Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information


LONDON, England – Ferrari aficionados from around the world are set to converge on Maranello, Italy on May 18 as preeminent international auction house, RM Auctions, in association with Sotheby’s, hosts their second historic Ferrari: Leggenda e Passione event.

In addition to presenting a magnificent range of vintage sports and racing cars, the single-day auction event will also offer one of the world’s most important Ferrari memorabilia collections – the Ferrari Francorchamps Collection. To be offered directly, without reserve from Jacques Swaters, the renowned former Ferrari race car driver, team manager and importer, the May sale marks the first time the collection has ever been offered.

“After building one of the world’s finest Ferrari memorabilia collections, we are honored Mr. Swaters has obtained the services of RM to present his magnificent collection at auction,” says Max Girardo, Managing Director of RM’s European Operations.

“From Ferrari model cars to a Prancing Horse statue, which once took pride of place in the office of Enzo Ferrari, Mr. Swaters assemblage of Cavallino Rampante memorabilia is truly remarkable. For discerning collectors and devoted Ferrari enthusiasts, its sale in May is not-to-be-missed and presents an exclusive opportunity to purchase a piece of Maranello history.”

In the racing world, Jacques Swaters’ name is inextricably linked with that of the Scuderia Ferrari. Born in 1926, he made his first competitive appearance at the Spa 24 Hours as a driver for the legendary Ecurie Francorchamps racing team. With Swaters at the helm, Ecurie Francorchamps eventually became one of the most respected and successful private Ferrari racing teams from the 1950s to the 1970s and its relationship with Ferrari continued unabated since 1952. As the official Ferrari importer for Belgium, Mr. Swaters developed a successful commercial venture and further solidified his relationship with the legendary sports car builder and his strong personal friendship with its leader, Enzo Ferrari.

An ardent, lifelong collector, Mr. Swaters simultaneously accumulated a remarkable array of memorabilia over the course of his career. Valued in excess of €1,000,000, today the Ferrari Francorchamps Collection is considered as one of the world’s finest and most historically important Ferrari memorabilia collections, and has been on display for many years at the renowned Garage Francorchamps, Belgium’s most famous Ferrari center.

“My father is a passionate collector and has always had a great passion for collecting anything linked to the Ferrari story,” describes Swaters’ daughter Florence.

“Over the past 25 years, he has built an extensive collection of memorabilia – each piece revealing a small part of the Ferrari legend and history. Many of the items were personal gifts from Enzo Ferrari himself, as well as from others who were part of the Ferrari world,” she adds.

With over 120 items from the collection on offer, the task of selecting highlights is no doubt a challenging one, with each item presenting a unique piece of the Ferrari story. There is a selection of racing trophies from the 1930s and 1940s, won by such legendary Scuderia Ferrari drivers as Tazio Nuvolari, several personal wristwatches, a modern Formula 1 engine, and body components of the legendary Ferrari 512M racing cars driven at Le Mans.

Other rarities include a collection of stamped Ferrari factory tools from the 1950s and 1960s, a collection of commemorative 1950s Mille Miglia scarves, as well as an extensive selection of historic photographs and posters.

Notable highlights of the collection include:

1980 Ferrari Pinin prototype: The only four-door Ferrari ever produced – the prototype 1980 Ferrari Pinin made its debut at the 1980 Turin Motor Show. Created by Sergio Pininfarina, this one-off prototype was reportedly given to Jacques Swaters by Mr. Pininfarina himself, accompanied by various documents from the engineer Angelo Bellei. According to Swaters, when Enzo Ferrari heard of the construction of the Pinin, he strongly opposed it based on the sole reason that Ferraris are race cars and not limousines, and hence were to be restricted to the two-door variety. As a result, construction of the Pinin was interrupted and the car was never motorized. A unique automobile, not only in its conception but also in Ferrari history, its upcoming sale in Maranello is certain to attract the interest of professional collectors worldwide.

Ferrari factory engine test bench: Originally located in the Ferrari Factory in Trento Trieste, Maranello, this test bench was reportedly bought by Jacques Swaters in 1953 direct from Enzo Ferrari. A pre-war piece originally used to test Alfa Romeo motors during the early days of Scuderia Ferrari, after purchasing, Swaters put the bench in his Garage Francorchamps in Brussells and used it to test the Francorchamp stable motors as well as break in V12 racing engines. According to Swaters, in 1966, the test bench was set aside when the garage was moved to a new location because the motors had become too powerful for its capacity. It was then left to languish in storage for some 15 years before the new owner of the garage contacted Swaters and arranged for its collection. The test bench has since been restored

Gilles Villeneuve’s 312 T5 Wing: Offered to Jacques Swaters as a present from Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari’s engineer of the time, this item is an aluminum wing of a 312 T5, bent during a test drive by French-Canadian born, F1 legend Gilles Villeneuve. Born in Quebec in 1950, Gilles Villeneuve rose up through snowmobile racing and Formula Atlantic, before receiving a call in 1977 to join the ranks of Ferrari. With six F1 wins to his name throughout his career, this historic piece from the Swaters’ collection captures a piece of Villeneuve’s short and storied past with Ferrari; the wing was bent during a test drive by Villeneuve at the Castelet in France in 1979. According to Swaters, the wing was then signed by his mechanics – the inscription on the broken wing, translated in English reads “Broken in practice by Gilles Villeneuve”.

A crucifix created by Ferrari to celebrate a visit from Pope Jean Paul II: In 1988, Pope Jean Paul II visited the Ferrari Factory. To celebrate the visit, Ferrari created a series of special crucifixes. According to Swaters, three crucifixes were produced in total – one which was given to Pope Jean Paul II as a gift, a second kept by Enzo Ferrari at his home, and a third example, the one presented here, which was the very first of the trio to be made.

Back of the Ferrari 512S: Another highlight of the Ferrari Francorchamps Collection set to cross the block this May, is the rear section of an important Ferrari 512S. According to Swaters, in January 1970, the Ferrari factory delivered the 512S, chassis number 1030 to the Francorchamp stable. Earmarked to participate in the upcoming 24 hour Le Mans race, the factory worked over the next few months to improve the aerodynamics of the car by replacing the original short tail body with a long tail rear section. Presented here is the original short tail body for chassis 1030. This very car also raced in the 1000km of Spa and the 9 hours of Kyalami, as well as appearing in the 1971 action film, Le Mans, starring Steven McQueen and featuring actual footage from the 1970 24 hour Le Mans auto race.

Additional highlights of the Ferrari Francorchamps collection set to cross the block include: • A 1979 Brevette Helmet used by Didier Pironi during his second season in Formula One • A 1967 Ferrari 330GTC Static Exhibition Display car • A large wooden Ferrari Prancing Horse, which once stood in Enzo Ferrari’s personal office • A child’s period metal pedal racing car, bearing the British Union flag and two faded signatures, one Peter Collins • A 1:12th scale model of mille miglia Ferrari 335s #532 – a highly detailed representation of the 1957 Mille Miglia race winning car

Select items from the Jacques Swaters’ automobila collection, otherwise know as the Ferrari Francorchamps Collection, will cross the block in Maranello, Italy on May 18, 2008 as part of the RM Auctions’ Ferrari: Leggenda e Passione auction event, held in association with Sotheby’s. For further information on the event, please visit