This 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider Could Bring $30 Million at Auction – Robb Report

A 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider.

Sorting out 1950s Ferrari competition cars—as opposed to Ferrari road cars—can be a daunting task. A centipede would need ten more legs to count the number of sports cars and GT racers, and few of each model were identical on the production line. Engines made during that decade ranged in displacement from 2.0-liter inline-four mills to 5.0-liter V-12s, and each was built specifically to accomplish its racing task.

An unrepeatable Ferrari made for long-haul racing will be featured at the RM Sotheby’s sale, running August 18-20, during Northern California’s famed Monterey Car Week. According to Gord Duff, global head of auctions for RM Sotheby’s, [Ferrari] 410 Sport is undoubtedly one of the most important cars that RM Sotheby’s brings to Monterey. The car itself is rare, but the history that accompanies the 410 S is incomparable. Fangio, Hill and Shelby all rode this machine, with Shelby scoring win after win.”

The Ferrari 410 Sport Spider was specially designed to win the grueling Carrera Panamericana, a dangerous five-day road race in Mexico that claimed the lives of many participants. To gain an advantage on the treacherous track, Ferrari developed a lower center of gravity tubular chassis and combined it with an engine that was the latest version of the V-12 designed by Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi. With 4.9 liters, the latter was the largest Ferrari V-12 that was made at the time.

A 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider.

The 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider will be offered at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction, which runs from August 18 to 20.

Patrick Ernzen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

The car on offer, with chassis and engine No. 0598 CM, is one of only two factory-built 410 Sports equipped with the hot-rodded 24-plug engine. Along with Formula 1 style twin-plug ignition per cylinder, it uses a four-way distributor and coil ignition system and three voracious Weber 46 DCF carburettors. It produces almost 400 horsepower, 40 horsepower more than the single-plug V-12. But the 1955 Carrera Panamericana race, for which this car was developed, was never held and canceled after the Le Mans disaster that same year. The debut of this 410 Sport was thus the opening race of the 1956 World Sportscar Championship at the 1000 KM of Buenos Aires, where it was driven by Juan Manuel Fangio. Despite its brave driver, the race car succumbed to a differential failure, was returned to the factory and then sold.

The engine in a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider.The engine in a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider.

The nearly 400-horsepower car on offer is one of only two factory-run 410 Sports equipped with a hot-rodded 24-plug Ferrari V-12 engine.

Patrick Ernzen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

The post-war era of American motorsport saw a number of men’s racers with a lot of money, and none to be reckoned with, campaigning as privateers, driving cars of various makes, often with great success. Briggs Cunningham immediately comes to mind, both for his Maserati team and for the sports cars produced briefly under his own name. John Edgar was another, who set his sights on auto racing with an MG TC after a boat racing accident. However, the success of Ferrari racers soon caught his eye and he subsequently acquired a range of competition cars from Maranello. On the track, Edgar eventually ran into another 4.9-litre Ferrari 410 Sport (Chassis No. 0592 CM) and was brutally beaten by it, powered by an emerging hot shoe named Carroll Shelby.

A 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider.A 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider.

Chassis number 0598 CM made its racing debut at the Buenos Aires 1000 KM in 1956, driven by Juan Manuel Fangio.

Patrick Ernzen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Inspired, Edgar bought his own 410 Sport, which happened to be chassis number 0598 CM, previously driven by Fangio. Edgar soon had it run by mercenary Shelby himself. His first time in the car, Shelby took first place and took a total of eight wins and 10 podiums in the No. 0598 CM, more than in any other car of his racing career.

In total, the Ferrari took part in nearly 40 races during that period, taking 11 wins and 19 podium finishes from 1956 to 1958. It also had a string of illustrious drivers, including Phil Hill, Eugenio Castellotti, Masten Gregory, Richie Ginther, Joakim Bonnier, Bruce Kessler, Jim Rathmann and Chuck Daigh. Even Enzo Ferrari acknowledged Shelby’s success in the ex-factory racer and sent congratulatory messages to Edgar. The colorful Shelby once told a Los Angeles Times reporter: “Nothing can hit this Ferrari when it’s running.” Decades later, he added: “It was the best Ferrari I’ve ever driven.”

A 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider.A 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider.

This particular prancing horse has retained its engine, chassis and body.

Patrick Ernzen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

In 1960 Edgar sold No. 0598 CM to Luigi Chinetti, whose intentions to race the car were thwarted by new regulations requiring a fixed roof, which proved to make the car too slow to be competitive. After countless wins and champions behind the wheel, the car saw its racing days come to an end. Chinetti owned the 410 Sport for 20 years, eventually selling the car in 1980. The shipper, who acquired the vehicle in 2006, eventually ordered an engine overhaul by the brand’s experts – a project completed in 2016. .

The cockpit of a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider.The cockpit of a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider.

In addition to Fangio and Shelby, the list of famous pilots in this cockpit includes Phil Hill and Masten Gregory, among others.

Patrick Ernzen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Remarkably, this Ferrari has kept its engine, chassis and body that match the numbers – the body is one of the few designed and built by Sergio Scaglietti. Funnily enough, the race car also retains its original fuel tank, signed by Shelby, who wrote: “Mr. Ferrari told me it was the best Ferrari he’s ever built.” Included in the sale are the first and last trophies, respectively from 1956 and 1958, won by Shelby numbered 0598 CM, as well as the original 1957 Nassau license plate. With such an unparalleled provenance, it’s no wonder this Prancing Horse has a high value estimated at $30 million.

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