For most of us, owning a car that once graced a favored bedroom poster or appeared in a beloved book will remain an unattainable dream. But some enthusiasts end up with both the means and the inclination to buy what they want, and there may be no better example of this lucky breed than Fritz Schlumpf.
After earning his fortune, this French textile magnate started buying Bugattis, quickly amassing the world’s largest collection. He then began buying Le Mans winners, Formula 1 cars, and weird and wonderful creations all the way from the very dawn of motoring, nearly 500 automobiles in all. Today, his collection resides in the Cite de l’Automobile museum in Mulhouse, France.
In the last issue, I profiled one of the museum’s 11 Ferraris, a one-of-a-kind 375 MM he purchased from Bao Dai, the former Emperor of Annam. Now, it’s time to look at a different Ferrari, this one a single-seater.
In the museum’s furthest hall sits an impressive lineup of Grand Prix cars, which ends with Robert Kubica’s 2010 Renault R30, contains such historically significant creations as Michael Schumacher’s 1995 World Championship-winning Benetton B195, and includes cars that ran in the very first year of the modern-day World Championship, 1950.
One of the rarest, most interesting, and possibly least-known cars you’ll find here is the ex-Scuderia Espadon 166 F2 (s/n 010). The model is Ferrari’s first purpose-built single-seater (the 125 Grand Prix car was derived from a sports car), while s/n 010 is one only two experimental 2.5-liter V12-powered F1 cars Ferrari ever produced, as well as the only one to win races.
Back in the days before live television broadcasts (and the internet), all forms of motorsport were insanely popular; crowds of over 300,000 spectators weren’t uncommon. With an eye on funding its more serious racing exploits, Scuderia Ferrari made eight F2 cars for privateer teams, a couple of which were works supported.