The iconic cherry red “Ferrari” used in the 1986 classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” will be rolling onto Hilton Head Island later this month — hopefully slower than Ferris and Sloane drove it around Chicago in the film.
It’s part of a historic vehicle exhibition hosted by the Concours d’Elegance motoring festival, which will take place Oct. 24 through Nov. 3 in Savannah and Hilton Head.
First thing to know: It’s not really a Ferrari.
The car is actually a 1985 Modena Spyder, a car modeled off the Italian-built Ferrari 250 GT California, according to the Historical Vehicle Association (HVA) registry of the car.
It was purchased for the film because director John Hughes couldn’t afford the real deal, according to Stefan Lombard, a writer for the historic car culture and insurance site, Hagerty.
In his article titled “Why Hollywood’s most famous Ferrari is a complete fake,” Lombard said Hughes was in the market three years before the “Ferrari market boom,” when the price of the car jumped to $2.5 million.
“But even in the first half of the 1980s, they’d jumped from under $50,000 to $250,000,” he wrote. “With a $5.8 million budget for ‘Ferris’, Hughes couldn’t splurge on the real thing, let alone several of them.”
So when Hughes saw an ad for a spyder from Modena Design & Development in a magazine, Lombard said he called the firm and ordered three cherry red models at just $35,000 each.
After “Day Off” was filmed, the cars separated. Two went to Planet Hollywood restaurants in Minneapolis and Cancun, Lombard reported. The third changed hands a few times before a Maryland man bought it in 2010 for $108,251, he reported.
Later, Modena Design & Development and other replica car builders were sued by Ferrari, according to HVA. The case was settled out of court and Modena continued to produce replicas with minor changes, the registry says.
Regardless of the legality, the car became an icon after its feature in the film.
“The Ferrari replica featured prominently in the iconic John Hughes film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and has become the tangible embodiment of the classic film’s enormous popularity within American popular culture,” the HVA registry says.
How to see the car in the Lowcountry
The classic car will be part of a four-car exhibition, according to the Concours d’Elegance website. Here’s where to catch them:
Bluffton: Moreland Village at Palmetto Bluff
- 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 31
Hilton Head: Port Royal Golf Club
- 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 2
- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 3
Ticket prices for the festival range from $60 to $375 depending on the package.