The 10 most expensive cars ever to sell at auction
The most expensive cars ever to sell at auction (Courtesy of Bonhams / Artcurial / RM Sotheby)
Published Friday, September 8, 2017 10:28AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 8, 2017 10:44AM EDT
As the biggest Ferrari auction in history is about to happen at a Bonhams sale this weekend, here's a look at the 10 most expensive cars ever sold at auction.
1) 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO - US$38,115,100
Sold in 2014 at the Bonham's auction during Monterey motoring week it is one of the lesser examples of the 250 that survives to this day.
But such is the lure of the car, considered the holy grail for Ferrari collectors, and also known as the ultimate dead man's car -- i.e., the only chance of it coming to market is if its owner passes away -- that it set a world record price when it went under the hammer.
2) 1957 Ferrari 335S - US$35,711,359
Sold in Paris by Artcurial during the 2016 Rétromobile classic car show, it is the last time a big-money, blue chip Ferrari came up for auction and met or bettered its estimate. In recent months, though the collector's market is as buoyant as ever, buyers have started to shun some of the eight-figure Ferraris available for modern equivalents or even other marques.
Since 2015 the average price paid for Porsches at auction has rocketed. However, not enough for any of Stuttgart's finest to break into the top 10 -- yet.
3) 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 - US$29,600,000
The actual F1 car driven to wins by the legendary Fangio, this car sat at the top of the list for three years until it was usurped by the GTO. It was sold by Bonham's at the Goodwood Revival in 2013.
4) 1956 Ferrari 290 MM - US$28,050,000
RM Sotheby's sold this car in December 2015 at its New York sale and its extraordinary price is down to Fangio. This is the car that he drove in the 1956 Mille Miglia. It was also raced by Phil Hill as Ferrari competed for and secured the World Sports Car Championship in 1956/57.
5) 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spider - US$27,500,000
Sold in 2013 during Pebble Beach by RM auctions, it's one of the rarest of all Ferraris -- just 10 were built, making it the most desirable Ferrari droptop of all time. However, when another model in arguably better condition came up for sale in 2016 in Monaco with a €23 million estimate, it failed to find a buyer.
6) 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale - US$26,400,000
It doesn't get rarer than a one-off, and this car was one of the star lots at RM Auction's 2014 Monterey sale. A prototype built to compete at Le Mans, this car finished third in 1965 and to this day is still the best finish ever at the event for a front-engined car.
7) 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 - US$22,550,000
When this car fell under the hammer in August during RM Sotheby's Monterey sale, it became the most expensive Aston Martin to sell at auction and the most expensive British car ever to fall under the hammer. And, while there are still several major auctions to go until 2017 comes to an end, for the moment at least it is the most expensive car to sell in 2017.
8) 1955 Jaguar D-Type - US$21,780,000
Sold by RM Sotheby's in August 2016 for a brief 12 months, this iconic, Le Mans-winning Jaguar could claim to be the most expensive British car ever to fall under the hammer. Its performance at that auction has helped to swell the prices of all classic Jaguars and to revive interest in the marque among blue-chip collectors.
9) 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider By Touring - US$19,800,000
The first car built using Touring's patented Superleggera method, whereby aluminum panels are hand formed and fitted to an intricate steel lattice underframe, and the car which, legend has it, led to the coining of the term streamline, this Alfa stunned people with its elegant beauty and redefined the concept of the sportscar.
10) 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider - US$18,500,000
Going under the hammer in February 2015 as part of the Rétromobile auction held by Artcurial, the California is an evergreen Ferrari. Just 52 were built and regardless of the mood in collectors' circles, the demand for this particular model never changes.