Racing car nets £19m at auction

The most important Grand Prix racing car ever offered at public auction has gone for £19.6m at Goodwood in West Sussex.

'Very, very important car' fetches £19m at auction

The auctioneers who sold the most expensive car ever to be sold at public auction have said that they always knew it would be a 'very, very important car'.

The Mercedes-Benz W196 went for £19.6m in an auction held by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2013 in Chichester.

The former Formula 1 racing car was driven by the F1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio in 1954 when he clinched the second of his five titles.

The Argentinian drove the car to victory in the 1954 German and Swiss Grand Prix races.

A private buyer bought the car over the telephone.

"At £19.6 million inclusive, it's a new world record by some distance.

"We had eight telephone bidders at the start of the bidding and we had three people in the audience, so we had more than 10 people who were prepared to spend. Of those 11 bidders, only five got the chance to bid.

"Our own personal record of £5 million was achieved last year for a Bentley. The price that we achieved today is over three times that, so it's extraordinary.

"We always knew that it was a very, very important car."

– James Knight, group motoring director at Bonhams

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Historic Grand Prix racing car goes under the hammer

1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula1 Grand-Prix racing car Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A historic Grand Prix racing car ever offered at public auction goes under the hammer in West Sussex.

The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 was the race car driven by five-times F1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio when he clinched his second title in 1954.

Fangio drove the 2.5-litre car to victories in the 1954 German and Swiss Grand Prix races, the first successive triumphs achieved by the factory Mercedes-Bent team in its post-war comeback.

Although no guide price has been disclosed, the car - chassis number 00006/54 - is set to sell for millions of pounds when it is sold by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester.

The auction house has described it as "not only one of the most significant motor cars of the 20th century, but also the most important historic Grand Prix racing car ever offered at public auction".

After being presented to the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire, in the 1970s, it was sold to a private collector in the 1980s and then into the ownership of a German businessman.