Historic car to sell for millions

The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula 1 Grand-Prix single-seater driven by Juan Manuel Fangio

The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula 1 Grand-Prix single-seater driven by Juan Manuel Fangio

First published in National News © by

A Formula 1 car will be the most important historic Grand Prix racing car ever offered at public auction when it is put up for sale on Friday, experts have said.

The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 was the race car driven by five-times F1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio when he clinched his second title in 1954.

Fangio drove the 2.5-litre car to victories in the 1954 German and Swiss Grand Prix races, the first successive triumphs achieved by the factory Mercedes-Benz team in its post-war comeback.

The German-made car contains many features innovative at the time, including a fuel-injected engine, lightweight chassis weighing just 72lbs and all-round inboard-mounted brakes.

Although no guide price has been disclosed, the car - chassis number 00006/54 - is set to sell for millions of pounds when it is sold by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, West Sussex.

The auction house has described it as "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 at public auction".

The Mercedes-Benz has attracted interest from potential buyers on three continents, and will be sold in its current condition with noticeable blemishes.

Speaking at Goodwood, motoring historian Doug Nye said the car is a "window into the past" and a "piece of mechanical jewellery".

He said: "In every area of the car, there is evidence of just the most fantastic workmanship. It was designed by very sophisticated, high-tech engineers.

"But more than that it was made by ordinary working men who did a brilliant job. It's handcrafted and it's just like a piece of mechanical jewellery."

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