The car that took five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio to the second of his Formula 1 world titles commanded a truly astonishing price tag at an auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend.
The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 single-seater sold for a record-breaking figure of £19,601,500, including taxes and commission, making it one of the most expensive cars ever sold at auction.
The previous world record was set by a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype which went for $16.4 million (£10.8 million) in 2011.
Robert Brooks, Bonhams Chairman, said: "It was a personal privilege to preside over the sale of the Mercedes-Benz W196, which is not only one of the most significant motor cars of the 20th century, but also the most important historic Grand Prix racing car ever offered for sale."
Doug Nye, racing historian, said: "If he were here today Fangio would shake his head and smile his slow smile. "He was a humble man, originally a mechanic from a potato town in Argentina – and he never forgot his roots. "As a driver, he was simply a genius. As a man he had no enemies. He was universally loved, even by those he regularly beat on track. No standard-setting sportsman could have a better epitaph."
The previous record was £2,251,520 set in 2012.