Fangio’s Museum-Kept Mercedes F1 Car Is Heading to a Miami Car Show

The famous No. 8 Silver Arrow is leaving its permanent home in Stuttgart for a special appearance.

byKristin V. Shaw|
silver racecar vintage
Mercedes-Benz Heritage


In seven Formula 1 seasons, Argentinian driver Juan Manuel Fangio was World Champion five times with four different teams: Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Maserati. Two of those were back-to-back wins for Mercedes-Benz in 1954 and 1955 in a streamlined W 196 R “Silver Arrow.”

That very same Fangio race car will be on display this weekend as part of a curated Mercedes-Benz exhibition at ModaMiami in Florida. Also expected at the Biltmore Hotel are several 300 SL Gullwings, two 300 SL Roadsters, and a Pebble Beach Best in Show 540 K Special Roadster. One of the Roadsters was Fangio's personal car, given to him by Mercedes-Benz when he retired.

Mercedes-Benz Heritage

Only fourteen W 196 R machines were built, including the prototype, and only a handful still exist. Fangio’s championship example was sold at auction in 2013 for nearly $30 million, which Bonhams then said was a record price for any car sold at auction, any F1 car sold, and any Mercedes-Benz sold. Today, only one of those is true; Fangio’s world championship W 196 R retains the title as the most expensive F1 car sold at auction.

Meanwhile, the Silver Arrow soon to be on display in Miami is the one Fangio drove when he won the 1955 Dutch Grand Prix. The Number 8 has a permanent home at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Germany. Fangio was a legend in many ways, so having a chance to see a car that bears his fingerprints is something special.

Born into a working-class family in Italy, Fangio grew up in Argentina, where he started working as a mechanic at age 11. He had incredible stamina and knowledge, and by all accounts was charming and fun to be around. Even when Castro’s rebels in Cuba kidnaped him on the eve of his retirement, he was released unharmed and on good terms with his captors. Only the querulous Enzo Ferrari had beef with Fangio, and that may have been because the popular Argentinian had opted to drive for another manufacturer at the time.

"Fangio did not remain loyal to any marque," Ferrari reportedly said. "And he invariably used every endeavor to ensure that he would always drive the best car available."

This rare gem will be on display at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables from Friday, March 1, through Sunday, March 3 during ModaMiami.

Got a story tip? Send it our way: