RM Sotheby to auction ex-Works 1956 Ferrari 290 MM driven by Fangio, 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial

Article by Andrew Christian, on October 26, 2015

Acquiring an automobile that has been driven by big-name drivers like Juan Manuel Fangio is a source of pride for any serious collector. Fangio, who won the Formula One World Championship five times, has driven a number of brands, including Ferrari.

Now, those who are looking for a car that links Fangio and the automobile maker can head over to RM Sotheby’s “Driven By Disruption” sale event which will take place on December 10 in New York City. There, they can find a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM.

Bearing the chassis number 0626, the Ferrari 290 MM will be auctioned to the public during the event. If you’re particular about a car’s history, you’ll be delighted to know that the model was once driven to races by several of Ferrari’s F1 drivers including Fangio himself.

Other names that have sat in the cockpit of the 290 MM include Phil Hill, another World Champion following in the steps of the five-time F1 champion Juan Manual Fangio. However, the fact that will definitely draw car collectors to Chassis 0626 is the fact that this was custom-made for Fangio himself.

Fangio took to the 1956 Mille Miglia with Chassis 0626. Despite the difficult conditions of the race, Fangio outdid himself and other races by finishing fourth in what was seen as a killer competition held in appalling weather conditions.

As it is custom-made for Fangio, Chassis 0626 bears the distinctive Argentinian color scheme that the racer was known for. However, inside the hood, is a brand-new V-12 3.5 liter engine. Chassis 0626 is just one out of the four units produced under the limited edition model.

The Ferrari 290 MM also retained its original chassis, matching-numbers engine, gearbox and body assembly. Aside from Hill and Fangio, Chassis 0626 also saw action in the hands of other remarkable racers like Eugenio Castellotti, Luigi Musso, and Masten Gregory.

All three piloted the 290 MM during the 1957 1000 KM race in Buenos Aires. Gregory also piloted Chassis 0626 in the Portugal Grand Pix in June 1957. Other names to have handled Chassis 0626 from April 1956 to June 1957 include Alfonso de Portago, Peter Collins, Olivier Gendebien, and Joakim Bonnier.

After June 1957, Chassis 0626 was transferred first to enthusiast Temple Buell, and then to a Ferrari team, whose two owners continued racing it until 1964. After being retired, Chassis 0626 first went to the private collection of Pierre Bardinon.

It remains under Mr. Bardinon’s custody for 34 years. While it was piloted by renowned Ferrari drivers during its racing days, Chassis 0626 became a centerpiece of different car shows while it stayed with Bardinon’s Mas du Clos Collection.

It appeared, for example, in the “Hommage to Ferrari” showcase in 1987, hosted by Cartier. It also traveled to the United Kingdom as well for the Concours of Elegance, and then it returned to Mille Miglia Storica.

The lucky bidder who wins the auction for Chassis 0626 will get, in addition to Chassis 0626, an extensive history file. Chassis 0626 also remains eligible for milestone events, which include the 60th anniversary of Fangio’s racing of the car at the Mille Miglia race in 2016.

Peter Wallman, a car specialist at RM Sotheby’s, described Chassis 0626 as one of the most valuable classic automobiles to be put up on auction. He cited Enzo Ferrari’s involvement in the design and manufacturing of the car, and Fangio’s piloting of the extraordinary Ferrari racing car in the 1000 KM event in 1956. He also noted Chassis 0626’s valuable role in the history of the Italian car manufacturer.

Aside from Chassis 0626, RM Sotheby’s will also be auctioning another Ferrari race car during the New York event. The second car will be a 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial, which competed in the period just before the 290 MM chassis 0626 debuted with Juan Miguel Fangio at the helm. This particular Mondial bears chassis number 0564MD/0424MD.

Chassis 0564MD/0424MD first raced successfully at the 12 heures de Hyères in May 1955, shortly after it was purchased by Yves Dupont in the same year. Its last race under the ownership of Mr. Dupont was at the Liège-Rome-Liège race.

After 1955, Mr. Dupont left chassis 0564MD/0424MD at the Ferrari factory but he never returned to reclaim the 500 Mondial. For 20 years, it resided at the Monza Museum. For this, it replaced the original French Blue finish on the 0564MD/0424MD with a layer of red.

It was eventually purchased by Jean-Francois du Montant in 1975. From 1975 until 2008, 0564MD/0424MD was owned by various car enthusiasts. It was also in 2008 that the removal of the red paint was undertaken at the request of the person who owned 0564MD/0424MD at the time.

It took a body shop in Padova until 2011 to finally peel off the museum paint and reveal the original French Blu paint that 0564MD/0424MD had when it was raced during Mr. Dupont’s ownership. The car continues to carry the original paint until today.

It has also been refurbished with a brand new ampredi four-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts. With this new engine, 0564MD/0424MD once again made an appearance at the race track. Among its notable appearances are the recent Mille Miglia Storica and Salon Prive.

It carries a Ferrari Classiche certificate and remains eligible to join historic events, and is expected to be auctioned between $5 million to $7 million. The Driven by Disruption auction will take place at Sotheby’s Manhattan headquarters in New York.

In addition to the 290 MM chassis 0626 and Mondial 500 0564MD/0424MD, it will also put up for sale 28 other pioneering motor cars. All of the cars that will be put up for auction have been carefully selected by the auction house’s car specialists.

All have important roles in the history of motoring, and all are the products of groundbreaking innovations by various brand engineers and designers. Scheduled for December 10, it will be preceded by a six-day exhibition which begins on December 5. It will take place on the 10th floor of Sotheby’s Manhattan.

Press Release

RM SOTHEBY'S TO OFFER THE EX-FANGIO, EX-WORKS FERRARI 290 MM IN NEW YORK CITY: ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST HISTORIC AND VALUABLE SPORTS RACING CARS

  • 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 www.rmsothebys.com

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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