In a surprising turn of events, a classic Ferrari shell, ravaged by fire after a crash nearly six decades ago, is set to be sold for a staggering £1.27 million at an upcoming auction. The 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider, stripped of its wheels and interior, remains as a testament to its former glory, now reduced to crumbled metal with a replacement engine.
Once a formidable powerhouse, this vintage red beauty boasted impressive performance figures, including a 0-60mph acceleration in just 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 146mph. Despite its dilapidated state, the Ferrari has been described as an “intriguing restoration project” that holds immense appeal for avid car enthusiasts.
The renowned auction house, RM Sotheby’s, is including the burnt-out Ferrari as part of its Lost and Found collection, aptly named the “Ultimate barn find,” which features a total of 20 cars. This particular model has a rich history, having been used in track races across Europe, including the prestigious Imola Grand Prix in Italy, during the year of its production.
After its racing days, the car was exported to the United States in 1958, where it exchanged hands multiple times. The listing details its journey, mentioning that the Ferrari was sold to Hal Rudow of Washington, who participated in the Evergreen Trophy race at Pacific Raceways in October 1962. A subsequent owner, Stanley Surridge, replaced the original engine with an American V-8, a common practice during that era.
Tragedy struck when the Mondial suffered a crash and subsequent fire damage within the following two years of racing. The Ferrari then changed owners a few more times before eventually ending up in the hands of Walter Medlin by 1978, who acquired the car without an engine. Since then, the burnt-out shell has been carefully preserved in its race-damaged condition, secluded from the collectible Ferrari market for a remarkable 45 years.
Despite its current state, the Ferrari still proudly displays its factory-issued chassis plate and comes accompanied by various components, including a period-correct Mondial engine from another car, rear-axle corners, and a matching-numbers gearbox. Once meticulously refurbished, this spider promises to deliver the thrilling driving experience emblematic of Lampredi’s inline-four engine, which contributed to numerous victories for the Scuderia Ferrari.
RM Sotheby’s CEO, Rob Myers, expressed his enthusiasm for the collection, stating, “While a select group of Ferrari collectors knew about the existence of these extraordinary cars, the rest of the world remained unaware. This represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for enthusiasts to acquire these iconic Ferraris, some of which have participated in renowned races. Most of these lost Ferraris remain untouched, preserving their purity and original condition since the day they were acquired—a true embodiment of the ‘barn find’ concept.”
This auction marks the first time that RM Sotheby’s presents a barn find collection of such magnitude to the market. The estimate for the 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider stands at up to £1.27 million ($1.6 million). Car enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the auction, which is scheduled to take place between August 17 and 19 in Monterey, California, USA. Alongside the burnt-out shell, other notable lots include a rusty 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Speciale by Pinin Farina, expected to fetch up to £1.8 million ($2.3 million), a 1978 Ferrari 512 BB Competizione priced at £2.2 million ($2.8 million), and a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy listed at £1.98 million ($2.5 million).