HomeThe MarketHistoric racing cars added to RM Sotheby’s Italian auction

Historic racing cars added to RM Sotheby’s Italian auction


RM Sotheby’s says that two famed racing cars of the past — a 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider and a 1957 Porsche 550A Spyder — will share pole position at its upcoming collector car auction at Villa Erba in northern Italy. The auction is held in conjunction with the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como.

The two historic racing cars join a docket that already included a 1931 Aston Martin 1.5-liter International LM5 and a group of Zagato-designed vehicles.

“Each of these consignments adds to the high sense of occasion we have come to associate with RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba auction,” said Augustin Sabatie-Garat, RM Sotheby’s auction manager for Europe. 

“The rare Ferrari 550 Mondial Spider is fitting of an exclusive bracket of prestige collector car, from its charming condition to its considerable history and recent blessing by Ferrari itself. 

“Similarly, the Porsche 550A Spyder is presented as it would have been delivered new in the 1950s, complete with its reimagined livery that is true to the car’s competition pedigree.”

Racing cars, Historic racing cars added to RM Sotheby’s Italian auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
The ’54 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider at the 1962 Carrera Presidential event in Mexico

According to RM Sotheby’s, the 500 Mondial – chassis no. 0448 MD – was completed in October 1954 and was the 12th of 13 Pinin Farina Spiders built and one of only five with covered headlights, placing it in the first series of cars. It was sold new to Anthony “Tony” Parravano of Inglewood, California. 

“Parravano quickly made himself known as an entrant of numerous exotic Italian sports cars in Californian racing circles,” RM Sotheby’s said, noting that in February 1955 that car finished first in class and fourth overall at Willow Springs with Bob Drake driving and that in March 1956, also at Willow Springs, it was driven to a third-place performance by Pat O’Connor.

“The car has been lovingly owned by a number of North American collectors and has enjoyed periods of long-term ownership, although it has seldom been seen since leaving the race track in the late 1950s, making it highly eligible for historic racing and concours events,” RM Sotheby’s said.

“More recently, the car has returned home to Maranello, where it was inspected by Ferrari Classiche and granted red-book certification. Furthermore, the car’s certification binder confirms that it retains its original engine, gearbox and bodywork, truly affirming its status as one of the finest 500 Mondials in existence.”

RM Sotheby’s has set a pre-auction estimated value at €4.250.000 to €4.750.000 ($4.791 million to $5.355 million).

Racing cars, Historic racing cars added to RM Sotheby’s Italian auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
Julius Voigt-Nielsen fights Gordon Jones and his Lotus 11 for the lead at Roskilde, Denmark in April 1957

The Porsche — chassis 550A-0121 — was delivered new to Denmark. It was one of only 50 such cars produced and the only one delivered to Denmark. It raced in Denmark but then was sold to an owner in Kenya, where it also ran as a competition car, according to RM Sotheby’s. 

In the late-1970s, the car was sold to Giuseppe Freschi in Italy, who entered many iterations of the Mille Miglia. In 2011, the car was sold to its current owner, who had it restored to its original configuration and livery.  The car has been driven less than 100 kilometers since the restoration.

RM Sotheby’s has set a pre-sale value of €3.400.000 to €3.800.000 ($3.83 million to 4.28 million).

Racing cars, Historic racing cars added to RM Sotheby’s Italian auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
Chassis 550A-0121 in action in Denmark in the summer of 1957

The auction is scheduled for May 25.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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