What’s the story on the Ferrari from Ferris Buehlers Day Off?

What’s the story on the Ferrari from Ferris Buehler’s Day Off?

Ferris Buehler’s Day Off was the definitive fantasy film for 80’s teenagers, encompassing everything a hip young man might want out of twenty four hours of freedom. In addition to eating exotic food, visiting downtown Chicago and blowing huge quantities of someone else’s cash, Ferris had the joy of driving an open-top Ferrari through the streets, complements of his best friend’s father. But what’s the Ferris Buehler’s day off Ferrari info? What kind of car was it, and why was it chosen over other models?

Ferrari GT California Replica from "Ferris Buehler's Day" Off movie

Ferrari GT California Replica from "Ferris Buehler's Day" Off movie

Ferris himself states that the vehicle is a “Ferrari GT California,” which would make it exceptionally rare – only fifty Ferrari GT California’s were ever produced, and all of them were special one-off cars produced for Hollywood stars – hence the name. The most rare and collectible of all Ferrari cars, the most recent one to sell at auction summoned over $10 million, even though it needed some cosmetic and engineering repairs. Therefore, Ferris isn’t just “borrowing” a Ferrari, he is borrowing what is the rarest and most valuable Ferrari ever built – which explains why his friend Cameron is so worried about it receiving even the slightest scratch.

Of course, a real Ferrari GT would be much too expensive and rare to use in the film, especially in the final scene where the Ferrari is destroyed as the boys attempt to turn back the odometer and conceal their joy riding. Instead, three separate copy cars were used in the film, with only the close interior and static shots being done with a real Ferrari GT California. These “replicars” were built using inexpensive and widely available spare parts, and were universally hated by the crews and the actors. Hastily built and poorly assembled, they constantly broke down, and many of the intended high-speed shots and maneuvers had to be cut out of the movie due to the lack of performance of these mock cars. Only one of the three mock Ferraris ever managed to make it to full functionality, and it was used in all the scenes and shooting, including the destructive fall at the end. The other two kits were sold off or discarded before the film was even finished.

But what about the one vehicle that did (sort of) work, and was dumped out the window at the end? Amazingly, the vehicle survived its fall with minimal damage, and was repaired shortly after filming ended. It was then sold as a movie memorabilia item to a California couple, who wrecked it and had it repaired in the mid 90s. It was last seen in an auction in 2000, where it was bought by an anonymous buyer. The vehicle has since disappeared, but it is believed to remain in the hands of this private collector, and will some day return to the auction block and the public eye.

Wendy Feliu
wendy@autosupershield.com