One of the world’s most valuable historic racing cars will be auctioned at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Chichester, on Friday.
The 2.5 litre straight-eight single-seater Mercedes-Benz W196 that won the 1954 German and Swiss Grand Prix with Formula 1 World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio at the wheel, is being put up for auction by Bonhams.
The two 1954 victories represented the first instance of Mercedes winning an F1 Grand Prix after the World War II as well as the first time Mercedes achieved two consecutive victories.
Back in the 1950’s the car introduced several innovative technologies into motorsport, including desmodromic valves and fuel injection developed by Mercedes engineers through experience gained on the DB 600 series of engines used on the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter planes during the World War II, and the aerodynamic aluminium "Type Monza" body.
One year after its victories, the car was put on display at the Daimler-Benz Museum in Germany and was later exhibited in Munich. During the 1960s and 1970s it made several public appearances at various events including the 1967 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
In the 1980s, it was sold to a private collector and eventually ended up in the possession of a German businessman. Since then, it has been stored away from public view in a warehouse before being offered for sale by Bonhams.
"This is the only Mercedes-Benz W196 in private hands. It is the only surviving Mercedes-Benz W196 to have won not just one World Championship Grand Prix, but two,” said Bonham’s spokesperson. "Its stature is immense, not only as the iconic Fangio car of the 1950s, but also as a shining star of pinnacle Mercedes-Benz engineering and as an icon of postwar recovery."
It was reported several potential buyers from three continents have already expressed their interest in the car.