1954 Mercedes-Benz 170


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The story of how our vendor, an Argentine businessman named Martin Varrone came to own the ‘Fangio Service Truck' is a fascinating tale. In 1987 at just 17 years old Martin started working in a Soda factory with his brother. His task was to distribute crates of fizzy drink in Palermo, a suburb of Buenos Aires and one of his clients was Juan Manuel Fangio. An idol of the young Martin Varrone, Fangio used to receive the delivery of pop direct to his home on Nicaragua Street through which Martin met the family and formed a friendship with the great racing driver.

By 1993 the ambitious Martin wanted to set up his own Trucking business requiring a fleet of trucks. Fangio, himself now the Buenos Aires Mercedes-Benz dealer, honoured credit to Martin to secure his first truck from the dealership in Montes de Oca Street. Between 1993 and 2002 a further 16 units were purchased by Martin. Whilst purchasing one of the wagons for his business, Martin spotted in the corner of the dealership this ‘Boxcar' 170SD from 1954. It was part-dismantled and filled with earth and miscellaneous parts from other Mercedes trucks. There and then Martin expressed his interest to buy the little Boxcar which had served the Fangio dealership so well, but had to insist for a few more years before the answer he wanted eventually came.

Finally, Ademir Odoricio who was President of the dealership at the time sold the Boxcar to Martin in exchange for another vehicle. The restoration was set upon with gusto and the history researched. Conversations with the Fangio family led to Blumetti Fernando, the driver of the truck in period. He confirmed that the vehicle had been acquired by Fangio when he began to market Mercedes-Benz in Argentina. It was used to deliver spare parts, run errands and was even used as a support vehicle at the 1962 Swedish Grand Prix where it joined the official Mercedes-Benz team in its ‘Servicio Repuestos' (Service Parts) livery. Rumour has it that the connection between this truck and the late great Fangio even dates back to the mid-1950's and the World Championship successes enjoyed by Fangio behind the wheel of such famous steeds as the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196. Regrettably, we cannot secure enough evidence to categorically support this but we believe it to be true.

The restoration of this Mercedes has been completed to an exemplary standard and it presents in fantastic overall condition. Sympathetically detailed to match the livery and colours which it sported in period, careful attention and consideration has been given, particularly to the interior to ensure the car has not been over-restored. A charming and unusual collector's Mercedes, the history of this vehicle and its place within the career of the great Fangio and the success of one of the worlds' most revered marques is paramount.

Interested parties should note that import duty at the prevailing rate is applicable to the purchase price of this vehicle if it remains within the EEC.