Most Expensive Auctioned Cars
It is well known how much money traditional art, such as paintings, may fetch if the proper buyer is found. It’s the same with automobiles now. Because the automobile business is continuously developing, the manufacture of the vehicles that started it all has long since ceased. These iconic vehicles symbolise an era, a piece of automotive history, and some collectors are ready to pay exorbitant prices to preserve them.
When it comes to auctions, though, it’s not the car’s age or model that makes it so precious; it’s the history tied to it that makes it so desirable. When it comes to purchasing a real classic masterpiece, no price is too high for certain collectors. We’ll show you the ten most valuable historic automobiles ever sold at auction in this list, as well as what makes them so desirable. Let’s get this party started.
10. 1955 Jaguar D-Type
The Jaguar D-Type is a real classic in every sense of the word. To say that this automobile is extremely uncommon is an understatement. This car is not only a work of art, but it is also the first designated D-Type to leave the factory, as well as the only one to finish first in the gruelling 24 Hours of Le Mans after being raced by Ecurie Ecosse. It has only had two loving owners since then, and it was auctioned in excellent condition by RM Sotheby’s for a staggering $21,780,000.
9. 1935 Duesenberg SSJ
Although there will undoubtedly be more costly Italian sports cars on this list than this stunning specimen of early American engineering, the SSJ is the most expensive American car ever sold at auction. It’s also the oldest automobile on the list.
This SSJ has been preserved in great condition for almost 80 years, and it still has the original chassis and engine, which produces over 400 horsepower (yes, 400 horsepower from a pre-WWII automobile!). Only two of them were ever made, and this one had only two owners until being sold at a Gooding & Company auction in 2018 for $22 million to a fortunate bidder.
8. 1956 Aston Martin DBR1
The Aston Martin DBR1 ASTONISHED the buyers at the 2017 RM Sotheby’s auction, earning a total of $22.5 million. It is still the most expensive British car ever auctioned, and it has a provenance to back up that claim. This stunning race vehicle was named the champion of the Nürburgring 1000 KM in 1959. Legendary racers like Caroll Shelby and Stirling Moss were among those who drove it. “The most important model in Aston Martin history,” according to RM Sotheby’s auction house.
7. 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale by Scaglietti
This 275 GTB/C was the first of three unique versions made for the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was hand-crafted with a Scaglietti aluminium body. The car’s appearance has been repainted and modified with a nose vent and bumpers to allow it to be used on the road, but it still has the original 3.3L V12 engine that produces around 320 horsepower. This automobile still runs as well as it did when it left the factory over 50 years ago, preparing for the Le Mans. It fetched a final offer of $26.4 million at a 2014 RM Sotheby’s auction at Monterey Car Week in California, because to its immaculate condition, exceptional rarity, and well-documented owner history.
6. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 S N.A.R.T. Spider by Scaglietti
This wonderfully kept 275 GTB Spider, which has only had one owner since its inception in 1967, earned an opening offer of no less than $10 million at the 2013 RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey, California. Given the car’s condition and the fact that only ten of these North American Racing Team versions were ever made, the bidding reached a staggering $27.5 million, making it the second most expensive automobile ever sold at the time. RM Sotheby’s, on the other hand, stated that the auction’s revenues will go to charity.
5. 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti
Collectors typically purchase old automobiles for the history, and this 1956 290MM model has plenty of it. This stunning convertible, designed by Scaglietti, has competed in various races, including a fourth-place finish in the 1956 Mille Miglia, driven by Formula One driver and five-time World Drivers’ Champion Juan Manuel Fangio. The car is in excellent shape, but it’s not just about looks: Ferrari installed a 3.5L V12 engine with 320 horsepower directly to the ground inside the vent-mounted hood. It was sold in 2015 by RM Sotheby’s for a whopping 28,050,000 dollars.
4. 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula 1
This mint-condition vintage formula 1 automobile, often known as the most costly Mercedes-Benz ever sold, has earned the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio two consecutive Grand Prix victories – one in Germany and one in Switzerland.
After competing in five world championship Grand Prix races, the automobile was retired to the Daimler-Benz museum in December 1955, where it remained until 2013, when it was auctioned for a stunning $29,650,095. The W196 was the most expensive automobile ever sold at a public auction at the moment Bonhams reported the transaction.
3. 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti
In 2014, Bonhams auction company revealed a world-record-breaking bid for their most valuable asset, a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta. The car’s considerable racing history (including a second-place overall finish in the 1962 Tour de France) and fastidious upkeep by a single owner during its 5-decade existence make it one-of-a-kind. This car, a member of the very rare GTO family, had all the makings of a record-breaking transaction, selling for a startling $38,115,000. That record would be shattered four years later by Bonhams.
2. 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta
The world-record-breaking offer for their finest property – a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta – was announced by Bonhams auction house in 2014. What makes this automobile unique is its significant racing history (including a 2nd place overall result in the 1962 Tour de France) and meticulous care by a single owner during its 5-decade existence. This automobile, a member of the highly rare GTO family, had all the ingredients for a record-breaking sale, and it sold for a staggering $38,115,000. Bonhams would see that record smashed four years later.
1. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Only another 250 GTO can compete with the Berlinetta in terms of price, and this one is even more unique. “The world’s most significant, coveted, and iconic motor automobile,” according to RM Sotheby’s. This mint-condition 250 GTO was the car responsible for no fewer than 15 overall and class wins between 1962 and 1965, making it an exceptionally unique and indisputable piece of racing history. It won first in class in the 1963 Targa Florio with Maurizio Grana and Gianni Bulgari behind the wheel, and another first in class triumph in 1964 with Luigi Taramazzo and Corrado Ferlaino behind the wheel.
The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO now holds the global record for the most expensive automobile ever sold at an auction, fetching $48,405,000 at a 2018 RM Sotheby’s auction at Monterey Car Week in California, smashing the previous record holder – a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta – out of the park. Although RM Sotheby’s did not reveal who the new lucky owner of this precious piece of history is, they were allowed admission to some of the most important worldwide automotive events by acquiring this automobile.