10 Most Expensive Cars Sold at Monterey Car Week

1959 Ferrari 250GT California LWB Alloy Spider
1959 Ferrari 250GT California LWB Alloy Spider | Mike Maez/Gooding & Company

Over four days last week in Monterey, California, 724 cars were sold at five auctions, generating a total profit of $339.7 million, breaking down to an average $469,149 per car. That’s over $100 million more than the New York Yankees’ entire 2016 payroll, more than a new Airbus A350-900 passenger jet, and enough to earn the Monterey auctions a top-10 spot on the list of highest-grossing movies of 2016 if they were a feature film. And believe it or not, this was a down year for the auctions, compared to the $428 million gross in 2014, and the $398 million in ’15.

Of course, not every car sold for half-a-million and up. The median price was just over $90K, and a few cars snuck across the block for less than $10K. But while that may be unusual at Monterey Car Week, that’s just par for the course for most other auto auctions. Monterey is one of the blockbusters: the ultra-competitive, high profile events that are dominated by some of the richest collectors in the world, and attract some of the most incredible machines to ever hit the road.

So while the houses may sound familiar – only Gooding & Company and RM Sotheby’s made the top 10 – and the players are unsurprising – lots of Ferraris – Monterey Car Week 2016 was still memorable for all the one-of-a-kind iron that changed hands. Here are the 10 big ones from this year.

10. 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Spyder by Scaglietti – $5.225 million

1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Spyder by Scaglietti
1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Spyder by Scaglietti | Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

Vintage Ferraris with documented competition history are usually worth more than their weight in gold (literally), and this one had the kind provenance that most Ferrari collectors would kill for. This Scaglietti-bodied Monza, with its 3.0-liter inline-four, was named the winner of the 1955 12 Hours of Sebring (it was later bumped to second-place), and was piloted by Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby. It was later sold to Jim Hall, who along with Shelby won the ’56 Pebble Beach Road Races in it. Along with the car, which was sold by RM Sotheby’s, the buyer will receive letters and other documents written by Shelby and Hall concerning the car.

9. 1950 Ferrari 166MM Berlinetta – $5.445 million

1950 Ferrari 166MM Berlinetta
1950 Ferrari 166MM Berlinetta | Mathieu Heurtault/Gooding & Company

Doubling as a racer and one of Ferrari’s earliest road-going cars, the 166 holds an important place in the company’s history. This all-original MM Berlinetta was originally a competition roadster raced by Nuccio Bertone – the scion of the Bertone design house – and campaigned in the 1950 Mille Miglia. In 1953, Zagato rebodied the car, turning it into a coupe, but by the end of the decade, it ended up in America, where it traded hands several times on used car lots with a small-block V8 Chevy under the hood. Today, the car has been reunited with its original 3.0-liter V12 engine, and is in otherwise original condition. Past owners must be kicking themselves; Gooding & Company sold this fascinating car for a small fortune.

8. 1956 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta Competizione Tour de France – $5.7 million

1956 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta Competizione Tour de France
1956 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta Competizione Tour de France | Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

While only the cycling race survives today, the Tour de France was a grueling six day race in the late ’50s, and Ferrari dominated it. This Scaglietti-bodied competition-spec 250GT coupe is one of just nine built in ’56, and has a well-documented racing history – despite never actually running in a Tour de France. It was sold by RM Sotheby’s.

7. 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster – $10.4 million

1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster
1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster | Mathieu Heurtault/Gooding & Company

This breathtaking Type 55 shows just how fine the line was between Bugatti’s competition and sports cars in the ’20s and ’30s. The Type 55 was little more than a Type 54 grand prix racer with fenders and lights bolted on; as a result, many of the 14 roadsters have competition history. This 55 is powered by a 2.3-liter straight eight, weighs less than 1,500 pounds, and competed in the 1932 Mille Miglia, albeit in a black and red paint scheme. Prewar Bugattis were once the gold-standard of the auction world before midcentury Ferraris took over; today, this car, sold by Gooding & Company, is officially the most expensive Bugatti in the world.

