Trump sells his Lamborghini Diablo for World Record amount !!

To paraphrase the popular refrain from Zoolander, the greatest movie ever made about male models: “That Trump is so hot right now.”

The former president and current frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination has a unique tendency to dominate news cycles, and that makes him a magnet for observers far and wide. Last week, in Scottsdale, Arizona, that tendency reached a frenzy on the auction block at Barrett-Jackson, when Trump’s 1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster sold without reserve for $1,100,000, including the 10 percent buyer’s premium. It is a world record for the model.

The current Hagerty #1 (Concours) value for the very best of these Italian stallions is $506,000, so a result more than double that figure is noteworthy.

Just 132 Diablo VT roadsters came to these shores between 1997 and 1999. Trump special-ordered this one in ’97 in a pretty Blu Le Mans paint over a black and cream leather interior. As a final bit of personalization, a small “Donald Trump 1997 Diablo” plaque is affixed to the door. Like all Diablos of this ilk, the car is powered by a 5.7-liter 48-valve V-12 that makes 492 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. Power is put to the rear wheels (and sometimes the front, thanks to that viscous traction system) through a five-speed manual transmission. Trump sold the Diablo in 2002, and it’s unclear how many miles he put on the car, but between his ownership and the two owners since, the odometer shows 15,431 miles.

This isn’t the first time a car once owned by Trump has come to auction. At its 2021 Kissimmee auction, Mecum sold his 2007 Ferrari F430 F1 coupe, which had also been purchased new by the real estate magnate. That car had no such custom touches, but Trump’s touch was enough to take the selling price to $330,000, more than 2.5 times the $121,000 #1 value at the time.

The effect of celebrity (a broad term, but for these purposes, we mean general “famousness”) ownership on collector car values is nothing new, of course. Witness any number of rock star–owned vehicles that have brought bigger-than-normal money at auction: Queen rocker Freddie Mercury’s 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, in merely #4 (Fair) condition, is a prime example. It sold in London in November 2022 for £286,250 ($340,500), though it was otherwise a $5000 car; this was a 3717 percent spike. Similarly, Princess Diana’s peppy but pedestrian 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo, in #3 (Good) condition, sold for £722,500 ($873,000) in August 2022, when anybody else’s would have struggled to hit $30,000. And in 2015, RM/Sotheby’s sold the 400th and final Ferrari Enzo, a gift from the Italian carmaker to Pope John Paul II, for $6.05 million, against a #1 value at the time of $2 million. And he never even drove the thing!

Presidential cars—both their personal machines and the limos in which they were chauffeured—always have a certain appeal with collectors. After he left office, Harry Truman owned and drove a 1955 Chrysler New Yorker Deluxe, an elegant ride perfectly suited to a former president’s daily runabouts. That car has been for sale via Classic Auto Mall for at least 18 months now, offered first at $83,500 and now reduced to $69,000. Although the Truman premium isn’t so striking as that of Trump’s Diablo, it’s still more than double our #2 (Excellent) valuation of $30,700. And, in November 2022, the 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible driven by LBJ at his Texas ranch sold on Bring A Trailer for $172,000. The figure was nearly $100,000 over our #2 value for a similar Conti without the presidential connection.

As in real estate, one important factor associated with any car’s ability to bring maximum bucks is location, location, location. Selling a car in the wrong place, at the wrong time, can severely impact its return. “This sale shows how much difference the right venue can make,” says Brian Rabold, Vice President of Automotive Intelligence at Hagerty. “Trump cars haven’t traded at such a high premium in the past, and this one reportedly sold on eBay in 2016, before he became president, for $460,000. Barrett-Jackson’s bidders were clearly the right audience for the Trump name.”

Clearly. Video from the sale captures the electricity in the room as the car was quickly bid up past its average sale price and into record territory until it was SOLD! SOLD! SOLD! to raucous applause. Whether the buyer will ever be able to recoup the investment—or even make some profit—is anyone’s guess, but with the Trump name forever linked to this Blu Le Mans Diablo, we wouldn’t be surprised at any trajectory this car takes in the future.

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