RM NY 2015 Preview – 1956 Ferrari 290MM Racecar Piloted by Fangio and Phil Hill

1956 Ferrari 290 MM by ScagliettiNot just a surviving Ferrari racecar from the golden era of the 1950s, but one that looks as fresh today as it did 60 years ago!

This Ferrari 290MM is headed for sale at the RM Sotheby’s New York gala on December 10th, where it is expected to be among the high earners in a growing and mighty impressive list of classic-car icons.

Ballpark beyond “buku-bucks” for the estimate? Well, let’s assume a bare skeleton of this car after a burnedout wreck would be worth $5-million.

Then we have actuality: it is near-perfect  (+$5M)

— was driven in numerous famous races (+$2M)

— is red (+2M)

— is red with a unique nose livery matching its original Mille Miglia paintjob (+$3M)

— is left-hand-drive (like all Ferrari racecars, but not all classic Fezzas).   ($+1M)

— wears a shrouded cockpit with passenger-seat bodywork, but has a passenger seat for occasional use (+2M

— is already in Manhattan, near is likely future home in Westchester or Grenwich, CT (+$1M)


By this rough math, we’d bring at least $16-million to make this Ferrari yours. Just in time for the 60th anniversary of its namesake race entry, and ready for concours worldwide.

1956 Ferrari 290MM


New York – Driven By Disruption

10 December 2015

1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti

  • Chassis no. 0626
  • Engine no. 0626
  • Gearbox no. 10 7 S

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, 1956 Rouen 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.


Photo Credit: Tim Scott ©2015 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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