London – The Mercedes-Benz W196 with which legendary Argentine racing driver Juan Manuel Fangio won the second of his five Formula One world titles was sold Friday at auction for 17.5 million pounds ($26.4 million).
The sum sets a record for a car sold at auction, this one being held on the 20th anniversary of the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, England.
The previous record was racked up by a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype, which was knocked down for $16.4 million in 2011.
Fangio drove the W196 in the 1954 and 1955 seasons.
The Mercedes was acquired by a private buyer who put in his bid over the phone, auctioneer Bonhams said.
"We always knew that it was a very, very important car," James Knight, group motoring director at Bonhams, said of the W196.
The vehicle was also driven by Karl Kling, a teammate of Fangio's, in the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, though in that race the prototype suffered a breakdown in the gearbox.
"This is the only Mercedes-Benz W196 in private hands. It is the only surviving Mercedes-Benz W196 to have won not just one Grand Prix, but two," a Bonhams spokesman said.