Think of collectable and very valuable Ferrari’s and inevitably the 250GTO or 250LM comes to mind. The Ferrari 290 MM that sold at the weekend for a remarkable $22,005,000 is far more exclusive than those models, and the collectors certainly knew.
Auctioned by RM Sotheby’s, an auction house now long established as a leader in the collectable automobile world, the 290 MM is one of just three such models in existence, and boasts a racing pedigree that is of the highest order.
One of the three – the ex-Juan Manuel Fangio 1956 Mille Miglia car (that’s where the MM comes from) sold a few years back for $28million, but while this one falls short, it is no less important a chassis.
Chassis 0628, this very car, was built for the Mille Miglia – in its day one of the most challenging motor races in the world, as well as one that all drivers wanted on their score card – and driven by none other than Peter Collins, one of the works teams British drivers, with famous photographer Louis Klemantaski as co-driver. The images the latter captured from the passenger seat represent the best evocation of what this astonishing, 1000mile race was all about.
Chassis 0628 would finish second behind team mate Eugenio Castellotti, with Ferrari’s filling the top five places. In period, this car competed in such prestigious races as the Targa Florio, the Nürburgring 1000km, 12 Hours of Sebring, Buenos Aires 1000km and more.
Drivers during its factory racing career included no less than Fangio himself, Castellotti, Count Alfonso de Portago, Ferrari favourite Olivier Gendenbien, Phil Hill, Wolfgang von Trips and many others. Sold to US Ferrari importer and race team owner Luigi Chinetti, it subsequently competed in the hands of Dan Gurney, before going through the hands of a variety of private owners.
Ferrari 290 MM chassis 0628 was presented for sale in stunning condition, having undergone a full restoration that was completed in 2015, with the then owners opting to return the car to period Sebring specification.
There can be very few vintage racing cars that boast a list of former driver’s as illustrious as this one, and it has surely passed into the hands of one of the many collectors dedicated to keeping these fine vehicles in the condition they are meant to be.