RAC Cars News


Fangio's Grand Prix Mercedes Breaks Auction Records

By raccars Published

Auction house Bonhams had a staggering result at the weekend's Festival of Speed at Goodwood, thanks to a Juan Manuel Fangio driven Mercedes. The car became the most expensive ever to be sold at auction, going for the price of £19,601,500.

The Mercedes W196R from 1954 helped the legendary racing driver to win that year's Swiss and German grand prix, on the way to his second F1 world championship. The previous most expensive car sold at auction was a Ferrari Testa Rossa, which raised £10,086,400 in 2011.

Five times world champion Fangio's Mercedes carries the chassis number 00006/54 and is powered by a straight eight 2.5 litre fuel injected engine. It was built on a spaceframe chassis and has independent suspension and inboard brakes. Bonhams has described it not only as the most valuable car ever to sell at auction, but also as the most valuable F1 racer ever.

The car was constructed according to new FIA regulations, which limited engine capacity to 2.5 litres and banned superchargers. Mercedes failed to compete in the first two rounds of the championship in 1954 but arrived for the French leg, blowing all competition aside. Fangio and the W196R took pole position at the Nurburgring before taking the win, while at Bremgarten they not only won the race, but also made the fastest lap.

The Mercedes wasn't the only record breaker at the weekend's auction, which also saw Bonhams sell a 1955 Maserati 300S Sports Racing Spider for £4,033,500, the highest price ever commanded by the Italian brand at auction. The previously most expensive Maserati sold for £2,251,520 in 2012.

With a total sale price of £36,072,464, the weekend's event was also the highest grossing European motor auction ever. The sale was very well attended, with a marquee packed with 1,000 people and featuring bidders from 32 different countries.

Bonhams is now the world record holder for the most expensive auction sale of a number of big marques: Aston Martin at £3,200,000, Austin-Healey at £843,000, Bentley for £5,000,000, the aforementioned Maserati and Mercedes-Benz and a Rolls Royce for £4,700,000.

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