This Gorgeous Ferrari 500 Mondial Has an Incredible Story

There was a time when you could stumble across an abandoned Ferrari race car and rebuild it yourself. Imagine doing that today.

image
James Lipman/Gooding & Company

Cars are only as interesting the people around them. By that metric, this 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series II must be one of the most interesting cars in the world. For the last 58 years, this gorgeous blue race car has been owned by Rear Admiral Robert Phillips, who brought it back to life in the early 1960s and proceeded to use the hell out of it.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
image
Gooding & Company

The Mondial was Ferrari's first four-cylinder sports car, and it achieved significant competition success. Admiral Phillips' car won its class in the first Venezuelan Grand Prix in 1955, wearing this incredible French blue paint scheme. It also took home a class victory at Sebring the following year.

In a 1959 race, the differential on this car seized, leading its owner to park it. Admiral Phillips found the car in the back of a Rambler dealership in California, bought it, and proceeded to get to work. "I learned auto mechanics on this," Admiral Phillips told Jay Leno in a video on the comedian's YouTube channel.

After he got the car running once again, Admiral Phillips raced his Ferrari a number of times, and even drove it cross-country when he was transferred from a naval base in Oakland, California to Bayonne, New Jersey. When he retired from the Navy in 1988, he began to research the history of the car, and uncovered an incredible story. The car was fully restored between 2000 and 2008, at which point Admiral Phillips became one of the world's foremost experts on the early Ferrari Mondial.

This is only scratching the surface of the story. You really need to hear what Admiral Phillips tells Leno to get the full, incredible picture.

Admiral Phillips is actually selling the car later this month , where it's expected to pull between $5.5 and $7.5 million. We hope its next owner treats it with as much love as Admiral Phillips.

If you can't see the YouTube video above, .

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Vintage