- Bonhams announces the sale of the 1936 Aston Martin Speed Model ‘Red Dragon’, estimated at £1.6-2 million
- The Aston Martin has impeccable provenance, having raced in the Mille Miglia, the Spa 24-Hours, the Ulster TT, and the Le Mans 24-Hours
- Wales-born racer, Dudley Folland, adapted the car’s bodywork to resemble an early Ferrari, and adorned it with the Welsh ‘Red Dragon’ emblem
- The car will be sold at Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale, taking place 10 September
Car: 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder by Wendler Chassis no. 550-0068
Estimate: €2.200.000 – €2.600.000
The date: to be auctioned on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
110 bhp, 1,488 cc DOHC air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with dual Weber downdraft carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front and rear suspension, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,100 mm
- The 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show car
- One of just 75 factory-built ‘customer’ 550 Spyders
- Period US racing history with Mike Marshall, including 1956 Sebring 12 Hours
- Freshly serviced by renowned Porsche specialist Prill Porsche Classics
- Highly eligible for vintage tours and rallies, including the Mille Miglia, Tour Auto, Le Mans Classic, Goodwood Revival, Monterey Historics, and Monaco Historic Grand Prix!
“Design is not simply art, it is elegance of function” – Ferdinand Porsche
THE GIANT KILLER
The 550 Spyder put Porsche firmly on the map as a serious competitor on the world’s racing tracks; indeed, the diminutive mid-engined roadster generated the nickname ‘Giant Killer’ for its ability to defeat much more powerful rivals. Introduced at the 1953 Paris Auto Show, the 550 and its second iteration, the 550A, remained in production through February of 1959, and a total of 130 chassis were constructed before the 718 RSK Spyders appeared. A large proportion of 550 production was destined for the United States.
Built on a frame of seamless mild steel tubing, the 550 utilised a front suspension of double trailing arms and transverse-leaf torsion bars. After the first few examples, the rear suspension was redesigned from leading control arms to trailing arms with swing axles and tubular transverse torsion bars. Porsche’s engineers had planned an all-new engine to power the Spyder at the gruelling Carrera Panamericana, but early testing determined that Dr Ernst Fuhrmann’s Type 547 advanced 1.5-litre air-cooled four-cylinder Boxer engine was not quite ready. Thus, the first few chassis were fitted with conventional pushrod Porsche engines. Soon, however, reliability was ensured and the new ‘Four-Cam’ would be installed in all the 550s, 550As, RSKs, 356 Carreras, and 904s that were to follow.
This marvellous but complex engine, called the ‘Drawer motor’ because its engineering drawings were quickly hidden in Fuhrmann’s desk whenever Dr Porsche walked into his office, was an all-alloy unit displacing 1,498 cubic centimetres. Its camshafts were driven off the Hirth-patent built-up roller-bearing crankshaft by a series of shafts and crown wheels. Cam timing took dozens of man-hours to properly establish, but once all the clearances were correctly set, the high-revving motor was very reliable. It featured dry-sump lubrication and two spark plugs per cylinder. With compression of 9.5:1 and breathing through a pair of Weber downdraft carburettors, this engine produced a strong 110 brake horsepower. In a chassis that weighed barely 590 kilograms, 550s were capable of top speeds approaching 210 km/h (140 mph), dependent on gearing. Because these little roadsters were ostensibly required to be street driven, they were fitted with a token canvas tonneau that met the letter of the rulebook but were otherwise better left folded away in the garage.
CHASSIS NUMBER 550-0068
This beautiful 550 Spyder left the factory at Zuffenhausen on 19 September 1955, to be eventually delivered to an American customer, but first, there would be an intermediate stop: Porsche’s stand at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show. There, it shared the company’s display with a 356 Speedster, a coupé, and a cabriolet. Chassis number 550-0068 was shown in semi-racing form; that is, there was a small racing windscreen to protect the driver and an alloy half tonneau covering the passenger side of the cockpit. Suggesting, perhaps, that this was a dual-purpose sports car, it was also fitted with moon hubcaps, which were standard fitment to cars delivered in street trim. Adding to the sporting impression that Porsche wanted to convey, the rear fenders were topped with painted ‘darts’, or flashes. Today 0068 has been restored to its original silver paint with light blue darts, a very attractive combination.
