it, and take the proceeds and just touch lots and lots of lives."

The highest price ever paid for a car at auction was about $30 million for a 1954 Mercedes-Benz racer. The sale was made during a British auction last month.

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