A CLASSIC Ferrari racing car, formerly run by the Italian factory team and driven by legendary British racer Mike Hawthorn, is set to sell at auction next month for between €4.5m and €6.5m (£3.9m-5.6m).
The 1953 Ferrari 625 Targa Florio two-seat spider by Carrozzeria Vignale is one of only three of the 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder twin-overhead camshaft 625 Targa Florio cars to have been built.
Enzo Ferrari, the company’s founder, wasn’t terribly enamoured by the 625 model and never showed enthusiasm for the original Autodromo bodywork, according to Bonhams, which is handling the sale. Ferrari thus employed coachbuilder Alfredo Vignale to design a new body, and the result was the ultra-compact spider.
Hawthorn drove the car in its debut race meeting at Monza, despite arriving fresh from a Formula One race, finishing fourth in both of the two heats.
Bonhams says that after Monza, the body was remodelled again to include a reduced radiator grille that remains to this day.
Racing duties were then handed over to Umberto Maglioli, who drove in 10 Formula One Grands Prix and won of the “gruelling” Carrera Panamericana in 1954.
Ferrari team-mate Paolo Marzotto won that Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti race in a 12-cylinder 250MM Vignale spider but he did it begrudgingly, as he had wanted to drive the four-cylinder 625 TF. Having tried it out, Marzotto believed it was the ideal car to take victory overall, as it was “light, agile and with enormous torque”.
Enzo Ferrari had insisted on the 625 being driven by Maglioli, though, who brought the car home in third place behind a Lancia D20.
Following its Italian racing career, the car was owned by five South American owners in Brazil and Argentina, where it competed five times in the 1,000km of Buenos Aires and the 500 Miles of Argentina.
In the mid 1960s, the car returned to Italy where it fell into disrepair before being discovered in 1974 by Franco Lombardi, in a scrapyard in Naples.
Lombardi sent it to Modena where it underwent a complete restoration before returning to race in the Mille Miglia four times, in 1984, 1986, 1989 and 1990.
After another complete restoration, this time by Carrozzeria Nova Rinascente near Padova, in the early 2000s, the 625 TF was raced by its current owner at the 2006 Monaco Historic Grand Prix.
Bonhams describes it as “a racing car par excellence: ex-works, driven by one of the most celebrated British racing drivers of all time, and fastidiously restored.”
The car goes on sale at Les Grandes Marques du Monde à Monaco on May 11, alongside some other remarkable machines, including two ex-Ayrton Senna Formula One cars: his 1984 Toleman-Hart TG184, with which he entered his first Monaco GP, and the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A, in which Senna took the last of his record six Monaco GPs victories.
Also on sale will be Ronnie Peterson’s career-launching Formula 3 car, in which he won the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix support race, a 1959 BMW 507 roadster previously owned by HRH Prince Constantine II of Greece and valued between £1,8m and £2.2m, and a 1957 Mercedes 300 SL Roadster, expected to fetch nearly £1m.