James Dean Lusted After John vNeumann’s Ferrari 500 Mondial

James Dean Lusted After John vNeumann’s Ferrari 500 Mondial

This 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series I Spider, 1 of 12, will go to auction at Bonhams on 17 January in Scottsdale, Arizona

The 500 Mondial is a very rare 1950’s Ferrari, and this example was admired by James Dean back in the day.

The  1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series I Spider has an impressive pedigree too.

It was 1st owned by playboy and Dominican Republic diplomat Porfirio Rubirosa, who, at the time, was dating Zsa Zsa Gabor, and he often raced the Spider in Santa Barbara, California.

After Amb. Rubirosa, the Mondial that car went sports car dealer John vNeumann, who is credited with bringing Porche and Volkswagen to California.

Mr. vNeumann raced the Spider at Santa Barbara, where James Dean, while showing off his Porche Spyder, became an immediate fan and was notably photographed checking out the retro ride.

While under Mr. vNeumann’s ownership, the car was also raced in Palm Springs by a young roadster who would go on to become of the most famous names in motor-sports: Phil Hill.

The 1954 500 Mondial Spider is famous in its own right.

The early 1950 Ferraris were the 1st time in racing history that designers began blurring the line between race cars and street-legal cars.

The Ferrari 500 paved the way for other carmakers to do the same, and this ’54 Mondial has continued its peak performance.

This blue roadster was restored by Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE)  Classiche department in Modena, Italy, and then went on to place First in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, as well as winning the Platinum Award for Best Restored Ferrari from the Ferrari Club of America and the Phil Hill Trophy for Best Competition Ferrari by the Ferrari Club of America.

What the car will hammer for is anybody’s guess, but earlier this year a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold at an RM Sotheby’s auction in California for $48.4-M, the highest auction price ever for a car.

Stay tuned…

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