This past weekend, auction house RM Sotheby’s sold some amazing vehicles at it’s Peterson Automotive Museum Sale on 8 December in Los Angeles, California. I just happened to be monitoring the sale from start to finish and I saw vehicle’s of all shapes and sizes find new homes, however three vehicles in particular have stuck in my minds and I can only dream of owning them. The first was an immaculate example of the now iconic Ferrari F40 and the second was the soon to be legendary Porsche Carrera GT. These vehicles are rare, exotics but when compared to the third vehicle that I can’t get out of my head they are seen as everyday budget cars.
So what is this vehicle then? Well here it is, what you are looking at is a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti. This gorgeous piece of Scuderia Ferrari motorsport history is the last of four examples ever produced by Ferrari and it is among only three surviving examples that we know of. So it is pretty rare then? Well it gets even better, because this exact example has a rich motorsport history too and it was driven by racing legends such as Peter Collins, Sir Stirling Moss and Phill Hill during some of the most prestigious motorsports events the world of motorsport has to offer.
Ferrari 290 MM Sells For $22 Million At Auction" width="300" height="223" srcset="https://enzari2018.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/enzari/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/09173259/20181209_181319-300x223.jpg 300w, https://enzari2018.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/enzari/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/09173259/20181209_181319-121x90.jpg 121w, https://enzari2018.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/enzari/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/09173259/20181209_181319-600x445.jpg 600w, https://enzari2018.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/enzari/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/09173259/20181209_181319.jpg 720w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />This particular Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti was built specifically as a Scuderia Ferrari works racing car and it was used by Scuderia Ferrari for the 1956 and 1957 racing seasons and although it originally started life sporting a small four-cylinder 860 Monza engine, Ferrari decided to outfit this racer with a Tipo 136, 290 S twelve cylinder engine for the 1957 racing season. The larger twelve cylinder was needed at the time and ever since Ferrari race cars have been powered by large twelve cylinder engines.
Engines aside, this particular 290 MM by Scaglietti has a rich racing history as I mentioned earlier in this article. When I say rich racing history I really do mean it, because this Prancing Horse took part in legendary motorsport events such as the Mille Miglia, which saw driver Peter Collins and this 290 MM finish the race in 2nd place. Unfortunately, in 1957 this 290 MM was sold by Ferrari to noted NART client Jan de Vroom, The first event that this 290 MM took part in after being sold to Jan de Vroom was the Swedish Grand Prix, unfortunately it wasn’t a very good event for the 290 MM as it was forced to retire from the race after an accident on lap 23.
After sustaining serious damage at the Swedish Grand Prix, this 290 MM was sent back to the Ferrari factory where it was repaired and converted to 250 Testarossa pontoon style nose configuration. Once this 290 MM was repaired, it was shipped to the Bahamas for the Bahamas Speed Week where it was raced by Jan de Vroom to 13th place. After it’s Bahamas outing, this 290 MM went on to finish 1st in class at Watkins Glen with racing legend Dan Gurney behind the wheel before it was sold once again, this time to noted privateer George Reed.
George Reed entered this 290 MM in a handful of events over a three year period, winning his class on at least three different occasions. Soon after, this 290 MM was sold yet again, this time to Harley Cluxton III before it was sold to Luigi Chinetti in 1969. It was then shipped to Chinetti’s facility in Greenwich, Connecticut where it remained in storage for nearly twenty years. When removed from storage in 1982, this 290 MM underwent a partial restoration and was re-sprayed blue and white to match Chinetti’s racing colours. Once the partial restoration was completed, this 290 MM took part in the 1988 Mille Miglia with Luigi Chinetti and his son behind the wheel
This 290 MM was sold by the Chinetti family in 1998 to Ferrari collector and former Microsoft Executive, John Shirley who arranged for this 290 MM to undergo a Concours quality restoration which took around three years to complete. In 2008, this 290 MM was sold yet again and in 2011 it was certified and fully restored and returned to it’s 1957 12 Hours of Sebring race configuration by Ferrari Classiche. Since the restoration was completed in 2015, this factory spec Ferrari 290 MM went on to win at least two awards at the Concours d’Elegance.
So then it is quite apparent that this Ferrari 290 MM has a colourful history, as a result I am extremely glad that it received the care it needed and has since been restored to it’s 1957 race configuration. However, all of this history didn’t come cheap when this 290 MM crossed the auction block on 8 December. After an extensive bidding war between three collectors, this absolutely stunning Ferrari 290 MM eventually sold for an eye watering $22 million. Is it worth that much? Yes, that is all I am going to say.