1990 Ferrari 641/2

1990 Ferrari 641/2 1990 Ferrari 641/2 1990 Ferrari 641/2
Chassis #: 120
Sold for $990,000 at 2015 Gooding & Company - Arizona.
It would be the last season in which 'Il Leone' would delight the Tifosi driving one of Scuderia Ferrari's beautiful open-wheelers. And though the season would be filled with its disappointments, Mansell, as usual, would provide some truly memorable moments while behind the wheel of the Ferrari 641.

It was supposed to be a match made in heaven. Nigel Mansell had come to Ferrari after a couple of difficult years with the struggling Williams team. Nigel was at the top of his game and appeared poised to join the ranks of Formula One World Champions.

It couldn't have started out much better. A victory on debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix would give the Scuderia fans visions of grandeur. Ferrari was still impatiently waiting for its first Drivers' World Champion since Jody Scheckter a few years earlier.

Unfortunately, Ferrari would struggle with unreliability throughout the season, and this dampened the spirit somewhat. It would only get worse the following season.

Paired with Alain Prost, Mansell was no longer the top man at Ferrari. Add to that the unreliability that seemed to plague his season and it wouldn't be too long before the Englishman considered retirement from Formula One very seriously.

But Mansell was Mansell in 1990. There were flashes of brilliance, that fighting spirit that would eventually lead to him becoming World Champion in 1992. Still, it would require Nigel summoning every bit of strength of character and will to make it happen.

Three retirements in the first four races of the season would be difficult to swallow, but this would be tempered slightly by a 3rd place result at the Canadian Grand Prix in June of that year. But then came Mexico City.

In the first half of the Mexican Grand Prix, Nigel was practically nowhere to be found. However, he would systematically move up the running order and would be following the McLaren of Gerhard Berger going into the last lap of the race. Despite closing on the McLaren, a 2nd place result seemed just out of reach. But that is when Mansell would reach deep down within himself and demonstrate the courage that had made him beloved with fans the world-over and especially all throughout Italy.

Heading into the very quick Peraltada, Mansell would seemingly pull off the impossible sweeping around Berger on the outside to steal 2nd place away from the McLaren driver. It would be one of only a couple highlights Nigel would enjoy over the course of the season.

The other highlight of the season would come at the wheel of this car, chassis 120. The seventh of eight built over the course of the season, this chassis would be completed and would first see service as a spare in July of that year. Its first race would not come until the end of the month when Nigel used the car in the German Grand Prix. Sadly, the car would not make it to the finish of its first race, but it would certainly better itself in its next outing.

Mansell would take to the wheel of 120 for the Portuguese Grand Prix. Often Nigel performed his best when his back was against the wall, and, this certainly was the case going into that weekend as it had been announced Ferrari had signed Jean Alesi to replace him for 1991. And what was Nigel's response? Leaning on the 3.5-liter V12 Tipo 036 engine, and its 685bhp, he would power his way to the pole.

During the race, Mansell would slip down to 3rd place in the early going. However, he would use his seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox and engine to good use applying pressure upon those ahead of him on the road. Approaching the 50th lap of the race, Nigel had already been relentlessly pressuring Aryton Senna. Constantly pressuring the Brazilian, there was no denying the Englishman.

Finally, Mansell would slip by Senna for the lead and the victory. This win in Estoril would kick off a streak of sorts for Nigel in his final few races for Ferrari. The victory would be followed by a 2nd place at the Spanish Grand Prix and then another 2nd place in the Australian Grand Prix to end the season.

Sold in 1991 to a Michael Gabel, chassis 120 would suffer an accident that would result in the car being repaired by Ferrari in Maranello. A decade later, the car would be set loose on the famed Nurburgring as part of the Ferrari Racing Days held at the epic circuit.

Over the next few years the Formula One racer would change hands a couple of times. In 2006, the car would receive Ferrari Classiche Certification though it still awaits its famed 'Red Book'.

Offered for sale through Gooding & Company's 2015 Arizona auction, the 1990 Ferrari 641/2 would be one of the highlights of the event drawing a good deal of interest before the auction. Estimated to garner between $800,000 and $1,100,000, the race-winning Ferrari would not disappoint the crowd as the final sale price would be a healthy $990,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2015

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