After the 1951 season Alfa Romeo gives up competition. Helpless, the FIA decides to apply to Formula 1 the Formula 2 rules, including engine volumes below two liters in lighter cars.
To meet these new rules, Ferrari changes strategy. The power rise of the V12 is too slow for these small cars : Lampredi develops the engine Tipo 110 with four-cylinder 500 cc in line. Alberto Ascari dominates the 1952 and 1953 seasons with the new Ferrari Tipo 500.
This overwhelming success leads Ferrari to successively offer two small series of cars using this solution. They receive the denomination Mondial in an enthusiastic reference to Ascari's victories : the 500 Mondial Series I is made in 1954 in 21 units, followed in 1955 by the Series II in 8 units using the chassis of the 750 Monza and the engine Tipo 111 inspired by the Ferrari 553 F2.
Designed for competition, all these cars had a hectic early history. One of the Series II was traded back by Ferrari from a private customer in November 1955 for the Venezuelan Grand Prix in such a hurry that they left it painted in French blue.
After several seasons on three continents, this exhausted car seduced in 1960 a junior officer of the US Navy. He buys it on a bank loan and asks for a quote from Ferrari for its restoration. It is too expensive for this beginner : he learns to repair and maintain it by himself.
This young man never lost his passion for his rare Ferrari. It followed him throughout his career that ended thirty years ago with the rank of Rear Admiral. Having become the best connoisseur of this model, he spent eight years from 2000 to manage a complete restoration that led his car on the path of the most prestigious concours d'elegance.
This Ferrari which has been meticulously cared and used by a single owner for 58 years is estimated $ 5.5M for sale by Gooding at Pebble Beach on August 24, lot 22. Here is the link to the press release. Please watch the video shared by the auction house and the 2015 video shared by Petrolicious. Both include an interview with the Admiral.
SOLD for $ 5M including premium