Just when it seemed like the collectible car market might be tapping the brakes, a mythical Ferrari could soon become the second-most expensive car ever auctioned.
On Thursday, RM Sotheby's will auction off a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti for an estimated $28 million to $32 million. If it reaches $30 million, it will become the second-most expensive car ever sold at auction. A Ferrari 250 GTO, which sold last year for $38 million, holds the record.
The 290 MM being sold is part of Ferrari folklore — both for its racing history and the role the automaker's founder Enzo Ferrari played in its development.
Enzo Ferrari built the car to compete in the World Sportscar Championship, which was as important to him as the Formula One race. He oversaw the design and engine plan for the car, and persuaded legendary racer Juan Manuel Fangio to drive it in the championship's 1956 Mille Miglia race.
Fangio placed fourth, and the car went on to race successfully for another two years, driven by famed drivers such as Eugenio Castellotti and Joakim Bonnier.
The Ferrari is part of the "Driven by Disruption" auction, which includes nearly $100 million worth of cars.
Among the other top lots is one of the holy grails of British carmaking — a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, which was created via a partnership between Aston and the Italian coach-builder Carrozzeria Zagato. If it sells for its estimate, between $15 million to $17 million, it would be the most expensive British car ever sold at auction.
A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 'Sportabteilung' Gullwing that was likely driven by racing legend Stirling Moss will also be auctioned. If it sells for the estimate of between $5 million and $7 million it will become the most expensive gull-wing ever auctioned.
Prices for collectible cars, which were soaring by the double digits between 2010 and 2013, have slowed to between 5 percent and 10 percent, according to experts. Yet Ian Kelleher, a specialist with RM Sotheby's, said interest in collectible cars remains strong due to a new generation of younger collectors.
"We are seeing new clients coming into the market, a younger generation coming in," he said. "Those are the types of trends that help build the hobby."