Fangio's Ferrari 290 MM should top $28 million at auction

1956 Ferrari 290 MM Fangio front 3/4
  • Image Credit: Tim Scott/RM Sotheby's
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Fangio front 3/4
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM front 3/4
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Fangio rear 3/4
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Fangio front
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM rear
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Fangio profile
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM top
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM above
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Fangio top
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Fangio above
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM hood scoop
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM engine
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM engine bay
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Fangio engine bay
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Fangio engine
  • 1956 Ferrari 290 MM cockpit
Of all the legendary pilots that have driven for the Scuderia over the years, few carry the kind of clout that did one Juan Manuel Fangio. A five-time world champion from another era, Fangio won a couple dozen grands prix and a fair few sports car races as well, driving for the likes of Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and of course Ferrari. What you see here is the car that Enzo's outfit built especially for Fangio. And now it's going up for auction, where it's anticipated – with good cause – to fetch big bucks.

This 1956 Ferrari 290 MM – chassis number 0626 – was designed for Fangio to drive in the Mille Miglia. It would be the last time he would compete in the event, before being scrapped the following year. Victory in the thousand-mile race once again eluded the legendary Argentinian with a fourth-place finish, achieved single-handedly. But that wasn't the end of the story for 0626. It would go on to be raced by Phil Hill at the Nürburgring, by Alfonso de Portago at the Rouen Grand Prix, by Wolfgang von Trips at the start of his career with Ferrari, and won the Buenos Aires 1000 KM in 1957. Victories like those helped Ferrari clinch the manufacturer's title in both 1956 and '57, campaigns in which the 290 MM played an integral part.

One (and arguably the best) of only four examples made, 0626 was never crashed during its decorated career. After its retirement from the Scuderia, it made its way through the hands of numerous collectors and racers on both sides of the Atlantic. It spent 34 years in the Mas du Clos collection of Pierre Bardinon before being acquired by its current owner, who in turn is now putting it up for auction. It will feature as part of RM Sotheby's upcoming Drive by Disruption sale in New York on December 10, where it is expected to sell for over $28 million. That would make it the most valuable car ever handled by the venerated auction house, outshining the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider it sold at Monterey in 2013 for $27.5 million.

Of course it's not the only lot consigned for the Manhattan event. It'll be joined by a spectacular blue 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial that's expected to fetch around $6 million, as well as a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato (~$16m) and a Lamborghini Concept S (~$3m), to name just a few highlights on the horizon.
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New York - Driven By Disruption

· RM Sotheby's secures ex-works 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti, chassis 0626, for its 'Driven by Disruption' sale, December 10 in New York City
· Built for racing legend and five-time World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio to compete in the 1956 Mille Miglia, 0626 was driven by the 'Who's Who' of motorsport in period
· Career highlights include 1st overall in the 1957 World Championship Buenos Aires 1000 KM
· Fully documented and never crashed, 0626 is one of the world's most significant and original competition Ferraris
· 'Driven by Disruption' to also present an exceptionally original 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial, chassis 0564MD/0424MD
· A showcase of automotive perfection and beauty, December 10 auction features carefully curated roster of 30 creatively-styled, cutting-edge automobiles and select memorabilia
· Further information and a frequently updated list of entries available online at

NEW YORK, New York (19 October 2015) – In the history of motor racing, it is hard to imagine two names with greater stature than Ferrari and Juan Manuel Fangio, the enigmatic five-time Formula One World Champion. To find a car which so closely connects these two great motor racing legends is the Holy Grail for car collectors and aficionados the world over. RM Sotheby's is thrilled to announce it will offer one such automobile, the ex-Works 1956 Ferrari 290 MM, chassis 0626, at its exclusive Driven by Disruption sale, December 10 in New York City. Raced not only by Fangio but also future World Champion Phil Hill, along with numerous other celebrated Ferrari Formula One drivers, the featured Ferrari is undoubtedly one of the greatest, most original, and most valuable cars ever offered at public auction.

Chassis 0626 was specifically built by the Ferrari factory for Juan Manuel Fangio to drive in the 1956 Mille Miglia. Certainly the best driver of his era, and classed by many as the greatest driver who ever lived, Fangio raced 0626 in the 1000-mile event single-handedly, finishing an impressive 4th overall in a race hindered by appalling conditions. Dressed in the unique factory Argentinian color scheme for Fangio, the car featured a totally new 3.5-liter V-12 engine and was one of only four 290 MMs to be built. Furthermore, it was one of the first Ferraris raced in Europe by Phil Hill and also heralded the beginning of Wolfgang von Trips' Ferrari-driving career. It was famously piloted to victory in the 1957 Buenos Aires 1000 KM by Eugenio Castellotti, Luigi Musso, and Masten Gregory. During its illustrious career, 0626 was also campaigned by other legendary names including Alfonso de Portago, Peter Collins, Olivier Gendebien, and Joakim Bonnier.

