A pair of rare 1960s Ferraris will be auctioned off to raise money for the RNLI, after they were bequeathed to the lifeboat charity

The RNLI is no stranger to receiving generous gifts from people’s wills, but the charity’s latest gift from a rare Ferrari collector takes some beating.

Classic car enthusiast Richard Colton left a pair of 1960s models to the lifeboat charity in his will, which are believed to be worth millions – making this one of the largest bequests ever received by the RNLI.

The elder model is a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB (pictured below in red), which was ordered by Col. Ronnie Hoare to launch his UK distributor Maranello Concessionaires.

1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB

Slightly younger but no less vintage in looks, the second model is a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 (pictured below in silver) – one of only 27 ever built for the UK market.

Both models started life as demonstrators at Maranello, before Mr Colton snapped them up in the 1970s and drove them across the UK and Europe.

However, these classic Ferraris won’t be staying in the RNLI’s possession for long, as the charity plans to put them under the hammer for a fundraising auction.

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB-4

H&H Classics will be carrying out the auction at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford on October 14.

Guy Rose, Legacy Manager at the RNLI, said: “We are deeply grateful and humbled by Mr Colton’s generous gift and his decision to benefit the RNLI in this way.

“Six out of every 10 lifeboat launches are only made possible because of gifts left to us in wills, so they are vital to saving lives at sea. Mr Colton’s generosity will be felt most by our volunteer crews and the people whose lives they save.”

In accordance with his will, the proceeds from these two lots will be used to build a new lifeboat called Richard and Caroline Colton.

UPDATE: The RNLI has now raised the auction estimate for these two rare Ferraris to £8m, meaning that the proceeds could be used to built two Shannon class lifeboats.

Should the target be met, the second vessel would be named Mark Colton, in honour of the couple’s son, who died in a hillclimbing accident.

Despite the generous donation, the RNLI stressed that it still needs regular contributions to operate, as its fleet of lifeboats costs £410,000 per day to run.