T his December, RM Sotheby’s will present more than 40 hand-selected, blue-chip automobiles at its first auction at The Petersen Automotive Museum (8 December Los Angeles). Estimated to achieve $22 million to $26 million, the sale’s star lot will be a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM with a significant motorsport pedigree. The consignment of this car follows RM Sotheby’s world record for the most valuable car ever sold at auction, set when a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $48.4 million in Monterey earlier this year.
Campaigned by Scuderia Ferrari for the 1956 and 1957 seasons, the fully matching-numbers, Ferrari Classiche-certified racer was piloted by an amazing assortment of factory team drivers including Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, Peter Collins, Wolfgang von Trips, Olivier Gendebien, Eugenio Castellotti and later, Sir Stirling Moss, in some of the most prestigious race events in the world.
“The 290 MM represents the golden age of the sports two-seater, having taken part in some of the most famous races ever held. Moreover, the sheer number of legendary drivers who have been at the helm of this car make it truly remarkable. The opportunity to acquire a proper Scuderia Ferrari works barchetta in the realm of the 290 MM, 315 S, or 335 S, rarely ever comes along in such exceptional form.”
The 290 MM was developed by Ferrari to contest the 1956 World Sports Car Championship and the Mille Miglia, hence the MM initials, and reclaim dominance over past and present competitor – Mercedes-Benz – and its great domestic rival, Maserati. For Enzo Ferrari, this was just as important as his efforts to win the Formula One World Championship. Chassis no. 0628, set for RM Sotheby’s Petersen Museum sale, was the fourth and final example ever built. Equipped with an all-new powertrain, composed of the Tipo 130 V-12, 3,490 cc engine, with highly developed cylinder heads, high-lift camshaft, bigger valves, twin spark plugs, 9:1 compression ratio and dry sump, coupled with the Tipo 520 transaxle, the 290 MM was the car to bring the manufacturer title back to Maranello for the third time. Bodied by Scaglietti, the 290 MM is a truly impressive, brutal and beautiful machine.