6. 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza Roadster – $11.99 million

1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza Roadster
1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza Roadster | Brian Henniker/Gooding & Company

Before the prancing horse badge was found on the hoods of Ferraris, it was found on competition Alfa Romeos. Between 1924 and 1937, Enzo Ferrari ran Alfa’s racing team, and was a major factor in the company’s competition success. This 8C2300 was built by Alfa (many were built by Scuderia Ferrari), and features a 180-horsepower straight-eight that was bored out to 2.8 liters, and is mated to a four-speed manual transmission. On top of its stunning condition, this car has raced consistently over the past 83 years. After finding its new owner at the Gooding & Company auction, we hope it continues to do so.

5. 1960 Ferrari 250GT SWB Competizione – $13.5 million

1960 Ferrari 250GT SWB Competizione
1960 Ferrari 250GT SWB Competizione | Brian Henniker/Gooding & Company

Despite being a competition Ferrari with competition provenance, this 250GT actually sold at below its $15-$18 million presale estimate, making its sale at Gooding & Company something of a bargain here. On top of being one of the most beautiful Ferraris ever built, this 250GT finished seventh overall at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans; we hope that since it’s still wearing its livery, the next owner decides to reintroduce it to the track.

4. 1962 Shelby Cobra 260 – $13.75 million

1962 Shelby Cobra 260
1962 Shelby Cobra 260 | Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s sold a few Cobras in Monterey, but this one was by far the star of the show. This is the Ur-Cobra, the first one ever built, with used AC Ace body from England, its 260 V8 (this is before the 289) supplied by Ford, and the whole thing personally put together and tested by Carroll Shelby and his small team at Shelby American in Los Angeles. CSX2000 was unveiled at the 1962 New York Auto Show, used as the company’s first press car, and personally kept by Shelby until his death in 2012. One of the most well-documented and original Cobras in the world, it was sold by RM Sotheby’s and is now the most expensive American car ever sold. 

3. 1959 Ferrari 250GT California LWB Alloy Spider – $18.15 million

1959 Ferrari 250GT California LWB Alloy Spider
1959 Ferrari 250GT California LWB Alloy Spider | Brian Henniker/Gooding & Company

The 250GT California Spider will always be remembered in pop culture as the car from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but despite being built as high-performance GTs, the cars also have an impressive competition history. This alloy-bodied car was raced heavily by its original American owner between 1959 and ’64, and was fitted from the factory with disc brakes, heavy-duty gearbox, limited-slip differential, and 36-gallon fuel tank. Carefully restored about five years ago, it was sold by Gooding & Company, and is now one of the most expensive Ferraris ever sold.

2. 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring – $19.8 million

1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring
1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring | Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s compared this Alfa Romeo to an Italian Bugatti, and they may have a point; with a 180-horsepower 2.9-liter straight-eight, breathtaking styling, and luxurious interior, it’s a stunner. But compared to the record-setting Bugatti Type 55 roadster, or even the aforementioned Ferrari 166MM, this car wouldn’t be able to pass a Carfax report. There are no records of this car until 1949, when its body and chassis were separated. Eventually, the chassis was shortened, and fitted with a racing body and Corvette V8. In the 1990s, body, chassis, and correct engine were reunited, and the car was treated to a concours-level restoration. One of just 12 Touring spiders built, and generally considered to be one of the most beautiful prewar cars on the planet, this Alfa is proof of how far collectors will go to bring the right car back to life.

1. 1955 Jaguar D-Type Roadster – $21.78 million

1955 Jaguar D-Type Roadster
1955 Jaguar D-Type Roadster | Patrick Ernzen/RM Sotheby’s

Monterey Car Week 2016 saw new records set for Bugattis, American cars, and now, British cars. This 1955 D-Type was driven by Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson to win the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans. Despite looking like it’s been restored, it’s had just two owners since, and is in the exact condition it was when it won the race over 60 years ago. While we’re sure it could still clean up at a historic’s race, we’d understand if the new owner, who bought the car through RM Sotheby’s, wants to mostly keep this one in the garage.

Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.