The first series of the 500 Mondial includes 11 or 12 spiders bodied by Pinin Farina for the trade. One of them is sold new to Porfirio Rubirosa, playboy famous in his time, passionate of polo and of car racing, diplomat of the Dominican Republic in the service of Trujillo.
Rubirosa used only once his Mondial, at Santa Barbara in September 1954. He finished this race very honorably but mostly attracted the attention of the press by parading with the highly visible Zsa Zsa Gabor.
The playboy does not keep his women and cars for long. Just after Santa Barbara, he sells the Mondial to John Von Neumann, Ferrari's future dealer for Hollywood and South California. For two years Von Neumann enters it in local competitions, driven by himself or entrusted to friends.
In Santa Barbara in 1955, the same Mondial draws the attention of the press again. James Dean admires it so much that he absolutely wants to be photographed behind its wheel. The actor will however remain loyal to Porsche.
In 2014 Ferrari Classiche announced to have completed the restoration of the Mondial in a release illustrated with a short video. The car had been kept in a highly authentic condition, with the exception of the engine that had been blown in 1956 by the future champion Phil Hill. Ferrari has built and installed an engine that complies with the original specification. The still original Pinin Farina body was repainted in its 1954 Santa Barbara design.
Now certified at the highest level by Ferrari Classiche, the Mondial is estimated $ 5M for sale by Bonhams in Scottsdale on January 17, lot 44. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.