That much was made very clear at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed after Juan Manuel Fangio’s 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 sold for a staggering $29.6 million, making it the most expensive car to be sold at a public auction, the most expensive F1 race car ever and, as a cherry on top of the proverbial sundae, the most expensive Mercedes in history.
Lots of "expensive" there, huh?
The racecar, which was sold at a Bonhams auction late last week, is the same one Fangio used to win his second Formula One title in what became an illustrious and now legendary career. It’s noted for being the racecar that introduced a bevy of new technologies into F1, including the use of a fuel-injected engine, an all-independent suspension from Mercedes, a multi-tubular ’spaceframe’ lightweight chassis design, all-round inboard-mounted brakes, and the ’straight-8’ engine ’laydown’ configuration that reduces the car’s overall height.
Suffice to say, this Mercedes racecar is that rare gem in automotive history that commands a price depending on how deep the pockets of the bidders are.
And apparently, "deep" meant to the tune of $29.6 million.
Click past the jump to read about Juan Manuel Fangio
Juan Manuel Fangio
Modern F1 fans will probably pick Michael Schumacher as the greatest Formula One driver in history. There’s a good argument to be made for that, but if the name Juan Manuel Fangio comes up in the discussion, don’t dismiss it because before Schumacher earned the record for most F1 driver’s titles with seven, it was Fangio’s five that stood as a record for decades.
The Argentinian racer, nicknamed "The Maestro" for obvious reasons, won the F1 crown in 1951 and then proceeded to win four in a row from 1954 to 1957.
But arguably the most important stat of Fangio’s legendary career was that he only raced 52 times yet he won 24 of them, while finishing on the podium 35 times.
When the words legend and icon are thrown around in F1 circles, there’s only one name that should come to mind: Juan Manuel Fangio.