Well known by viewers of ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’ and having been featured on many prominent websites, a stunning 1955 Ferrari Mondial Series II will go under the hammer at Pebble Beach auction, and is expected to fetch as much as $7.5million.
Rescued in 1960 by a young naval office by the name of Robert Phillips, who later rose to the rank of Rear Admiral, the car has become known as ‘The Admiral’s Ferrari’ and has been in his ownership for 58 years, which is thought to be a record for Ferrari ownership.
Rescued and Restored
When Phillips bought the car – for $2225 – it was in a state of disrepair and he had little knowledge of its history, and he was not an experienced mechanic. Nevertheless, he set about rebuilding the mechanicals and repairing the body, and also painted the Mondial red. Although concentrating on his naval career, he did race the car in a number of minor local events, with some success.
In the 1980’s Phillips and his wife began to research the lost history of the car, and uncovered a racing past that associated the chassis with drivers such a Harry Schell, Eugenio Castelotti, Gino Munaron and more, giving it more credence as an important example of the marque.
Throughout the 1980’s Phillips carried out a mechanical restoration himself – the car is believed to retain the original engine, transaxle, gearbox and chassis from 1955 – while enlisting the services of a specialist to restore the Scaglietti bodywork, keeping as much of the original as possible.
He also undertook to return the Ferrari 500 Mondial, complete with 2-litre engine and refreshed ancillaries, to its original pale blue bodywork, and the livery it wore in 1955 Grand Prix of Venezuela.
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