1-of-3 surviving 1958 Ferrari 355 S is crowned ‘Best of the Best’

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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All of 2019’s ‘Best of Show’ winners set against each other, with this rare Ferrari taking out top honours

The Peninsula Classic’s ‘Best of the Best’ Award is the proverbial world championship of Concours cars. The field consists of eight contestants, and the only way to qualify is to win the coveted ‘Best in Show’ at one of the eight most prestigious Concours events across Europe and America during the preceding year.

The fifth annual Peninsula Classics has just recently come and gone, and saw a stunning 1958 Ferrari 355 S Spyder Scaglietti take home the incredibly sought-after "Best of the Best" award.

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Four of its kind were built, and just three survive today. It was the ultimate expression of the era’s front-engined Ferrari racing spyder, featuring a 4.0lt quad-cam V12 breathing through six dual-42mm Weber carburettors and producing 290kW. Its sister car was the first car to average over 200km/h at the 1957 Le Mans 24Hr, and could reach a top speed of 300km/h.

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The car qualified for this year’s Peninsula Classic by winning the Cavallino Classic Concorso d’Eleganza in Florida back in January 2019. The big win comes after the 355 S Spyder qualified for the award the previous year, after winning the Best in Show award at Villa d’Este back in 2018. Last year however, it was beat out by a 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta.

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This particular car was displayed at the New York International Motor Show back in 1959, and won three-straight SCCA races that year with Ferrari’s North American Distributor, as part of the North American Racing Team.

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The original motor blew in 1960, and was sent back to the Ferrari factory to assess costs of repair. It was deemed too costly an exercise at the time, and the car was left unwanted and unclaimed at a New York Customs facility for over a year.

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The car was eventually claimed, and the blown engine was separated from the chassis, replaced with a competition engine from a Ferrari 250 GT SWB.

It would be 15 years until the original engine was finally reunited with the car by its then-owner Rob Lamplough of Great Britain.

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The car later went under the hammer at Christie’s Pebble Beach auction in 1990, receiving a high-bid of US$9 million. The bid deemed ‘inadequate’ and was refused, and then the collector car bubble burst with the car sold eight years later to telecom entrepreneur Bruce McCar, for just US$5.5 million. McCaw raced the car at various Monterey Historics over the next decade, before selling it to its current owner, Andreas Mohringer. 

Mohringer restored the car to its original North American Racing Team colours since taking ownership around 2008. The big question is: how much is it worth today?

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Well back in 2016, another of the three survivors was the subject of an intense bidding war at Artcurial’s Retromobile auction, where prominent European soccer players Lionell Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo battled over the rare ‘red-head’ to the tune of AU$52 million dollars!

A far cry from being left unwanted in a customs facility over a $900 storage fee.

 

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