A 1956 Ferrari 290 MM raced by Scuderia Ferrari sold for $22 million at the RM Sotheby’s Petersen Automotive Museum 2018 sale in Los Angeles.
A 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti campaigned by Scuderia Ferrari for the 1956 and ’57 seasons was the headline car for the RM Sotheby’s Los Angeles 2018 sale at the Petersen Automotive Museum on 8 December 2018. This rare racing car was campaigned in period by factory team drivers including Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, Peter Collins, Wolfgang von Trips, Olivier Gendebien, Eugenio Castellotti and later, Sir Stirling Moss who drove it to victory for a private team. The 290 MM sold for $22,000,500 (presale estimate $22 to $26 million) as the ninth highest price ever paid for a car at public auction, the 12th car to sell for more than $20 million and the second most-expensive car sold in 2018.
1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti
The 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti, chassis 0628, sold for $22,000,500 (estimate $22 to $26 million) as the final car on offer at the final major classic car auction of 2018 – the RM Sotheby’s Los Angeles 2018 sale at the Petersen Automotive Museum.
This car was the last of four built by Ferrari and one of three to survive. It comes with a significant motorsport pedigree both as an official Ferrari works team car and as a private entry.
This 290 MM was campaigned by Scuderia Ferrari for the 1956 and 1957 seasons and piloted by an amazing assortment of factory team drivers including Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, Peter Collins, Wolfgang von Trips, Olivier Gendebien, Eugenio Castellotti and later, Sir Stirling Moss, in some of the most prestigious race events in the world.
The 290 MM was developed by Ferrari to contest the 1956 World Sports Car Championship and the Mille Miglia, hence the MM initials, and to reclaim dominance over past and present competitor—Mercedes-Benz—and its great domestic rival, Maserati. For Enzo Ferrari, this was just as important as his efforts to win the Formula One World Championship.
Chassis no. 0628 was the fourth and final example ever built. Equipped with an all-new powertrain, composed of the Tipo 130 V-12, 3,490 cc engine, with highly developed cylinder heads, high-lift camshaft, bigger valves, twin spark plugs, 9:1 compression ratio and dry sump, coupled with the Tipo 520 transaxle, the 290 MM was the car to bring the manufacturer title back to Maranello for the third time.
1956 Ferrari 290 MM, 0628, Racing History
The 1956 Ferrari 290 MM, chassis 0628, was part of the Scuderia Ferrari team for the 1956 and 1957 seasons. At its debut in the 1956 Mille Miglia in 860 Monza specifications, chassis no. 0628 finished 2nd overall while wearing number #551, piloted by Peter Collins and Louis Klemantaski.
In the same year, Olivier Gendebien and Hans Hermann took the car to 4th at the Targa Florio in Sicily, while Umberto Maglioli finished in 2nd place with the car in the XVIII Aosta-Gran San Bernardo Hillclimb, also in Italy. The legendary Fangio raced the car in the Swedish Grand Prix (DBF) just months later.
Upgraded to 290 MM specifications by the factory in 1957, its remit outside Italy extended as Alfonso de Portago, Wolfgang von Trips and Eugenio Castellotti finished 3rd in the 1000 km Buenos Aires, and two months later the car entered the 12 Hours of Sebring with Phil Hill and von Trips at the wheel.
Under private ownership, Sir Stirling Moss raced the 290 MM at the 1957 Bahamas Speed Weeks and drove the car to victory in both the Memorial Race and the Nassau Trophy Race. The car spent the next five decades in America, first earning multiple podium and first-in-class finishes at a variety of national races between 1958 and 1961, and then spending time in several highly notable private collections.
Chassis no. 0628 was sold to a collector in England in 2008 and driven in the Tribute to Juan Manuel Fangio Parade during the Goodwood Revival in 2011. Later that year it was passed to its current owner, before undergoing a full, concours-quality restoration by Ferrari Classiche in Italy to its 1957 12 Hours of Sebring configuration, the final race it entered as a Scuderia Ferrari Works car.
Ferrari 290 MM at Auction
Only four Ferrari 290 MM cars were ever built, three survived, and only two were sold at public auctions in recent years.
The model record was achieved by the 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti, chassis no. 0626, that sold for $28,050,000 at the RM Sotheby’s New York 2015 sale. At the time, it was the third highest price ever paid for a car.
Chassis 0626, restored to the livery and number 600 that it wore at its fourth place finish in the 1956 Mille Miglia, and chassis 0628, restored to its Sebring livery and no 14, had very similar histories. Both were raced by the same high-profile Ferrari works drivers but only achieved overall victories in the Americas towards the end of the cars racing life.
The 1956 Ferrari 290 MM, chassis 0628, sold at Los Angeles 2018 was only the 12th car to ever sell for more than $20 million, it was the ninth highest price ever paid for a car and the second highest price paid for a car at auction in 2018.
The presale estimate of $22 – 26 million was clearly below the $28 million paid for chassis 0626 at the height of the recent classic car price boom and the seller had a clear intent to sell with the reserve price apparently already met at $18 million bet. There would be no repeat of Scottsdale 2018 when two Jaguar D-Types failed to meet reserves.
Prior to the sale, Hagerty valuation senior data scientist John Wiley pointed out, “it appears unlikely that 0628 will sell—at North American auctions in the past 18 months, $1 million cars have a sell-through rate of 61 percent, but that drops to 44 percent for $10 million cars. For 1950s competition Ferraris, at all auctions in the past 18 months, the sell-through rate is slightly worse at 43 percent.”
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