Ten years. That’s how long Tom Hartley Jnr tracked Ferrari 312T no023, featured here in our pictures, before he finally landed one of the most prestigious deals of his career. Best known for buying and selling supercars and classics, Hartley Jnr is also a serial dealer in Formula 1 grand prix cars, but he’s choosy. “Unless it is very special in a different way, the cars I look to buy are those that won a grand prix,” he states. “For me, history is all about a car that won, and which races it won. As long as it won a grand prix, then I’m interested.”
As he admits, that narrows the market. Consider the afterlife of hard-working F1 cars, and it soon becomes clear how few there are in existence with certified winning provenance. After a season’s racing, some became B-spec iterations for the next year; some – and this specifically and most infamously counts for Ferrari – were broken up without a thought of their future; and when it comes to the grand prix cars that really count, those that won the most races and perhaps a championship in the hands of one of the greats, if they survived, are usually impossible to prise out of the hands of the owner. That’s why Hartley Jnr coveted no023.
“What makes no023 special is it didn’t just win multiple races, it won six over two seasons – and a world title [in 1975],” he says. “It was only ever driven by one driver too, and that was Niki Lauda. Perhaps there’s a Michael Schumacher-era Ferrari that can match such an illustrious history, but that car is of a different era; the two can’t be compared”.