Nigel Mansell’s F1 collection to be auctioned in Monaco
RM Sotheby’s will offer Nigel Mansell’s car collection at its Monaco auction on 14 May. The collection contains two of the most significant Formula 1 cars to be offered at auction, including the 1989 Ferrari 640, in which Mansell won two races that year, plus the 1991 Williams FW14, chassis no. 5, in which Mansell won five grand prix and the car that has become known the world-over as the British GP winning ‘Senna Taxi’.
The auction house said there will rarely, if ever, be another opportunity to acquire two completely original Formula 1 cars directly from their World Champion owner and driver, who has cherished the cars from the day they were retired from the track, and which have been preserved in ‘time-capsule’ condition.
“The totally untouched Ferrari 640 and Williams FW14 represent the ultimate acquisition opportunity for Formula 1 and motorsport fans across the globe,” said RM Sotheby’s. “A V-12 Grand Prix Ferrari is perhaps the ultimate prize for any serious collector of great Formula 1 cars. The 1989 Ferrari 640, chassis no. 109, is one such car. Its place in history can’t be underestimated, as it is also the very first of the Ferrari F1 cars to be equipped with a semi-automatic gearbox.”
In February 1989, chassis no. 109 was revealed to the press as the first Ferrari team car to be announced without Enzo Ferrari, and it became the first chassis entrusted to the newly signed Mansell. After difficult pre-season testing where the car had proved to be unreliable, it was with little expectation that Mansell took to the track at Jacarepaguá, Rio de Janeiro, on 26 March 1989. Mansell qualified in sixth place with teammate Gerhard Berger securing third spot. In a highly competitive field featuring Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, and Nelson Piquet, Mansell fought his way through to the front of the field and won his debut race for Ferrari, scoring victory over Prost by more than seven seconds.
While the car proved to be less reliable as the season progressed, chassis 109 won another race in Hungary after qualifying in twelfth position. Mansell also recorded the fastest lap and pulled a highly memorable pass on Ayrton Senna on its way to the front of the field. Mansell was able to keep chassis 109, with the car shipped to his car collection in January 1990, accompanied by the wheels and tyres with which it crossed the finish line at the end of its career. The car is complete and is unlikely to have had a nut or bolt touched on it since the last Ferrari mechanic put down his tools in 1989. The car is estimated to bring between €2,500,000 €5,000,000 (A$3,740,000 to A$7,480,000).
To motorsport fans, the Adrian Newey-designed Williams FW14 needs little introduction, as it heralded a new era of technical sophistication and dominance, culminating by winning the World Championship in 1992. In 1991, the Williams FW14 proved it had the pace to beat any car on the grid, and Mansell demonstrated he had the speed to beat the best drivers in the world.
Mansell first took the wheel of FW14-5 at Magny-Cours, where he secured his first Formula 1 victory of 1991. That was soon followed by pole position and victory at the British Grand Prix, where FW14-05 dominated the race, finishing 42.293 seconds ahead of Gerhard Berger in his McLaren MP4/6. Ayrton Senna crossed the line in fourth but ran out of fuel on lap 58. During his victory lap, Mansell famously stopped on the circuit, and Senna climbed aboard. This is, arguably, one of the most iconic moments in Formula 1 history, and FW14-5 provides the opportunity to own a piece of motorsport folklore.
Mansell continued his winning streak in FW14-5 and was victorious at the German Grand Prix, and at Monza finished 16.262 seconds ahead of Senna. At that stage in the 1991 drivers’ championship, only 18 points separated Mansell and Senna, with four races to run. At the Spanish Grand Prix, Mansell and Senna fought viscously in the early stages of the race. Separated by millimetres on the main straight, the pair created another iconic motorsport image before Mansell took first place.
At the end of the 1991 season, Williams gifted Mansell FW14-5 in recognition of the success, and like the Ferrari, it remained in his possession for more than 30 years. Although without its Renault V-10 engine, which was retained by Renault at the end of the season, the car presents an astonishing opportunity to acquire one of the most revered Formula 1 cars of the modern era, direct from its driver It is estimated to bring between €1,500,000 and €3,000,000 (A$2,244,000 and A$4,488,000).
The collection also features another racing car in which Mansell tasted victory. The 2005 Reynard 2KI Grand Prix Masters Car, which was twice driven to victory by Mansell in the 2006 Grand Prix Masters Series. Based on the 2000 Reynard 2KI Champ Car and powered by a 3.5-litre V-8 engine producing in excess of 650hp (485kW), the series of identical cars were used during a single-constructor motor racing series launched in 2005. The series featured former Formula 1 racing drivers, aiming to bring the greats of motor racing back together to compete on a level playing field. With Mansell’s famous ‘red 5’ on the front, he won from pole position at Kyalami in South Africa, as well as finishing first at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Added to the Nigel Mansell Collection following the conclusion of the racing season, the car remains in complete, preserved condition. It is estimated to fetch between €100,000 and €150,000 (A$149,600 and A$224,400).
A 1990 iC Modulo M89, chassis no. 001, was gifted to Nigel Mansell at the end of the 1992 season, having first been driven by him in the Monza paddock after qualifying on pole position at the 1992 Italian Grand Prix. This was the first Modulo produced and had previously been owned by its designer, Carlo Lamattina. Powered by a BMW K75S motorcycle engine, this rare vehicle is capable of reaching 200 km/h. Part of the Nigel Mansell Collection for nearly 30 years, it is presented with a letter from Lamattina, a period brochure, and photographs of Mansell with the car at Monza. It is estimated to fetch between €5,000 and €25,000 (A$7,480 and A$37,400).
A 1991 Birkin 7 Sprint is a South African-made kit car based on the Lotus Seven. The car on offer was imported into the UK in 1991 and owned from new by Nigel Mansell, who enjoyed fair use of it, though for a large part of its life, the vehicle was kept in storage as part of the collection. It is estimated to bring between €10,000 and €15,000. (A$ 14960 and A$22,440).
The collection will be offered at the Monaco sale, which is scheduled to take place on 14 May, alongside the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique.