A wise investment? Sure, why not!
Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
A price-tag of £17.5m for a racing car that is nearly 60 years old might seem absurd to some. It is the sort of money that great works of art fetch at auction. But that is exactly how the Mercedes W196 is viewed within the motorsport world.
This car set a new standard in Formula 1, winning nine of 12 races through the 1954 and ’55 seasons, all but one of them at the hands of the Argentine maestro Juan Manuel Fangio. The other went to Stirling Moss.
The W196 isn’t beautiful in the way of, say, a Maserati 250F – the car that Fangio drove to the last of his five world titles – but it has a striking purposefulness about it.
As with all great cars, it also came with innovations – in this case, desmodronic valves and fuel injection.
Add in that Mercedes only competed in F1 for two years in the 1950s, not returning with its own team until 2010, and that this specific example was driven to two wins by a man many still regard as the greatest racing driver that has ever lived, and that price perhaps seems a little more understandable.