There are few greater displays of conspicuous consumption than at Monterey Car Week where Bugattis and McLarens and Porsches are more ubiquitous in parking lots than Toyota Camrys and Kia Souls. The owners of these vehicles frequently come here to spend more money on additional vehicles to add to their collections. But there was perhaps no sign of greater excess this past week than the purchase of the crashed and burned remnants of a 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider for a whopping USD1.9 million dollars at the RM Sotheby’s auction. To put things in perspective, a Ferrari Mondial from that era fetched USD4 million in 2019. Alternatively, the price of a crashed 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider could buy you seven brand-new Ferrari Romas—one for every day of the week.
USD1.825 million was the exact sale price, which was well above the USD1.2 million dollar estimate. Why so much? It's due to the provenance and the story behind it. Inside a barn in Florida in 2004, 20 Ferraris were discovered, including this specific Ferrari 500 Mondial Spide. It’s an ultra-rare care–only 13 are in existence and this was the second one ever built.
In 1954, Enzo Ferrari sold this Mondial to Franco Cornacchia, a car dealer in Milan, who raced this car under his own team with one of Ferrari's first factory drivers, Franco Cortese. Cornacchia sold the car in 1955. It spent time racing for a few years before it reached the US in 1958 where it would continue to be raced. In 1963, the inline 4-cylinder would be replaced by a good ol’ American V8 then it crashed and burned. The remnants of the car along with several other Ferraris was then resold in 1970s and eventually ended up in the barn of Walter Medlin, a real estate agent who had issues with the IRS, some of which were seized by the IRS, while the remainder were auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s over the course of the weekend
Perhaps more significant than this story is that this wreck still includes the actual VIN, meaning that, at an enormous cost, it could be rebuilt by Ferrari. And if it does, it will instantly be eligible to compete in the renowned Mille Miglia race, which has stiffer requirements for entry throughout the years and focuses mostly on vehicles from the time when it was a really competitive race.
Will the owner choose to fully restore it? Or preserve it in its current state? Either way, there’s no doubt that it will still be desirable in any form it may take, as long as you’ve got the spare millions.
From: Esquire Us