Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

1954 F1 Mercedes 'to fetch £5m'

The 1954 two-point-five litre Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula 1 Grand-Prix single-seater driven by Juan Manuel Fangio

A Formula One car that was "forgotten about" in a warehouse for almost three decades is expected to fetch more than £5 million at auction.

The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 was driven by five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio.

The German-made car contains many features which were innovative at the time, including a fuel-injected engine, lightweight chassis and improved brakes.

Racing historian Doug Nye said: "The fist time I saw this car I needed oxygen. It's landmark technology and it was driven by a landmark driver."

The car, unveiled by auction house Bonhams at its New Bond Street sale room, will be sold in its current condition with noticeable blemishes and dirt.

"What's so special about it is that it has this wonderful, untouched patina," Mr Nye said.

"Some people think it looks grotty - that's not the point - the really rare cars today are the unrestored ones.

"Every car that's restored has lost a part of its history because it's been obliterated by repainting or by rebuilding. Nothing's been obliterated on this, it's just a beautiful survivor."

He added that he did not mind if the car was bought by an individual or an institution, but he hoped it would go to "an owner who really understands and an owner who really cares".

Bonhams chairman Robert Brooks said: "This is my fifth decade in the business and it was the most exciting discovery that I've made. We've had a couple of cars that have made over £5 million and our thought is that this will exceed that."

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