The forgotten racing car

March 14, 2013 | By | In News

Discovered in a warehouse last week was the no classic 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula One car, which was driven by Argentinian racing car driver, Juan Manuel Fangio – a timely find with the start of the F1 2013 race calendar having kicked off in Melbourne, Australia earlier this month.

The car, which lead Juan to victory in the German and Swiss Grand Prix, is to be sold in all its former glory without any further restoration to speak of. The German Formula One car has been admired for its condition, having stood a thirty-year test of time, and it’s even thought that with a bit of attention from the Mercedes workshop, that it will be able to perform on the track – nothing to excessive mind, a demonstration at most.

In spite being left to rest in a warehouse for the past three decades, it seems that since its discovery the car is the recipient of as much love and adoration as its driver Juan Manuel– who as a racer, practically dominated the first decade of Formula One racing. Juan’s long standing record of winning five Formula One World Drivers’ Championships, (only beaten by now retired German racer, Michael Schumaher 46 years after the record was set), seems to have set a precedence for the Mercedes-Benz car, which is expected to fetch in excess of £5million when it is sold at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July by auction house Bonhams. This will exceed the only other two other cars sold for this figure by the auction house.

We’d love to be able to say all vehicles which have been stored in a garage without a second thought will emerge to produce a cool £5million for its owner, but we can’t. Where it starts out in life has a lot to do with what it might fetch you down the line. That said it might still be worth lifting those covers from that vehicle you’ve got reserved for ‘tinkering’, to see exactly how much money is residing underneath the sheet. Sell it on as a restoration project, or look to see if you can trade it in for something more up to date. The modern vehicles are certainly not built with as much resilience as the W196 – they’re a different breed after all – so if you’re sitting on the bonnet of a car hoping it will start to gain value, you might be waiting a while, a long while.

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