Of the lots listed so far for RM Sotheby’s July ‘Open Roads’ online auction, there’s a particular theme - at the time of writing, it consists only of shiny, valuable Ferraris and Porsches. With one exception.
Sticking out like a sore thumb is this tatty but endearing Fiat 238 van. But, it does have a Maranello connection. And it’s one that runs deeper than the liberal festooning of Ferrari logos.
The car was originally owned by Garage Francorchamps, a Brussels Ferrari dealership set up by a chap called Jacques Swaters. The Belgian entered eight F1 Grand Prix from 1951 to 1955, retiring from racing in 1957 to focus on team management.
Swaters’ relationship with Ferrari was a strong one, to the point that Maranello chose to reveal the V12-powered 456 GT car at Garage Francorchamps. There’s even a colour - Blu Swaters - named in honour of the man, which is still available on some models today.
The facility has long since been taken over and turned into an official Ferrari dealer, but this Fiat is firmly lodged in the past, with the Garage Francorchamps logo and phone number still present and correct. RM Sotheby’s refers to it as “a wonderful addition to any Ferrari collection,” but the 238 isn’t for the faint-hearted.
The engine is seized, and the lower bodywork is covered in significantly rusted patches. There will almost certainly be plenty of rot you can’t see in these images, too.
In other words, it’s the kind of thing our serial used car buying YouTube team would love. For their sake, please buy the Fiat and rescue it before they get any ideas. It won’t be an easy ride, but it’ll surely be worth it in the end.
The 238 is offered with no reserve, and will be auctioned online from 14 - 21 July.