This 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial race car is thought to be one of only three in the world that retains its original four-cylinder engine
A 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series II with coachwork by Scaglietti, which has been in continuous ownership for almost 60 years, is to be auctioned at Pebble Beach.
Listed with Gooding & Company, the 500 Mondial will feature in the August 24/25 2018 sale, running alongside the famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
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Most Mondials were sold to, and raced by, privateers. This car, chassis 0556, was delivered new to François Picard and was finished in the light blue national racing colour of his native France.
After appearances in hillclimbs, later in 1955 it was sold back to Ferrari. With the factory-offered free transportation of its cars to the inaugural Grand Prix of Venezuela, the 500 Mondial was one of three cars Ferrari entered. Shared by Harry Schell and Eugenio Castellotti, it won its class and finished fifth overall.
Subsequently, it made fleeting competitive outings, including another class win at the 1956 12 Hours of Sebring, before a seized rear differential led to its storage. In 1960 it was purchased by Naval officer Robert Phillips for $2225 – equivalent to $18,000 when adjusted for inflation – and has remained in his custody ever since.
David Gooding, president and founder of Gooding & Company, said: ‘We are grateful and honoured to be entrusted with selling Admiral Phillips’ Ferrari Mondial. This Ferrari epitomises the highest of quality and pedigree, as well as illustrates the Admiral’s deep understanding and reverence for the marque, as he has researched every last detail of his beloved sports racer.’
The 500 Mondial features an unconventional, in Ferrari terms, four-cylinder engine based on the 553 grand prix car. The 2-litre unit produces 170bhp, courtesy of two Weber carburettors. That runs through a five-speed crash gearbox with no synchromesh. Now, it is thought that only three 500 Mondials remain with the period-correct engine.
After an eight-year restoration by renowned marque specialist David Carte, the 500 Mondial won its class at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and was judged the best Ferrari on show.
An unrestored 500 Mondial was featured in RM Sotheby’s 2015 New York auction. Although it failed to sell, back then it carried a pre-sale figure of between $5,000,000 and $7,000,000. Three years later, Gooding & Company values chassis 0556 between $5,500,000 and $7,500,000.
All images copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Photos by James Lipman