Wrecks that sell for the price of gold, or even more expensive, there have already been some, and there will still be as long as rarities are found at the bottom of a wood or a garden. Here, the car on offer is a very rare 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider Series I. Only 13 examples were built with Pinin Farina (the founder of Pininfarina coachbuilding). This copy is the second in the series.
In addition it has a past this model. This copy ran in various races of the time such as the Mille Miglia, the Targa Florio or the Imola Grand Prix. According to Ferrari records, and expert Marcel Massini, chassis 0406 MD was Rosso Corsa with a beige vinyl interior. The car was sold to Franco Cornacchia who entered it in the race for Scuderia Guastalla. She then knew several drivers including the former Ferrari driver Franco Cortese, or Joao Rezende Dos Santos.
This racing vehicle with no prestigious track record other than runners-up then left for the USA where it received an American V8 (today it would be sacrilege, but we are talking about a tool, a racing car and was common at the time). The car was in an accident a few years later and suffered a fire. Sold without the engine, it ended up at Walter Medlin in 1978, who then kept it as it was… dented, bent, rusted, and burned.
So it’s this pile of rust that’s going to be auctioned off. The engine supplied is not at all “matching numbers” (the original NDLA engine) but a 3-litre Lampredi Tipo 119 inline-4. This engine equipped the 750 Monza of the same era. However, the gearbox is “matching-numbers”! Inevitably, this gives a little more cachet to the creature.
So we have a second chassis produced, a recognized private driver who entered it in the prestigious races of the time, and an accident + fire and conservation “as is” since the mid-1960s. What to do a great story and collect crazy bids from wealthy participants? No doubt, especially since the Massini expert has accumulated a lot of documents on the vehicle and even the CSAI papers (or CSAI, Italian homologation papers of the time).
Our opinion, by leblogauto.com
The big question will then be: to restore or not to restore? Some think that these vehicles should not be touched and the history should be preserved, others, often in the USA, think on the contrary that they should be rebuilt as new. But the range seems very (too?) high.
The latest Ferrari 500 Mondial by Pinin Farina sold by RM Sotheby’s reached 3.7 million euros. However, it was in perfect condition, especially with the original engine, gearbox and bodywork! So isn’t RM trying to embellish this carcass a bit to sell it better? Even if we don’t think we can resell it at 3.7 million, that leaves a nice margin for restoration.