Described by Bonhams as "one of the most charismatic of all the great pre-war Grand Prix racing cars", the Alfa Romeo sold for £5.9m ($9.4m), breaking the previous marque record of £4.2m by 39.8% and further adding to Bonhams' list of 11 marque records.
The auction house also holds records for Aston Martin, Austin-Healey, Bentley, Jaguar, Lagonda, Lotus, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, Talbot-Lago and, of course, Mercedes-Benz, following the July auction of Juan Manual Fangio's W196 for $29.6m - a record price for any car sold at auction.
"Selling something like this, one is aware that history is a guest at the auction, due to the car's past, its performance today, and what all automotive enthusiasts will say about the car in the future. It is more than a car for all of us who are passionate about cars," said James Knight, international managing director of collector motor cars at Bonhams.
The supercharged race car was campaigned by Alfa's proxy factory team, the renowned Scuderia Ferrari, which was headed by Nuvolari - one of the greatest racing drivers of all time.
Nuvolari was renowned for his aggressive driving style, and is credited with developing the power-drift technique.
The car was last seen at auction in 1987 at Bonhams, when it raised $2.85m to set the marque record, as well as becoming the most valuable Grand Prix car sold at auction at the time. The current price represents a 4.71% pa increase on the 1987 value.
With pre-war race cars especially popular on the thriving collector car market, a 1931 Invicta 4½-litre S-Type "Low Chassis" Sports brought the second highest bids of the sale, realising £953,500 ($1.5m).
The English-made motor is regarded as one of the most desirable pre-war sports cars, sought after for its exceptional driving abilities and style.
Also featuring was Rod Stewart's 1972 Lamborghini Muira SV, which is one of only seven right hand drive examples ever produced, and the last of the line. It made an 8.2% increase on its £850,000 high estimate to sell for £919,900 ($1.4m).
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We also have an exciting line-up of Formula One racing memorabilia for sale, including Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton signed items, as well as a fantastic collectible from the legendary Jim Clark.