A 1956 Ferrari 290MM raced by some of the biggest names in motorsport has sold for $22m, making it the tenth most expensive car ever auctioned.
The 290MM was campaigned in period by Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss and is considered to be one of the finest Ferraris from an era in which the Prancing Horse dominated motor racing.
Offered at RM Sotheby’s Petersen Automotive Museum auction on Saturday (8 December) with an estimate of $22-26m (£17-20m), it duly made $22,005,000 (£17,447,980) after a lengthy bidding contest between three collectors.
The 290MM was born out of Enzo Ferrari’s desire to win the Mille Miglia; the team built three 290MMs and three 860 Monza cars specifically to win that famous event.
Chassis 0628 started life as an 860 Monza and was campaigned by Scuderia Ferrari for the 1956 season, finishing second in that year’s Mille Miglia behind a 290. Fangio drove it at the ’56 Swedish Grand Prix and it also competed in the Targa Florio.
It was then upgraded to 290MM spec for the 1957 season and finished third at the 1000km Buenos Aires, before a non-finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Its works career over, it then passed into private hands – and it was during this period that Stirling Moss raced it at the 1957 Bahamas Speed Weeks. Dan Gurney also piloted it that year, taking it to second at Watkins Glen.
Given a full restoration in 2011, it can also count a Best in Class award at Pebble Beach among its honours.
The 290MM was by far the most expensive car to change hands at the auction in Los Angeles, but there were plenty of other notable sales in what was an outstanding line-up of 69 vehicles.
In purely financial terms the other classic highlights were a 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV, which made $2.2m (£1.75m), a 1989 Ferrari F40 which went for $1.54m (£1.22m) and a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ which sold for $1.27m (£1m).
Many of the usual supercar suspects were present and correct: a Ferrari 365GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ changed hands for $775k (£614k), a 1972 Dino 246GT went for $263k (£208k) and a 1981 Lamborghini Countach LP400 S Series II for $368k (£292k).
You could also have bagged yourself a 1967 Toyota 2000GT for $511k (£405k), a 1965 Lambo 350GT for $555k (£440k) or a 1976 Porsche 935 Group 5 Turbo; the latter made $173,600 (£137,680).
One that really caught our eye, though, was the 1965 Ferrari 330GT 2+2 Shooting Brake by Vignale. A true-one off, it sold for $313,000 (£248,000).
At the other end of the scale, several characterful microcars were auctioned, among them a 1956 Paul Vallée Chantecler ($53,200 / £42,200) and a 1964 Messerschmitt KR 200 Roadster ($57,120 / £45,300). The former was created by the founder of the Écurie France racing team, while the latter is the last production example known to exist.
We were also drawn to a 1960 Renault 4CV Jolly by Ghia – there are thought to be fewer than 20 left in existence and the sale price of $106,400 (£84,384) reflected that rarity.
Other interesting lots included a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 Four-Door Pullman, which sold for $335k (£265k), a beautiful 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz which made $324k (£257k) and the bonkers 1962 Ed Roth ‘Mysterion’ Recreation, which fetched a hefty $246k (£195k).
The full list of results can be found on the RM Sotheby’s website here.
Images: Karissa Hosek/Remi Dargegen/Patrick Ernzen/Erik Fuller/ Darin Schnabel/David Sirotinsky/Motorcar Studios/Josh Bryan/RM Sotheby’s