LONDON – Automotive history was made when the car that took five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio to the second of his Formula 1 world titles achieved a record-breaking figure of £19,601,500 (US$29,650,095, €22,701,864). The car becomes the most valuable motor vehicle ever sold at auction, beating the previous record of £10,086,400 set by a Ferrari in 2011.
Robert Brooks, Bonhams Chairman, said: “I have handled some of the world’s most desirable and important motor cars during a motoring auction career spanning five decades, but I have reached a peak today with this legendary Grand Prix car. It was a personal privilege to preside over the sale of this vehicle, which is not only one of the most significant motor cars of the 20th century, but also the most important historic Grand Prix racing car ever offered for sale.”
Doug Nye, racing historian, said: “If he were here today Fangio would shake his head and smile his slow smile. He was a humble man, originally a mechanic from a potato town in Argentina – and he never forgot his roots. As a driver, he was simply a genius. As a man he had no enemies. He was universally loved, even by those he regularly beat on track. No standard-setting sportsman could have a better epitaph.
The same auction event, Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, UK on 12 July 2013, saw former Beatle John Lennon’s Ferrari 330GT 2+2 Coupé reach £359,900 (€417,178, US$ 543,750).
Offered for sale with its original registration, this motor car is one of only 500 of its type built and had a presale estimate of £180,000 and £220,000. It was auctioned along with a history file documenting its provenance and restoration, which also includes correspondence with Lennon, and attracted interest from as far afield as America, Australia, and China.
In February 1965 The Beatles recorded Ticket to Ride – a song that would become one of their biggest hits, topping both the UK and US singles charts. By happy coincidence, that same month, the news that Lennon had passed his driving test made headlines across the country. Within hours, the road outside the security gates of his Kentwood home in Weybridge, Surrey , was jammed with Maseratis, Aston Martins, and the Jaguar E-type, as luxury car dealerships – hungry for business – spotted an opportunity to secure a high-profile client.