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How much will Fangio's F1 car fetch?

Author: Stephen Hurrell

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How much will Fangio's F1 car fetch?

A Mercedes-Benz racer driven by Juan Manuel Fangio is expected to fetch up to £10m at auction this summer at the Goodwood Festival.

The car itself is a particularly special one; it is the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 driven by one of the world's greatest drivers to victory at the German and Swiss Grand Prix races.

The five-time Formula One World Driver's Championship winner was the first to dominate the sport and the Argentinian remains one of the world's most iconic drivers.

Amazingly experts did not even know where the car was until it was found recently and put up for auction.

The car is particularly interesting because it was designed specifically for Formula One amid a spate of rule changes in the 1950s. It included an eight-cylinder engine without supercharging and a five-speed transmission.

It made its debut at the fearsome Nurburgring circuit, a twisting 14-mile route with some of the most difficult corners in the world of racing.

Fangio guided the car to victory in the race and went on to win the Swiss Grand Prix as well. However, it did not go on to dominate as it should have done after a similarly-designed Mercedes car was involved in the infamous Le Mans disaster in 1955 in which 83 spectators were killed.

The car going up for auction was held in a warehouse for nearly 20 years by a mystery owner and has been labelled 'the most important grand prix racing car' by auctioneer Bonhams.

Bonhams chairman Robert Brooks said: "This is my fifth decade in the business and it was the most exciting discovery that I've made."

The car itself has not been restored and still boasts the scratches and scuffs from racing and any years in storage for a real taste of the era.

Fangio raced to a famous 1955 championship in the Mercedes and the car is expected to gain plenty of attention at auction. A more likely price than the £10m upper limit is around £5m for a piece of genuine motoring history - before classic car insurance is even considered.

The traditional Goodwood auction is a classic car staple in the UK and the festival is a fitting setting for the Mercedes.

In 2011 Goodwood hosted a driver tribute to Fangio, who raced twice at the site in his illustrious career.

However, his Formula One car is unlikely to break the record for most expensive car sold at auction. That honour goes to a 1936 Bugatti Type 575C Atlantic which fetched $30m at auction in 2010.

It is a fitting time for the car to go up for auction as Mercedes attempts to dominate Formula One once again with the signing of Lewis Hamilton.

The British racer is heading a new era for Mercedes and, according to a Grand Prix 2013 preview completed this year, nearly one in four people believe the team will be the most improved in F1 as a result.

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