Monterey

18-19 August 2017

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Lot 252

1954 Ferrari 500/735 Mondial Spider by Pinin Farina

  • Chassis no. 0448 MD
  • Engine no. 0448 MD

$4,000,000 - $5,500,000

To be auctioned on Saturday, August 19, 2017


Please note that Internet bidding is not available for this lot. Interested parties that are unable to attend the sale may register to bid by telephone or place a commission bid online at rmsothebys.com. Furthermore, bidding on this lot requires a special registration process to be completed no later than 48 hours in advance of the sale. Please contact Client Services at +1 519 352 4575 or clientservices@rmsothebys.com to register your interest.

  • Seldom shown since its days in competition
  • Known history with single ownership for nearly two decades
  • Campaigned successfully in California in the 1950s
  • Believed to be fitted with a 735 2.9-liter, four-cylinder engine


While the 500 Mondial and 750 Monzas are generally always at the forethought of the majority of enthusiasts’ minds when thinking about four-cylinder Ferraris, four-cylinder engines of other displacements also found their way into some of Ferrari’s sports racers. A number of different four-cylinder engines were being experimented with by Ferrari in the early to mid-1950s, one being the 735 engine. Making its debut in 1953, this new engine had a displacement of 2.9 liters and was fitted with dual-overhead camshafts and twin Weber 50DCOA/3 carburetors, making it capable of producing 225 bhp at 6,800 rpm.

Completed by the factory in October of 1954, chassis number 0448 MD was born as a 500 Mondial, the 12th of a total of 13 Pinin Farina Spiders built, placing it in the first series of cars. It was sold new to Anthony “Tony” Parravano of Inglewood, California. However, before leaving the factory, the car is believed to have been fitted with a 735 engine, for reasons that are presently unknown. Both the stampings on the engine and chassis frame match, but are of a non-typical font. This engine would, however, have been a welcome upgrade to 0448 MD. Thanks to its larger cubic capacity by almost a liter, it would add roughly 75 horsepower to the car’s overall output, making for an instantly discernable jump in performance.

Parravano quickly made himself known as an entrant of numerous exotic Italian sports cars in Californian racing circles, and in the events where his 735 Mondial was raced, it consistently proved to be at the front of the pack. In February 1955, at Willow Springs, it placed 4th Overall and 1st in Class with Bob Drake at the wheel. In March of 1956, at the same venue, 0448 MD was driven to a 3rd place finish by Pat O’Connor.

The car was listed for sale in Motoracing magazine by Tony Parravano in April of 1957, but it appears to have not been sold by him, nor was it actively raced, over the course of the next three years. Parravano eventually sold the car to a friend, Javier Valesquez in Mexico City, in the spring of 1960. Curiously, around April of 1960, Parravano was in trouble with the IRS and disappeared on 8 April of that year, never to be heard from again. Some cars still remained in his custody, and were later sold by the U.S. government.

Valesquez was the director and organizer of the Mexican Grand Prix, and upon purchasing the car, it is noted that he removed its rollbar, yet the holes for the bodywork were not patched in and remained as-is. Valesquez retained ownership of 0448 MD for the following 12 years, eventually selling it to noted Ferrari collector Robert N. Dusek of Solebury in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. At this time, the car was missing its aluminum passenger seat cover, and Dusek sourced one from Charles Betz in California. Dusek would go on to own the car for more than two decades, selling the car in 1999 through a broker who in turn traded it to its current custodian.

Offered publically for the first time in 18 years, the car has been seldom seen since leaving the race track in the late 1950s, making it hugely eligible for historic racing and concours events following a restoration. Chassis number 0448 MD, a fascinating example of a rare four-cylinder Ferrari, offers much greater performance over the much more prevalent 500 Mondial, and would certainly be a much-in-demand machine wherever it goes.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more