A 1954 Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 W196R racer driven by Juan Manuel Fangio was sold at auction for $29.6 million Friday. The final gavel price for the car was $26.45 million, but the buyer’s premium brought the final price to $29.6 million, CNBC reported. The racer is the most expensive ever sold at auction.
Fangio is a F1 legend and five-time world champion who was an active driver from 1950 until 1958. The Mercedes-Benz W196R sold at auction was driven by Fangio and had two victories, at the 1954 German Grand Prix and the 1954 Swiss Grand Prix, CNBC noted. The racer was sold at Goodwood Festival of Speed Auction in the U.K.
The Mercedes-Benz W196R is considered to be the most historic Grand Prix racer ever offered for sale, Bonhams motoring director James Knight told Reuters. The Bonhams auction house’s description of the racer indicates it is the only one not owned by a museum or a facility belonging to Daimler-Benz. The racer is considered to be virtually complete, and the new owner will be able to drive it after making a few adjustments.
The Mercedes-Benz W196R toured the world and was exhibited before several Grand Prix races, CNBC said. Mercedes-Benz transferred ownership of the racer to the U.K.’s National Motor Museum, which later sold it to a private collector. The winning bidder conducted the transaction over the phone and was not identified.
The F1 racer was not the only multimillion-dollar car sold at the auction: A 1955 Maserati 300S Sports-Racing Spider driven by Bill Spear and Sherwood Johnson sold for $6.1 million, and a 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans Tourer owned by Matthew White Ridley, 3rd Viscount Ridley, sold for $2.9 million.
Another notable car, owned by a member of The Beatles, was also auctioned. A 1965 Ferrari 330GT 2+2 Berlinetta owned by John Lennon, his first car, sold for $543,887.