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Carroll Shelby helped Ford beat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but he wasn’t always on the American side of the rivalry. He won more races in a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider than any other car and the example in which he competed will be auctioned in August.
The up for auction 410 Sport, chassis number 0598CM, was developed for the 1955 edition of the Carrera Panamericana, a five-day rally that took participants across some of Mexico’s most unforgiving terrain. According to auction house RM Sotheby’s, it was given a short wheelbase to better handle rough roads, and it was powered by a 5.0-liter V12 that produced nearly 400 horsepower, thanks in part to a dual-spark ignition and three double chokes -Weber 46 DCF carburetor. It was one of the most impressive Ferrari models to date; The fact that the company was less than a decade old at the time (it was founded in 1947) made the 410 Sport even more stunning.
Ferrari built two examples of the 410 Sport for the 1955 Carrera Panamericana, but the race was canceled after 83 spectators were killed and 180 injured at the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans. The crash marked a turning point in racing history; Above all, Mercedes-Benz stopped racing until 1989. Not ready to throw in the towel just yet, Ferrari had two newly developed cars on the grid. Both 410s started in January 1956 at the 1,000 kilometers from Buenos Aires in Argentina. Notably, famous pilot Juan Manuel Fangio drove 0598CM and asked Ferrari to install the gas pedal between the clutch and brake pedals (it has since been moved back). .
Ohio native John Edgar bought 0598CM from Ferrari and put Carroll Shelby at the wheel. Shelby won the first race he drove in 1956 and by 1958 had 11 wins and 19 podiums (out of 40 races). “That was the best Ferrari I’ve ever driven,” he reportedly said. Edgar later began buying Maserati cars, although some of the other drivers who drove for him continued to drive the 410.
Luigi Chinetti, a racing driver who became known as the first official Ferrari importer in the United States, bought a Scaglietti-bodied 0598CM from Edgar and raced briefly. He kept it in his collection until he sold it to a collector named Howard Cohen in 1980. It has been restored and sold several times since; It has also competed in classic car rallies and won a class prize at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Shelby wrote on the petrol tank in 2006: “Mr. Ferrari told me this was the best Ferrari he ever built”.
RM Sotheby’s will be auctioning this unique piece of Shelby and Ferrari history in August in Monterey, California. The car will be sold with a bill of sale, the first place trophy for Shelby’s first win in it, and even a handful of congratulatory notes from Enzo Ferrari. RM didn’t provide an estimate ahead of the auction, but we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this 410 Sport retails for an eight-figure sum.
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