Ex-Fangio Mercedes W196 tipped to fetch high price

F1 history

Mercedes W196, 2013An F1 car raced by Juan Manuel Fangio is likely to become one of the most expensive cars ever sold when it is auctioned off by Bonhams in July.

The 1954 Mercedes W196, chassis number 00006/54, was used by Fangio to win the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring Nordschleife and the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten.

It is an open-wheeled version of the car which first appeared in ‘streamliner’ form at that year’s French Grand Prix, which Fangio also won. Fangio requested Mercedes build a version of the car with uncovered wheels so he could position it more accurately.

The car, which is in near-original condition, is tipped to fetch an eight-figure sum at auction. It was previously in the collection of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu and has spent much of the last 30 years in a warehouse.

“The car hasn’t been restored for many many years, if at all,” said motor racing historian Doug Nye. “It may have been repainted post-period, probably when prepared for display in the very early 1970s, upon original loan to the National Motor Museum.”

“Some oil and fuel hoses in the car appear to have been replaced, almost certainly when it made a very low key appearance at the Monaco Historics race meeting in 2000. Otherwise – so far as we can tell – the car is almost entirely in the form in which it ran in its only works team race appearance of the 1955 season, the final Italian Grand Prix at Monza in Italy.

“There, driven by the German works star Karl Kling, it ran strongly in second place behind Fangio’s streamlined version until it suffered an uncharacteristic mechanical failure, in its gearbox.”

Fangio won the 1954 and 1955 world championships with the W196. The car arrived in time to take advantage of a change in the sport’s technical rules which introduced a new engine specification. Perhaps not unlike the modern team is planning to do 60 years later.

Mercedes W196 pictures

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Images ?é?® Bonhams, The Spitzley-Monkhouse Collection

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32 comments on Ex-Fangio Mercedes W196 tipped to fetch high price

  1. wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 20th March 2013, 12:01

    Always wondered why they had ‘W’ on their chassis names…

  2. I want this so badly it hurts…

  3. porridge90210 (@porridge90210) said on 20th March 2013, 12:23

    turn a few heads going to Woolworths in that!

  4. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 20th March 2013, 12:52

    It really is a desperately pretty car isn’t it. I’ve always preferred the open wheel version to the Streamliner.

    • It looks apart from any F1 car still incredible attractive streamline or not, but I do as well prefer the version above. Who hasn’t got a miniature of this car?

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th March 2013, 21:05

      I think it’s very interesting looking, wonderfully iconic, and a completely amazing car. But I also thought it was a bit ugly in open form really. It was chunky and lumpy, unlike many of its more elegant competitors. Although weirdly I would never tire of looking at it.

  5. timi (@timi) said on 20th March 2013, 14:07

    God it’s a beaut. The huge air intake gives is such a menacing look, and those exhausts!! Love it.

  6. Tom (@newdecade) said on 20th March 2013, 14:33

    Got to admit that my history of early F1 isn’t quite up to f1fanatic standards and am rarely able to guess some of these early models… But the W196 is absolutely unmissable, it is a seriously titanic piece of history. In my view the most iconic car until the MP4-4!

    If it ends up in the private collection of some billionaire I will flip out… In the words of Indy, THAT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!

  7. Häkkimi (@feynman) said on 20th March 2013, 15:24

    Why was this car ( or other classic formula one cars for that matter…) never on Gran Turismo?

  8. vuelve kowalsky said on 20th March 2013, 16:17

    I guess mercedes it’s going to push to get it for the factory’c coleccion. And who can blame them.

  9. JB (@) said on 20th March 2013, 17:31

    That sure is a sexy beast!!

  10. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 20th March 2013, 17:50

    I think that whoever buys it should also do historic racing in it; that car was made to race, not to be put under a dust sheet and never looked at again.

  11. 100% 24/7 DRS!

  12. Mariano (@mariano) said on 20th March 2013, 21:10

    In the Fangio Museum in Argentina there is a replica of the Mercedes W196 streamliner donated by Mercedes many years ago. I would love to have the money to buy this jewel at the auction so as to donate it to the museum which in my opinion is the place that such car deserves to be.

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