"It's hard to know where to start when describing just how important this 290 MM is," says Peter Wallman, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby's. "Driven by the greatest drivers of the 1950s and built for possibly THE greatest driver in history, this is a car with which Enzo Ferrari was personally involved and is a fundamental part of Ferrari folklore. Its originality, coupled with its extraordinary provenance and history, which are truly second to none, can only lead you to conclude that it is one of the most desirable and valuable cars that will ever come to the open market."

Combining rarity, powerful mechanical specification, important racing history, and purposeful good looks, 0626 is the ultimate 1950s factory sports racing car. An integral part of Ferrari's 1956 and 1957 Manufacturer's World Championship-winning teams, it participated in a roll-call of classic races during its period racing career, a selection of which are outlined below.

April 28/29, 1956 Mille Miglia Fangio
May 27, 1956 Nürburgring 1000 KM Hill/de Portago/Gendebien/Wharton
July 8, 1956Rouen Grand Prix de Portago
August 11/12, 1956 2nd Sveriges Sports Car GP von Trips/Collins
January 20, 1957 Buenos Aires 1000 KM Gregory/Castellotti/Musso
June 9, 1957 Portugal GP Gregory

In 1957, 0626 was sold through Luigi Chinetti to enthusiast Temple Buell, a friend of Enzo Ferrari, who continued to campaign the car around the world with Masten Gregory and Jo Bonnier behind the wheel. It then passed through the hands of two enthusiastic Ferrari team owners and continued to be raced up to 1964, eventually making its way into a private U.S. collection.

Following the end of its racing career, 0626 remained in the United States before it was acquired by renowned collector Pierre Bardinon, remaining in his incredible Mas du Clos Collection for almost 34 years before being purchased by its current custodian. It has since been presented at numerous prestigious events, including the 1987 Cartier "Hommage to Ferrari" exhibition and the UK's Concours of Elegance, as well as participating in the Mille Miglia Storica. Ferrari Classiche certified, it remains the best of all the four examples built, having never fallen victim to the crucible of motorsport, and retaining its original chassis, matching-numbers engine, gearbox, and body. It comes to auction accompanied by an extensive history file and is eligible for all major historic events, including its 60th anniversary at the Mille Miglia next year (Estimate available upon request).

The 290 MM will be joined at RM Sotheby's New York sale by another great competition Ferrari of the same era, the 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial, chassis 0564MD/0424MD.

Finished in French Blu and equipped with a Lampredi four-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts, 0564MD/0424MD was sold new to French gentleman driver Mr. Yves Dupont in 1955 and successfully campaigned in period. It made its racing debut at the 12 heures de Hyères in May 1955 and later entered the famous and demanding Liège-Rome-Liège. Following the end of the 1955 season, 0564MD/0424MD was returned to the factory to be refurbished; it was never picked up by its owner and instead remained there for the next two decades, during which time it was oversprayed red by the factory and displayed at the Monza Museum. In 1975, the factory sold the car to French enthusiast Jean-Francois du Montant. Over the ensuing years, 0564MD/0424MD passed through the hands of a number of respected, enthusiast owners.

In 2008, the then-owner of 0564MD/0424MD arranged for a Padova-based body shop to delicately remove the red paint to reveal the original French Blu paint underneath, a project that took three months to complete. The car still wears its original French Blu paint today. In recent years, 0564MD/0424 MD has participated in a number of historic events, including multiple appearances at the Mille Miglia Storica, as well as at various concours events including Salon Privé. Extraordinarily original, it comes to auction following a fresh engine rebuild and complete with Ferrari Classiche certification. It is eligible to participate in all key historic events (Est. $5,000,000 - $7,000,000).

RM Sotheby's Driven by Disruption event rounds out an already record year for the international auction house. The upcoming New York sale, to be held at Sotheby's Manhattan headquarters on December 10, will feature a carefully curated selection of some 30 creatively-styled and pioneering motor cars, along with select automobilia. Each of the auction vehicles have been handpicked by RM specialists to showcase the extremes of motoring history and the molds that were broken by engineers and designers in pushing the automotive envelope. As a prelude to the sale, an exclusive six-day exhibition will open over the weekend of December 5 in Sotheby's 10th floor galleries.

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