Ferris Bueller’s Day Off And The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California

Ferris Bueller's Day Off And The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California
Ferris Bueller's Day Off And The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California /

…a man with priorities so out of wack doesn’t deserve such a fine automoblie.

Today (June. 11, 2015) marks the 29th anniversary of the film release of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” In the film, Ferris Bueller played by a young Matthew Brodrick decides to skip school one day by fooling his parents into thinking he’s sick and takes the day off to see the sights and sounds of Chicago with his best friend Cameron Frye and his girlfriend Sloane Peterson. Before picking up his girlfriend from school after phoning in a fake report that her grandmother had died, Bueller convinces Frye to use his father’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, a symbol of his father paternal cruelty to his mother and to Frye. It doesn’t take much convincing because soon after, Frye and Bueller are motoring off.

What ensues is a pure cult classic masterpiece with the Ferrari playing an important second fiddle. After parking the Ferrari in a parking garage, the two parking attendants infamously joyride around the city to Frye’s dismay. Fortunately, they find the Ferrari unharmed but with an inordinate amount of mileage. Back at his father’s house, Bueller comes up with an ingenius plan to put the Ferrari on jack stands and drive the car in reverse to erase the mileage, but obviously it doesn’t work. The Ferrari 250 GT California *spoiler alert* meets an unfortunate end and plunges to the ground below (as Frye’s father’s garage is one story up.

So what happened to that infamous Ferrari? Well they weren’t actually 250 GT California’s. That weren’t real Ferrari’s at all.  That would’ve been way over budget which by some estimates would’ve cost $300,000 to find a running one. Consider that the entire film only cost $5.8 million to make but made out with $70.1 million at the box office. The cars used in the film (there were 3 made) were 1963 Modena Spyder Californias. Started in 1980, Modena Design and Development’s sole product where Ferrari GT Spyder based replicas, whose product far exceeded the quality that some replica car manufacturers were making at the time. Some say you could’ve parked the replica next to the real thing and you wouldn’t know the difference. Given four weeks to produce the movie cars, Modena Design whipped up three cars to be used in the film. Two Modena’s made where actually driving Hero and stunt cars and one was a rolling fiberglass chassis used in the destruction scene (although both the running cars ended up with damage after being jumped in the nine takes it took with the infamous parking garage duo.) Check out the infamous scene at 1 minute 50 seconds below.)

The one rolling shell Modena Spyder ended up in Planet Hollywood Minneapolis wherein shortly after closing, no one knows what happened to that one.  One Modena Spyder sold at auction in 2010 for the handsome sum of $123,257 and the last Modena Spyder was handily sold back to Modena where the owners  Neil Glassmoyer and Mark Goyett, rebuilt it to immaculate condition.  According to Road and Track who did a piece on this particular Modena back in 2013 before it went to auction,

"The 289 has been replaced with a 351W bored and stroked to 427 cubic inches and dyno’d at over 500hp; a T-5 manual replacing the automatic (Matthew “two-pedal” Broderick couldn’t drive a stick); 13-inch disc brakes were fitted; and coilovers installed in place of a torsion bar suspension. Neil did leave one little dent in the grille, just for history’s sake, and cleaned up some little details, like the MGB taillamps they used on the original. He says he outran a Viper on the street recently, because with 500 hp in a 2620-pound car, speed islimited only by skill and traction."

When the gavel dropped at Mecum, this Modena Spyder sold for $235,000. And the real 250 GT Spyder California SWB? Ferrari made only 55 of those. A barn find sold at auction recently in February for $15.9 million. As for Modena, they were shut down by Ferrari shortly after Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released after being handed a cease and desist order. Modena Spyder’s still to this day demand a pretty penny if you do come across one.