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World's rarest Ferraris sell for £8.5m at charity auction

Two of the world's rarest Ferraris have sold for a total of £8.5 million at a charity auction - setting what is expected to be a new world record.

The classic sports cars were bequeathed to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) by millionaire businessman Richard Colton, who died earlier this year aged 82.

The legacy - also including an E-type Jaguar which belonged to football legend George Best and a 1976 Jaguar which featured as the character John Steed's car in the 1970s TV series The New Avengers - is the most valuable ever left to the charity.

Speaking after an auction at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, in Cambridgeshire, the RNLI's chief executive Paul Bossier said: "We are overwhelmed by the sale price of the two Ferraris, a legacy so generously gifted to our charity by car enthusiast Richard Colton.

"His legacy will help our volunteer crews carry out their lifesaving work around the coast.

"In line with Mr Colton's wishes, some of the money raised from the sale will go towards funding a new Shannon class lifeboat which will be named after his Mr Colton and his late wife, Richard and Caroline Colton."

The two Ferraris are a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT short-wheelbase (SWB) Berlinetta chassis 1995 GT, of which just 167 were made with only 10 being supplied new to the UK market and a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 chassis 10177 GT, thought by many to be the ultimate front-engined, Enzo-era Ferrari road car.

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They both exceeded expectations, the 1960 Ferrari 250 GT taking £6,600,000 and the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB fetching £1,930,000.

Simon Hope, managing director of H&H Classics which ran the auction, said: "This is a dream result for us.

"We have worked relentlessly with the RNLI over the past few months, promoting the cars all over the world, to ensure that we honoured the memory of Richard Colton properly.

"The sale result, including potentially new world record prices when confirmed, vindicates that effort and we are more than proud to have been a part of a legacy that will help save lives in the future."

Mr Colton, a Northamptonshire businessman, had a distinguished career in footwear distribution and collected classic cars for 40 years.

Described by close friends as "a shy and private man", he was known to be nervous of the sea so decided to leave his collection to the RNLI.

Mr Bossier said: "Six out of 10 lifeboat launches are only made possible by legacies, large and small, left to the RNLI in people's wills.

"These gifts help pay for the training and equipment our lifeboat crews rely on when they launch into the unknown, in all weathers, day or night to save others.

"We are deeply grateful to Mr Colton for his generosity which will be felt most by our volunteers and the people whose lives they save."

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