The ruler of Qatar has sold a vintage Mercedes-Benz that was
driven to two Grand Prix victories at auction for $30m.
The silver W196, in which Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1954
French Grand Prix, was acquired by the Qatari emir from German industrialist
Freidhelm Loh eight years ago.
Part of Bonham’s 20th anniversary ‘Festival of
Speed’ in London, the 180 mph racer did not carry a formal valuation at
auction, but was expected to surpass a previous record of $16.4m that was
handed over for a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa two years ago.
The buyer of the 2.5 litre W196 was an overseas bidder via
telephone, who beat six other bidders, Bloomberg reported.
“You’re in a club of one with this car,” Dave Kinney,
publisher of the Hagerty Price Guide, told Bloomberg prior to the auction. “You
can’t race it with your fellow Ferrari GTO owners. It is a very significant
piece of Grand Prix history. While its future use-potential is slight, it
exudes the history of perhaps the greatest era in racing.”