Dead celebrities are worth more than live ones, especially when it comes to memorabilia — it’s sad but true.
It’s not surprising then the Ferrari campaigned by Niki Lauda to the 1975 Formula 1 Championship is expected to fetch up to $8 million.
Lauda, one of the all time greats of Grand Prix, died at the age of 70 last month.
He is probably best remembered for the fiery crash that disfigured him in 1976 at the Nurburgring, and also left him with ongoing health problems.
It was this 1975 Ferrari 312T that reinstated Ferrari as a dominant force in Formula 1 and became one of the most successful grand prix cars in history.
Gooding & Company, the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, describes the car as one of the most significant and iconic F1 racing cars ever offered for public sale.
“The Ferrari 312T is among the most important and dominant Grand Prix models in the marque’s celebrated history,” Specialist at Gooding & Company, Hans Wurl, said.
“Never before has a 312T been presented at auction, and this example, having been an integral part in legendary Austrian driver Niki Lauda’s championship win, makes this a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“This is a consignment several years in the making, and it is a truly rare chance to acquire a Formula One car of this significance.”
The 312T presented here, chassis 022, is one of just five of the evolutionary “transversale” Grand Prix cars built by Ferrari for the 1975 season.
Designed by Mauro Forghieri, it features a number of design changes from its 312B3 predecessor, including the transverse mounted gearbox that is reflected in the “T” designation of the car’s name.
This new design positioned the gearbox ahead of the rear axle to give a lower polar moment of inertia for improved cornering.
The front of the 312T’s bodywork was also narrower, which improved airflow around the car and into the radiators.
The 312T continued to employ Ferrari’s dominant and reliable flat-12 engine, which outperformed its competitors at 373kW (500bhp).
Over its career, variants of the 312T won 27 races, four Constructors’ and three Drivers’ Championships, becoming one of the most successful models in the history of Formula 1.
Lauda was determined and more focused than ever to avoid a repeat of his previous year’s results, and had an extremely hands-on role with the development of the 312T.
He comprehensively tested the car during the off-season in an effort to bring Ferrari back to its winning ways.
During the 1975 season, the 312T competed in 14 races between January and October and is considered to be the Austrian’s most accomplished year.
He began his successful campaign in chassis 022 with a victory in the non-championship 1975 BRDC International Trophy held at Silverstone.
He went on to win the French Grand Prix, place second in the Dutch Grand Prix and finish third at the German Grand Prix — all behind the wheel of 022.
In total, Lauda qualified in pole position in all five championship races in which he drove 022, and his efforts in this chassis significantly contributed to both his and the Prancing Horse’s 1975 F1 world championship – Ferrari’s first title since 1964.
Additionally, the car was driven on two occasions by Scuderia Ferrari teammate Clay Regazzoni and, following a single outing at the 1976 South African Grand Prix, was retired from racing.
During the 1980s, this 312T was acquired by noted French collector Jacques Setton, who owned the car for nearly two decades.
It was later sold to John Bosch of the Netherlands and is now being offered from a prominent American collection, where it has resided since 2008.
Beautifully restored by the current owner, this 312T was refinished in its Rosso Corsa livery by Byers Custom and Restoration and had all mechanical components rebuilt by the Ferrari experts at Dennison International.
Following its uncommonly well-detailed restoration, this important Ferrari was shown at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance where it finished third in its class.
An extraordinary Formula One car with one of the most successful and revered drivers of the era at the wheel, this Ferrari 312T is certain to be a highlight in what promises to be an unforgettable sale.
The car will be auctioned at Pebble Beach Equestrian Centre, corner of Stevenson Drive and Portola Road, Pebble Beach, Calif, Friday and Saturday, August 16 and 17.