A Classiche-certified 1956 Ferrari 290 MM sold for $22,005,000 at RM Sotheby’s Petersen Automotive Museum auction on December 8. The car was previously raced by Formula 1 legends Juan Manuel Fangio, Peter Collins and Sir Stirling Moss. As a result, it became the 10th most expensive car ever sold at auction in the process.
Gaining its ‘MM’ designation from the legendary Italian Mille Miglia road race, the 290 MM was designed to restore Ferrari dominance over Mercedes-Benz, featuring lightweight aerodynamic coachwork from Scaglietti. It has recently received a complete restoration by Ferrari Classiche in Italy and now houses a perfect Tipo 130 V12 engine.
What sets this 290 MM apart is the men who have sat in the driver’s seat. Five-time F1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio, 1962 F1 world champion Phil Hill, British racing legend Sir Stirling Moss, and Ferrari factory racers Peter Collins, Wolfgang von Trips, Olivier Gendebien and Eugenio Castellotti have all piloted this 290 MM during its racing life.
Scuderia Ferrari ran the car between 1956 and 1957, debuting at the ’56 Mille Miglia. Racing in 860 Monza specification, this car finished second overall thanks to Peter Collins and Louis Klemantaski, finishing fourth at the Targa Florio and second in the San Bernardo Hillclimb later that year. Its first year of racing was capped by Fangio and Castellotti using it for the Swedish Grand Prix, albeit ending with an engine failure.
In 1957 it was modified to 290 MM specification and finished 3rd in the 1000km Buenos Aires with Collins, Castellotti and Alfonso de Portago. Its final race as part of the works team was at that year’s 12 Hours of Sebring, with Hill and von Trips.
The 290MM was then sold to a privateer and raced by Sir Stirling Moss at the 1957 Bahamas Speed Weeks, winning the Memorial Race and the Nassau Trophy Race, then continued to reside in America and race at national events, collecting several first in class finishes.
After a spell in various private collections, it came to England in 2008, where three years later it took part in the Tribute to Juan Manuel Fangio Parade during the Goodwood Revival. Its next and current owner then sent the car off to Ferrari in Italy for a truly authentic restoration.
Sister chassis 0626’s sale at RM Sotheby’s New York auction back in 2015 indicated this 290 MM would threaten to break into the top 10 most expensive cars ever sold at auction. It successfully made the list but only just, slotting into 10th place on the all-time list by a mere $5000. It knocked one of two 1935 Duesenberg SSJs sold during this August’s Monterey Car Week off the list. Its pre-sale estimate had been $22m – $26m.
RM Sotheby’s Petersen Automotive Museum auction was a new addition to their 2018 auction calendar, which also marks this year’s final major collector car auction until Mecum’s Kissimmee sale on January 3-13.