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Certainly one of Ferrari’s Earliest Components 1 Automobiles Is Now Up for Grabs

Certainly one of Ferrari’s Earliest Components 1 Automobiles Is Now Up for Grabs

One of the rarest Formula 1 Ferraris from the golden age of grand-prix racing, and a car owned and campaigned by the legendary driver and playboy Alfonso de Portago, is currently on the market. The exquisite 1954 Ferrari Tipo 625 Monoposto is also the sister car to the one that took Italian motorsport hero Alberto Ascari to World Championship titles in both 1952 and 1953.

Owned for the past 21 years by a secretive German collector—rumored to be industrialist Eckard Bluhm—the car is being discreetly offered through the Private Sales department at RM Sotheby’s. Asking price? The auction house declines to say publicly, but notes that such information is available upon request from potential buyers. As a reference point, though, this iconic car had a high-end estimate of $4 million when it was part of the RM Sotheby’s auction during Monterey Car Week in 2022. Yet bidding failed to meet its reserve at the time, and the Prancing Horse returned to its stable.

The 1954 Ferrari Tipo 625 Monoposto being offered through the RM Sotheby’s Private Sales division.

Remi Dargegen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Regarding the vehicle, the official description from RM Sotheby’s states: “It is eligible for some of the most exclusive vintage racing events worldwide, and can expect a warm welcome at premiere concours d’elegance.” As for those racing events, think Goodwood Revival and Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, France’s Le Mans Classic, and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.  

This Tipo 625 began life back in 1952 as one of Enzo Ferrari’s new 500 F2 racers. Ferrari built six factory cars and five customer versions, each featuring a new 2-liter, naturally aspirated inline-four—an engine developed by Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi. It was one of these customer cars that the Belgian national race team Ecurie Francorchamps and its driving force, Ferrari distributor Jacques Swaters, campaigned in 17 races during 1952 and 1953, finishing as high as second in two of them.

A view of the steering wheel and dash of a 1954 Ferrari Tipo 625 Monoposto race car.

Sitting behind the wheel of this car were members of the Ecurie Francorchamps Formula 1 team and, later, renowned driver Alfonso de Portago.

Remi Dargegen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Like most of the surviving 500 F2 cars, the Swaters car was sent back to Ferrari in 1954 to be upgraded to 625 Formula 1 spec. With the upgrade complete, it was then sold to the Marquis Alfonso de Portago Cabeza de Vaca in early 1955.

Portago lived life to the full. Before turning to motorsport, for example, the Spanish aristocrat had competed on his nation’s Olympic bobsled team and participated in Britain’s Grand National horse race, just to name a few of his accomplishments. Tragically, it was in a Ferrari that he died in a horrific accident that also killed his navigator and nine onlookers during the 1957 Mille Miglia. He was just 28 years old. (In the recent Michael Mann film Ferrari, Portago was played by Brazilian actor Gabriel Leone.)

The naturally aspirated inline-four engine inside a 1954 Ferrari Tipo 625 Monoposto.

The naturally aspirated inline-four engine was developed by Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi.

Remi Dargegen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

During the 1955 season, Portago piloted the car on offer during Formula 1 races at Turin, Pau, Bordeaux, and Silverstone, with an eighth-place finish at the Pau Grand Prix his best performance behind its wheel. Late that same year, the Ferrari was bought by British engineer and sports-car builder Donald Healey. He kept it for five years before passing it on to amateur racer Ian Sievewright. In 1967, it was snapped up by Pierre Bardinon for his renowned Mas du Close collection in central France. At one time, Bardinon’s assemblage comprised more than 300 cars from the marque.

In 1983, Bardinon was persuaded to sell the car to fellow French collector Jacques Setton, who kept it for a decade. Subsequent custodians included Brazilian entrepreneur Carlos Monteverde, and British racer David Vine. The latter entered numerous historics races with the example in 2000. In December of that year, it was reportedly purchased by Eckard Bluhm for his famous Cologne-based collection.

Although its price is currently available only upon request, this car carried a high-end estimate of $4 million at auction in 2022, but it was withdrawn when the reserve wasn’t met.

Remi Dargegen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Adding to the vehicle’s immense provenance is its authentication given by Ferrari Classiche in 2022. The Ferrari experts reported that it was indeed stamped with the correct chassis and engine numbers, and that the gearbox was the correct type.

“The 625 F1 is a rare survivor of the model linked to Ferrari’s first Formula 1 World Championship–winning car,” says Jarrett Rothmeier, senior vice president of the RM Sotheby’s Private Sales division. “It would be a truly unique addition to any Ferrari-focused collection.” And as Ferrari looks to expand its Formula 1 legacy (in case you missed it, Lewis Hamilton joins the team in 2025), such early roots as this Tipo 625 Monoposto will only grow in their own importance.

Click here for more photos of this 1954 Ferrari Tipo 625 Monoposto.

A 1954 Ferrari Tipo 625 Monoposto race car.

The 1954 Ferrari Tipo 625 Monoposto being offered through RM Sotheby’s.

Remi Dargegen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Source: Robb Report

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