the auction house RM Sotheby’s has carried out in recent days a “blind auction” of a truly special car: the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL who gave the star mark to Fangio in 1958 on the occasion of his retirement.
The car of “El Maestro”, which was exhibited for many years in the Balcarce Automobile Museum (Buenos Aires, Argentina), was one of the favorites of the Argentine champion and now has a new owner, since the bids for him were closed last Friday, March 25.
Due to the format of the auction, very different from what the house has accustomed us to, we will stay without even knowing the price reached by this jewel, although it was expected to be well over six zeros. For example, this Ferrari 290 MM that was also owned by the Argentineended up being auctioned for €24.5 million.
A historical jewel that has a lot to tell
It is Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with chassis 198.042.8500083 was delivered brand new by the German manufacturer in 1958 to Juan Manuel Fangio for his 47th birthdayprecisely the same year he hung up the gloves.
As can be seen from the state of some elements such as its battered upholstery, (and as the auction house experts also confirmed at the time) in all this time the car has not received any modificationmaintaining both the bodywork, the chassis, the engine and the rest of its mechanics in its original state.
For lovers of the world of competition and followers of the Argentine pilot, this will surely contribute an added value. And it is that of the great names that make up the history of the automotive industry, Juan Manuel Fangio can be considered one of the most admired pilots even by the rest of the pilots, among them, Michael sSchumacher.
Fangio won championships for brands like Alfa Romeo, Ferrari or Maserati. Once retired, his exploits on the track were celebrated by the great brands he helped bring to the top, but none showed him as much affection as Mercedes-Benz, which even named Fangio President of Mercedes-Benz Argentina SA in 1974, a great honor for the Creole.
Raised in Balcarce (Buenos Aires) by a father who immigrated to the country from Italy, Fangio won the hearts of all racing fans with his humility and surprising success given his age. He had a gift.
After a last triumphant tour of Europe to say goodbye to the world of competition when he retired, returned to Buenos Aires in 1960 between great shows of admiration.
It was not until then that he was able to release the 300 SL, because in addition to registering the car had to get a driver’s licensesince Fangio competed throughout his sports career without having a license.
When he got it, the spectacular light blue metallic Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with cream interior it became his daily personal use car. He did almost 73,000 km on it until 1986, when he handed it over to the Museum opened in his honor in Balcarce, where it had been on display practically until the beginning of this year.
Throughout his life Fangio kept the car in perfect magazine condition, and even commissioned its maintenance to one of your trusted mechanicswhich he sent to Stuttgart to be shown there all the details regarding its optimal conservation.
Now this beauty that accuses the passage of time with magnanimous elegance, has ceased to belong to the Fangio family, but his story will always remain linked to the illustrious surname of “The Master”.
A “blind auction” like the one that has been carried out by RM Sotheby’s for this car is not carried out under the traditional bidding format, but those fans interested in buying the car had a few days (from March 21 to 25) for send your final price in advance and privatelydirectly to the auction house.
Once all the offers have been received, at the close of the auction the title of the car is delivered to the bidder who offered the highest offer. In this case, neither the price to be paid nor the name of the owner -this is more common- of this historical jewel will be made public.
Photos: Courtesy of R.M. Sotheby’s