Customs & Classics
An incredibly rare race-winning Ferrari from the 1950s is tipped to set a world record when it goes to auction later this week.
The 1954 Ferrari 4.9-litre 375-Plus sports-racing two-seat spider competizione is one of only four racing versions built and can boast victories at Le Mans and Silverstone in 1954.
Coachwork around the V12 engine which pushes the car to a top speed of 281 kmh is by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina.
The vehicle is expected to go for around £10 million (NZ$19.5m) which would be a world record for a racing Ferrari at auction.
Auctioneers Bonhams described the car as an "outstanding example of the biggest-engined, most powerful and most important sports-racing Ferrari model built purely for works team use at the outset of the 1954 International motor racing season".
Throughout the early stages of its racing career, the Ferrari was driven by Umberto Maglioli, JoseFroilan Gonzalez and Paolo Marzotto.
It was then sold into American hands, being campaigned in Sports Car Club of America, Bahamas Speed Week and Cuban events 1955-57 by Kleenex millionaire Jim Kimberly and Howard Hively.
The car was sold to Karl Kleve, a collector of old and interesting cars, in 1958. The vehicle's engine was removed, being sold off around 1970, while the remainder of the vehicle fell into disrepair, languishing on a woodland lot and even had a tree growing through its empty engine bay at one stage.
The car was removed from the land in 1989 and acquired by a French buyer for around $50,000 only for the issue of ownership and various parts to head into a tortuous legal battle that has only been fully resolved in the past few years.
Now owned by the family of Jacques Swaters, a renowned Ferrari dealer and collector who died three years ago, the car now has it's original V12 engine re-installed while meticulous restoration of the rest of the vehicle has been completed.