F1 icon Fangio's title winning Mercedes-Benz sold for $26.4 mn

The Mercedes-Benz W196 with which legendary Argentine racing driver Juan Manuel Fangio won the second of his five Formula One world titles was sold Friday at auction for 17.5 million pounds ($26.4 million).

The sum sets a record for a car sold at auction, this one being held on the 20th anniversary of the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, England.

The previous record was racked up by a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype, which was knocked down for $16.4 million in 2011.

Fangio drove the W196 in the 1954 and 1955 seasons. Reuters

Fangio drove the W196 in the 1954 and 1955 seasons. Reuters

Fangio drove the W196 in the 1954 and 1955 seasons.

The Mercedes was acquired by a private buyer who put in his bid over the phone, auctioneer Bonhams said.

"We always knew that it was a very, very important car," James Knight, group motoring director at Bonhams, said of the W196.

The vehicle was also driven by Karl Kling, a teammate of Fangio's, in the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, though in that race the prototype suffered a breakdown in the gearbox.

"This is the only Mercedes-Benz W196 in private hands. It is the only surviving Mercedes-Benz W196 to have won not just one Grand Prix, but two," a Bonhams spokesman said.

IANS