The factory build sheet specifies that 0068 was to be shipped to ‘1 kunde/customer USA’ following the Frankfurt show. That customer was a gentleman named Mike Marshall, a Porsche/Volkswagen dealer and amateur racer of Miami, Florida. Mr Marshall wasted no time in putting his new 550 to the task for which it was intended. Just two months after the car starred on Porsche’s display at Frankfurt, Marshall gave the new Spyder a victory in its first outing, an SCCA race at Waterboro, South Carolina. Next up was December Speed Week at Nassau in the Bahamas, where Marshall finished 6th in the preliminaries, dropped out of both the Governor’s Cup and All-Porsche contests, but came back to score a respectable 4th place in the Under-Two-Litre Production race. In February 1956, Marshall won a pair of SCCA Regional races at Punta Gorda, Florida; a 1st and 2nd at Waterboro; and then, sharing the wheel with Porsche’s racing chief and occasional driver Huschke von Hanstein, managed a creditable 14th overall and 3rd in class at the Sebring 12 Hours. Von Hanstein was quite familiar with 0068; he had posed with it at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Through the remainder of 1956 and early 1957, Marshall ran numerous other amateur races including Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin; Montgomery, Alabama; Chester, Carolina; Gainesville, Florida; the 1956 Nassau Speed Week; and then a race weekend at the very difficult 2.4-mile circuit at New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Unfortunately, in a preliminary event, Marshall had an off, side-lining the Spyder for the weekend. Fifteen months later, 0068 was sold to Joe Sheppard, a very talented amateur who’d picked up the nickname ‘The Tampa Hotshoe’ and who drove the car at Chester and Gainesville. The car’s racing history then lists Sheppard’s friend Duncan Forlong, who borrowed the car for two races at Dunnellon Park, Florida.
It is believed that 0068 then remained in Florida. When recently quizzed about the car, Joe Sheppard could not recall exactly when it was sold; it was a deal put together by his father. The new owner is believed to have been Bob Ross, who made a regular appearance at the Sebring track with racing friends in his new Spyder. In the mid- to late-1980s, the Porsche was bought by Lynn Larson, who almost immediately sold it on to his friend Phil Bagley, who then sold the car to its new owner who shipped it to Italy.
The car was inspected on 12 November 1989, by a Mr Parigi, prior to issuance of FIVA license number 0120620 by the Automotoclub Storico Italiano. That registration process was not completed until 21 April 1997. Italian registration number BG-B67015 was assigned 28 August 1997 in the name of Pierluigi Bartoli of Riva di Solto, who had acquired the car in July of 1993, per the Estratto Chronologico, copies of which are included in the car’s history file. In 1999, the current owner, an Italian businessman and enthusiast, purchased this historic racer.
Today, 550-0068 is offered having been maintained regardless of cost and ready to be used in any of the many events for which it is eligible, including the Mille Miglia, Tour Auto, Le Mans Classic, Goodwood Revival, Monterey Classics, and Monaco Historic Grand Prix, amongst others.
Simply put, no comprehensive collection of vintage Porsches is complete without a 550 Spyder, and this example would surely be one of the most enjoyable.
- Bonhams announces The Monaco Sale 2016, taking place 13 May 2016
- Driven by racing legend, Sir Stirling Moss, the ex-Works Team 1952 Jaguar C-Type ‘XKC 011’ is an early major consignment
- RM Sotheby’s secures ex-works 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti, chassis 0626, for its ‘Driven by Disruption’ sale, December 10 in New York City
- Built for racing legend and five-time World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio to compete in the 1956 Mille Miglia, 0626 was driven by the ‘Who’s Who’ of motorsport in period
- Career highlights include 1stoverall in the 1957 World Championship Buenos Aires 1000 KM
- Fully documented and never crashed, 0626 is one of the world’s most significant and original competition Ferraris
- ‘Driven by Disruption’ to also present an exceptionally original 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial, chassis 0564MD/0424MD
- A showcase of automotive perfection and beauty, December 10 auction features carefully curated roster of 30 creatively-styled, cutting-edge automobiles and select memorabilia
- Further information and a frequently updated list of entries available online at www.rmsothebys.com
NEW YORK, New York (19 October 2015) – In the history of motor racing, it is hard to imagine two names with greater stature than Ferrari and Juan Manuel Fangio, the enigmatic five-time Formula One World Champion. To find a car which so closely connects these two great motor racing legends is the Holy Grail for car collectors and aficionados the world over. RM Sotheby’s is thrilled to announce it will offer one such automobile, the ex-Works 1956 Ferrari 290 MM, chassis 0626, at its exclusive Driven by Disruption sale, December 10 in New York City. Raced not only by Fangio but also future World Champion Phil Hill, along with numerous other celebrated Ferrari Formula One drivers, the featured Ferrari is undoubtedly one of the greatest, most original, and most valuable cars ever offered at public auction.
