The man himself may have passed, but the legend of Niki Lauda lives on through the machines that bore him to glory. Cars like the complex Ferrari 312T that Lauda drove on his way to the 1975 Formula One Drivers' Championship, an Antikythera mechanism of a race car with a transverse gearbox and a flat-12 engine from the people who know flat-12 engines. When such a thing crosses the auction block decades later, like Chassis #022 will during Gooding & Company's Pebble Beach Auctions in August, it's fair to wonder whether the old car's still got it. Well, wonder no more.
Gooding & Company was kind enough to pass along this exclusive video of the 1975 Ferrari 312T prancing around The Ridge Motorsports Park in Washington State, looking and sounding as if it had driven through a time warp, ready to do battle with the McLaren M23 or the Brabham BT44 of Lauda's runners-up for the championship that year. Chassis #022 was his mount for the French Grand Prix win, so this car is no practice model. It's a race-run purebred.
The clips are interspersed with race footage of Lauda running the car in 1975 to drive home the fact that the lucky, deep-pocketed buyer of this car will have the chance to be the star of literally any open track day on the planet. And yes, of course, there's that sound.
The 312T arrived just in the nick of time for Scuderia Ferrari, with young Lauda and the team on their heels following a string of heartbreaking mechanical failures in the 1974 312B3. The better weight balance provided by the transverse gearbox, its improved aerodynamics, and the 500+ horsepower flat-12 engine carried Lauda to five victories in 1975 en route to the championship. Variations on the the 312T would propel Ferrari drivers to 27 race victories, three Drivers' Championships, and four Constructors' Championships before the platform's retirement in 1980.
Having survived the F1 gauntlet, Chassis #022 passed through a few different collections over the years. Its most recent owner, described as a "prominent American collector," finally gave the car its due with a full restoration that brought the 312T back to its former might. You'd expect something of this caliber and quality to be on the pricey side, and you'd be right. Presale estimates peg this car going for between six and eight million dollars.