Last July 12, British auction house Bonhams conducted an auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. All eyes were glued to the car under lot number 320 – a 1954 Mercedes-Benz type W 196 R Grand Prix single seat racing car, the original Juan Manuel Fangio winning grand prix car. It is the only post-war Silver Arrow race car in private ownership. As the hammer fell at 17.5 Million GBP, it set a world record price for an auction car. The mystery however, was the identity of the unidentified telephone bidder who paid a total of 20,896,800 GBP (approximately US$ 31.6 million) including the premium due to the auction house and other related fees.
This historically important race car propelled the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow to victory as Juan Manuel Fangio won the German and Swiss Grand Prix races in 1954. With these victories, Fangio was said to have paved the way his first Formula 1 World Championship title with Mercedes-Benz. The year 1954 was also a significant milestone as it marked the successful return of Mercedes-Benz into Grand Prix racing with the W 196 R race cars.
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