Ferrari 500 Mondial to be auctioned in Monterey
A 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial, owned by the same person since 1960, has been announced for Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach auction. It’s estimated to sell for $5,500,000-$7,500,000.
With the distant rumblings of the Monterey Car Week on the horizon, Gooding & Company has announced a rather special consignment to its 24-25 August Pebble Beach auction: the 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series II.
Provenance is often everything with Ferraris, and the history of this Mondial is well known, having been owned by the same man since 1960. Admiral Robert Phillips tracked the Mondial down as a young Naval officer, and has enjoyed the four-cylinder Ferrari racer ever since.
After more than 50 years with the light blue racer, Admiral Phillips is considered to be one of the world’s definitive authorities on Ferrari Mondials, but has decided that now is the time to pass the 500 onto its next owner.
David Gooding, President and Founder of Gooding & Company, commented: ‘we are grateful and honored to be entrusted with selling Admiral Phillips’ Ferrari Mondial. This Ferrari epitomizes the highest of quality and pedigree, as well as illustrates the Admiral’s deep understanding and reverence for the marque, as he has researched every last detail of his beloved sports racer.’
The Admiral rescued the Mondial, chassis 0556 (0446)/MD, from a Rambler dealership in 1960 following five hard years of racing in Europe, North and South America. It was first delivered to privateer racer François Picard, who competed in the 24 Heures Grand Prix de Paris at Montlhéry, France, as well as several other European hill climb and races.
It was sold back to Scuderia Ferrari, then promptly transported to the inaugural Grand Prix of Venezuela in November 1955, where it competed alongside two other works cars. Driven by Harry Schell during the first part of the race, Eugenio Castellotti swapped into the car at the halfway point, taking the car to fifth overall and first in class.
Following the race, Dominican diplomat Porfirio Rubirosa purchased the Mondial from Ferrari, and campaigned it successfully in the 1955 Governor’s Trophy in Nassau and the 1956 12 Hours of Sebring. It then passed through two more US-based owners, who before the differential seized at Road America in 1959. At this point the owner had the car transported to the nearest Rambler dealership, where it was discovered a year later by the Admiral.
After learning to repair and maintain the Mondial himself, he started to race the car in various events before being transferred to Turkey. He managed to keep the car, and on returning to the USA, drove it across the country to his new post in New Jersey.
The car underwent a full restoration, paying particular attention to conserving as much of the car’s originality, by marque specialist David Carte.