This completely destroyed and rusted shell of a rare Ferrari race car was sold for the price of 23 Tesla Model S cars.

This lump of rusted metal placed on a wheeled platform might look like trash to an untrained eye but someone just paid a jaw-dropping $1.9 million for it. Shocked, right? Why on earth will someone shell out almost $2 million on something that has the appearance of a car that has been rotting away at a scrapyard for decades? Well, it’s the legacy of the machine that makes it worth every single penny, even if it is in a completely destroyed state. This decrepit shell once used to be a rare 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider Series 1 car, the second of just 13 that were made.

The Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider at the Mille Miglia in 1954

The Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider Series 1 was a lightweight race car with a four-cylinder engine and it was designed to perform well on technical circuits that lacked long straights. This particular example, chassis number 0406 MD, was sold by Enzo Ferrari to Franco Cornacchia – one of Ferrari’s earliest Milan-based dealers. Furthermore, the Mondial was raced by Franco Cortese, who is considered one of the “most significant” Ferrari drivers of that era. According to Sotheby’s listing, Cortese raced the Mondial to a 19th overall and 2nd in class finish at the April 1954 Coppa della Toscana.

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After changing hands several times, the Mondial made its way to the United States in 1958 where it continued to race into the ‘60s. It even found a new owner who replaced the original 2-liter inline-four with an American-built V8. However, the extremely rare Ferrari met with an accident in the 1960s and suffered severe fire damage. Eventually, the Mondial then ended up in the hands of Florida real-estate developer and Ferrari collector Walter Medlin in 1978, who kept it in storage for 45 years. A hurricane in 2004 tore through the barn that Medlin used for storing the Mondial alongside 19 other Ferraris. The roof collapsed during the storm, shattering windshields and damaging the bodywork of the rare cars.

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Known as the “Lost and Found collection,” all the 20 rare Ferraris were auctioned by RM Sotheby’s during the Monterey Car Week. “There is no denying that 0406 MD will require a comprehensive restoration to return the car to the condition of its glory days. But for the future caretaker with the proper vision and resources, the journey to renewal promises to be a very rewarding process,” the listing reads. The shell of the Mondial was expected to sell for around $1.6 million, but an undisclosed bidder went straight to $1.875 million. It’s hard to say if the destroyed Ferrari will ever be restored to its former glory because it will be a near-impossible task.

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Written By
Sayan Chakravarty, a Senior Writer at Luxurylaunches, brings over 10 years of automotive journalism expertise. He provides insightful coverage of the latest cars and motorcycles across American and European markets, while also highlighting luxury yachts, high-end watches, and gadgets. An authentic automobile aficionado, his commitment shines through in educating readers about the automotive world. When the keyboard rests, Sayan feeds his wanderlust, traversing the world on his motorcycle.