Juan Manuel Fangio's 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 is set to go under the hammer this July, and industry experts are expecting the Benz to potentially set new auction records.
The example that will be sold by Bonhams at an auction being held at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed is one of only nine surviving W196 racers that are known to be in existence, and is also said to be the only W196 outside of a private collection.
Described by Bonhams as being a 'farm find', and claimed to have been hidden away in a currently undisclosed location for the last thirty or so years, this particular version – chassis number 00006/54 in open-wheeled 'Type Monza' specification – was driven by the great Fangio to victory at the 1954 German and Swiss Grand Prix.
Those two wins amount to half of his victories with Mercedes that season, and a third of his F1 race wins in 1954 (for the first three races of the nine race season, Fangio drove for Maserati before switching to Mercedes).
His dominance in the W196 paved the way for the legendary Argentinian to claim his second World Drivers' Championship crown.
The W196 was also important to F1 from a technological standing, in that it brought new innovations to the sport, such as direct fuel injection and all-round independent suspension.
The W196 also formed the backbone of the 1955 300SLR race car, which would famoulsy set the fastest ever time around the 1,000 mile long Mille Miglia route at the hands of Sir Stirling Moss.
Bonhams describes the W196 to be in "as found condition", which means the car will come with all the dirt and dust it's accumulated over its three decades in storage.
This does mean, though, that the Mercedes is perhaps the most 'original' W196 on the planet, and – when combined with the racer's overall impact on motor racing, its rarity and the Fangio connection – as such is expected to be sold for a lofty sum of money when it goes under the hammer.
Indeed, industry experts reckon it's not too optimistic to expect this W196 to fetch £5,000,000.
According to The Telegraph, one Bonhams insider reckons it's not unreasonable to expect the car to go for double that, which – if it's auctioned off for that amount – would make this W196 one of the most expensive Mercedes-Benz cars ever to be sold at auction.