Mansell F1 cars auctioned off for €7.6 million in Monaco
Nigel Mansell never did win in Monaco. Until last weekend, that is, when he roared home first in true Mansell style. But the 1992 British Formula 1 World Champion wasn’t driving his cars around Monaco – he was selling them.
Two cars in particular put him on the top step of the podium, in the eyes of RM Sotheby’s anyway. Both are F1 cars from Mansell’s private collection, one a Ferrari and one a Williams, and both famous in their own ways. And they just sold for €7.6 million, or about £6.5m.
Highest price of the pair at €4m went to the 1991 Williams FW14, the “Red 5” in which Mansell won five races in 1991 – but which is more well known as the car in which the British driver gave a stranded Ayrton Senna a lift back to the pits in that year’s British Grand Prix.
Mansell had brought the brilliant Adrian Newey-designed machine home in first place, 40 seconds ahead of the next car, and on his victory lap casually pulled over to give Ayrton Senna a lift after the Brazilian’s car ran out of fuel.
Image courtesy of Motorsport Images.
The photograph of the pair of them, one in the car and the other on it, ranks as one of the most famous images from F1 in the 1990s. Perhaps in light of that, bidders fought over it to such an extent that it eventually went for €1m more than RM Sotheby’s thought it would make. Even without its Renault engine.
Then there was the Ferrari. The 1989 V12 640 was the car in which Mansell won his debut race (the Brazilian Grand Prix) for the Scuderia after Enzo Ferrari signed him, the last driver to be personally selected by Il Commendatore. After that lion-hearted win, Mansell was forever known by the tifosi as Il Leone.
The 1989 V12 640, first F1 car with a semi-automatic gearbox to win a grand prix, came with a presale estimate of between €2.5-5 million and sold for €3.6m.
Augustin Sabatié-Garat, RM Sotheby’s director of sales in Europe, said: “It is clear that the market for historic Formula 1 cars is stronger than ever.”
There were in fact five cars from Mansell’s private collection that were sold in Monaco, and all found new homes – yes even the three-wheeler that’s been in his garage for the past 30 years.
No, not a Reliant or Morgan but a motorcycle-engined iC Modulo M89. This most unusual of Mansell machines was given to him at the 1990 Italian Grand Prix. RM Sotheby’s though it might sell for anywhere from €5,000 but on the day went for four times that.
All told, RM sold €31m worth of cars in the Monaco sale with the top 10 results as follows:
1991 Williams FW14
1989 Ferrari 640
1973 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider by Scaglietti
1971 Lamborghini Miura SV
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB by Scaglietti
1958 BMW 507 Roadster Series II
1988 Jaguar XJR-9
1969 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/3 Sports Racer
1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight
1988 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante 'X-Pack'
One car that didn’t sell in the auction was the machine we dubbed the world’s ugliest Ferrari when we previewed it here on GRR. We thought it looked like a kitcar gone horribly wrong or the world’s worst body kit. And clearly buyers agreed because no one was tempted – despite the car’s pivotal place in the history of the Prancing Horse.
This car was ugly for a reason you see: it was the first-phase test mule prototype of the La Ferrari hybrid hypercar, a hacked about 458 Italia with detachable testing panels. Most mule cars are destroyed when they are finished with but this one escaped its fate even though it would never be able to be driven on public roads. But as a museum exhibit people would surely pay to see it.