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 an impressive 4th overall in a race hindered by appalling conditions. Dressed in the unique factory Argentinian color scheme for Fangio, the car featured a totally new 3.5-liter V-12 engine and was one of only 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 famously piloted to victory in the 1957 Buenos Aires 1000 KM by Eugenio Castellotti, Luigi Musso, and Masten Gregory. During its illustrious career, 0626 was also campaigned by other legendary names 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,” says 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.”
Combining rarity, powerful mechanical specification, important racing history, and purposeful good looks, 0626 is the ultimate 1950s factory sports racing car. An integral part of Ferrari’s 1956 and 1957 Manufacturer’s World Championship-winning teams, it participated in a roll-call of classic races during its period racing career, a selection of which are outlined below.
April 28/29, 1956 Mille Miglia Fangio
May 27, 1956 Nürburgring 1000 KM Hill/de Portago/Gendebien/Wharton
July 8, 1956Rouen 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
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 enthusiastic 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 renowned collector Pierre Bardinon, remaining in his incredible Mas du Clos Collection for almost 34 years before being purchased by its current custodian. It has since been presented at numerous prestigious events, including the 1987 Cartier “Hommage to Ferrari” exhibition and the UK’s Concours of Elegance, as well as participating in the Mille Miglia Storica. Ferrari Classiche certified, it 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 historic 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 great 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 successfully campaigned in period. It made its racing debut at the 12 heures de Hyères in May 1955 and later entered the famous and demanding Liège-Rome-Liège. 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 respected, enthusiast owners.
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 Privé. Extraordinarily original, it 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 rounds out an already record year for the international auction house. The upcoming New York sale, to be held at Sotheby’s Manhattan headquarters on December 10, will feature a carefully curated selection of some 30 creatively-styled and pioneering motor cars, along with select automobilia. Each of the auction vehicles have been handpicked by RM specialists to showcase the extremes of motoring history and the molds that were broken by engineers and designers in pushing the automotive envelope. As a prelude to the sale, an exclusive 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, please visit www.rmsothebys.com
Bonhams annual Festival of Speed Sale saw spectacular figures, with the ex-Works Racing Aston Martin Ulster Team Car, LM19, sold for £2,913,500, one of the highest amounts ever achieved for a pre-war British sports car and smashing the existing record (held by Bonhams) for a pre-War Aston Martin.
A pre-war ‘Works’ racing car of excellent provenance, the Ulster was built to compete at the highest level of endurance racing, with appearances at Le Mans, the Ards TT, the Mille Miglia, the RAC TT, and with the additional cherry on the cake being the 1936 French Grand Prix outing, driven by none other than the brilliant Dick Seaman.
James Knight, Bonhams Group Motoring Director and auctioneer on the day, said: “We’ve had another phenomenal sale at Goodwood, with excellent figures achieved across the board as we offered some highly sought after, truly top tier collectors’ motor cars.”
Top lot, the Aston Martin Ulster, saw a protracted three-way bidding battle between customers in the room and on the telephones, finally winning out to a European bidder. James Knight added, “It’s one of the highest figures ever achieved for a pre-war British sports cars, truly emphasizing the tremendous stature of the Aston Martin marque.”
Elsewhere, a 1961 Porsche RS-61 Spyder offered by none other than ‘Mr Motor Racing’ himself, Sir Stirling Moss, sold for £1,905,500. One of the greatest racing drivers of all time, Sir Stirling was without doubt the standard-setting racing driver of his era, and is a multiple winner of World Championship Grand Prix and Sports Car races during his glittering frontline career. Sir Stirling described the Porsche RS60/61 series as having been “Just super cars – beautifully balanced and simply tailor-made for such races as the mighty Targa Florio around 440 miles of Sicilian mountain roads. That was one morning when I woke up and really could say to myself, ‘For today’s race you have got the ideal car’.”
Continuing the Porsche theme, owned for more than 30 years by ‘father of pop art’ Richard Hamilton, a 1973 Porsche 911S 2.4-litre Coupé sold for £393,500. Hamilton thought that the car’s shapely curves were a ‘perfect’ design, so he purchased it new in 1973, and kept it for three decades.
The fabulous Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Roadster sold for an incredible £1,513,500. Unveiled in 1998, at the time the CLK most expensive production car ever built, a figure only recently exceeded by the Ferrari FXX. The model offered at Bonhams sale had a mere eight kilometres on the odometer, and was the very first example ever built.
Also in the sale, a 1984 Porsche 911 3.2-litre Carrera Coupé, belonging to former Top Gear presenter James May, sold for £51,750, and ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman’s 1966 Mercedes-Benz 250 S sold for £20,700, whilst his striking 1971 Citroën Maserati SM sold for almost double estimate at £61,980.
For further information on Bonhams motoring department visit: