A 1954 Mercedes-Benz Formula One car, once driven by Juan Manuel Fangio, is the most expensive vehicle ever sold at an auction.
The 1954 Mercedes-Benz Formula One vehicle was sold for $29,650,095, surpassing the previous record of $15 million, set by a Ferrari in 2011. The Mercedes was sold at Bonhams auction, which was held by the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.
The Mercedes-Benz W196R was the winner in the 1954 German and Swiss Grands Prix, when it was driven by the famous Juan Manuel Fangio. Originally, the vehicle had bodywork covering all four wheels, for improved aerodynamic efficiency. It was Juan Manual Fangio the one who requested an open-wheeled version, so that the car would be easier to drive in tighter racetracks.
The Mercedes-Benz W196R, chassis number ‘00006/54,’ is fitted with a 2.5-liter straight-8 engine and with state-of-the-art racing technology for its era. The car also features fully independent suspension, lightweight tubular ‘spaceframe’ chassis, fuel injection for the 8-cylinder engine and inboard brakes for better weight distribution. The W196R is also considered to be among the most beautiful race cars ever manufactured.
“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,” said Robert Brooks, Bonhams chairman. “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.”