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Fangio’s 1954 Mercedes F1 Car Sells for Record Price

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An unidentified buyer has spent $29.7 million to acquire the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R race car driven by Formula One legend Juan Manuel Fangio to his second F1 title.

Fangio's 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R

The sale occurred last Friday during an auction held at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England. The unidentified buyer placed his winning bid by telephone during the eight-minute auction.

The price is the highest ever paid for a car of any kind. The previous record was set two years ago when a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa sports car was auctioned for $16.4 million at Pebble Beach, Calif.

Fangio was an auto mechanic from Argentina who won the F1 championship five times—a record that held for 46 years until Germany’s Michael Schumacher captured his sixth championship in 2003. Fangio’s rate of F1 victories—taking first place in 46% of the 52 races he entered—remains unmatched.

The W196R is powered by a 2.5-liter, 290-hp straight-8 engine and is fitted with such innovations as fuel injection, a tubular spaceframe, four-wheel independent suspension, magnesium body and brakes mounted inboard to reduce unsprung weight.