Even admitting he died two canicule afore I was born, his fable still endures. It’s about as if James Dean’s “Little Bastard” never airtight into that Ford Tudor aback in 1955, a actuality apparent by the agitation afflicted by Bonhams’ accessible archetypal car bargain demography abode on January 17, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Always a barometer of the collector-car market, the January auctions in Arizona set the accent for the year, and Bonhams’ centerpiece is an important Ferrari in which the Hollywood baby was abundantly photographed at a Santa Barbara, Calif. alley chase a year afore address the bitter coil.
It’s the aforementioned 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider, anatomy No. 0438MD, originally purchased by Dominican agent Count Porfirio Rubirosa, whose acceptability as a playboy (he was dating Zsa Zsa at the time) and abecedarian racer far eclipsed his bequest as “ambassador” or declared assassin. The Ferrari was anon awash to a added acclaimed custodian, sports car banker and racer John von Neumann, who was antagonism in Santa Barbara at the aforementioned accident area Dean was additionally antagonism his Porsche Speedster—and was additionally photographed in the ablaze dejected Ferrari. Later, beneath von Neumann’s ownership, a adolescent Phil Hill had his assignment abaft the caster too, accouterment this car with a decidedly acclaimed provenance, all of it abundantly accurate in aeon photographs.
James Dean inspects the dash. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.
The apparatus itself is important, the 11th Mondial of 12 first-series examples (out of 27 total), and a attenuate car by any measure. The agent isn’t Ferrari’s acceptable Lampredi-designed V-12, but rather, one of the engineer’s inline-4 aluminum engines, referred to as a “500,” cogent the displacement of a distinct cylinder. Developing 160 hp at 6,500 rpm, it was a two-liter alarm that accepted absolutely acknowledged in its antagonism class.
One of 27 examples built. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.
Wearing its aboriginal Pinin Farina anatomy corrective the aboriginal blush blue, the car was absolutely adequate in 2013 by Ferrari Classiche at the factory’s centralized facility, accepting the Classiche Red Book Certification and activity on to a chic win at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance. Estimate on request.
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