1956 Ferrari 290 MM, chassis 0626 (photo: Tim Scott)
1956 Ferrari 290 MM, chassis 0626 (photo: Tim Scott)

Ferraris at 2015 RM Sotheby’s New York City

An ex-works 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti will be featured at the 2015 RM Sotheby’s New York City ‘Driven by Disruption’ auction, to be held December 10 at Sotheby’s headquarters in Manhattan.

Built for five-time World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio to compete in the 1956 Mille Miglia, chassis 0626 was also driven by several other notable drivers in period. RM called the Ferrari, “undoubtedly one of the greatest, most original, and most valuable cars ever offered at public auction.”

The 1956 Ferrari 290 MM, 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 4th overall in a race hindered by appalling conditions. Dressed in the factory Argentinian color scheme for Fangio, the car featured a totally new 3.5-liter V-12 engine and was one of 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 piloted to victory in the 1957 Buenos Aires 1000 KM by Eugenio Castellotti, Luigi Musso and Masten Gregory. During its career, 0626 was also campaigned by others 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,” said 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.”

0626 was a part of Ferrari’s 1956 and 1957 Manufacturer’s World Championship-winning teams, having participated in the following races during its period racing career:

  • 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
Juan Manuel Fangio completing the 1956 Mille Miglia (photo: Alexis Callier Collection)
Juan Manuel Fangio completing the 1956 Mille Miglia (photo: Alexis Callier Collection)

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 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 collector Pierre Bardinon, remaining in his Mas du Clos Collection for almost 34 years before being purchased by its current custodian. It has since been presented at numerous events, including the 1987 Cartier “Hommage to Ferrari” exhibition and the UK’s Concours of Elegance at Windsor Castle, as well as participating in the Mille Miglia Storica.

Ferrari Classiche certified, RM Sotheby’s reports 0626 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 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 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 campaigned in period.

It made its racing debut at the 12 Heures de Hyeres in May 1955 and later entered the demanding Liege-Rome-Liege. 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 owners.

1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial
1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial (courtesy Martyn Goddard / Octane Magazine)

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 Prive. The original Mondial 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 will feature a selection of some 30 motor cars, along with select automobilia. As a prelude to the sale, a six-day exhibition will open over the weekend of December 5 in Sotheby’s 10th floor galleries. For further information, or to view a frequently updated list of entries, visit www.rmsothebys.com or call +1 519 352 4575.

[Source: RM Sotheby’s]