Auction houses are where the action is when it comes to publicity for expensive cars. Though most cars in this realm are sold privately, these auctions give some clue as to the value of the highest end of car collecting. Most of these cars raced and have an extensive pedigree. All of them are beautiful thoroughbreds built by some of the most prestigious companies that ever made cars. It is interesting to note that Ferrari leads with the most in this rarified world of the top 25 most expensive cars sold at auction.
25. 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione
$14,093,386 Gooding & Company
A lot of racing history will really up the value as can be seen in this Ferrari 250 GT. It placed 7th at the 1960 24 Hours of LeMans and was driven around that time by Augie Pabst and Ed Hugus. This is a fairly original car that retains its original body, gearbox, and engine. That is rare for race cars that tended to have lots of engine swaps and crashes.
24. 1962 Shelby Cobra 260ci
$14,354,373 RM Sotheby’s
This is the first Shelby Cobra and the first of any series will bring top dollar. This was the most expensive American car sold at auction in 2016. It was owned by one family for over 50 years and was in original condition.
23. 1998 McLaren F1 “LM-Specification”
$14,534,000 RM Auctions
Sold last year at the 2019 Monterey Car Week this is one of two to receive the LM Specification. Only 106 F1s were built, with only about half of them being street-legal.
22. 1969 Porsche 917K
$14,391,572 Gooding & Company
21. 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
$15,115,000 RM Auctions
This Zagato is the most expensive Aston Martin auctioned. Only 19 were ever built.
20. McLaren F1
Purchased from the factory by an American in 1996 it was the first F1 to be imported to the US. Auctioned by the original owner it had just 9,600 miles on the odometer.
19. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Speciale
$17,440,000 Gooding & Company
Originally designed by famed designer Giorgetto Giugiaro it was used for a time by Bertone design house head Nuccio Bertone. Inspired by Ferrari’s Sharknose racecars it was auctioned in 2015.
18. 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rosa
$18,254,000 Gooding & Company
This was the prototype for the famed Testarossa series. It has an extensive race history of eight years to add to its value. It has been restored but retains much of its original components.
17. 1964 Ferrari 250 LM
$18,603,000 RM Auctions
Ferrari made only 32 of the LMs. Besides its rarity, it is considered one of Ferrari’s most beautiful creations.
16. 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta
Only five of these Alfa Touring Berlinettas were ever produced. Originally purchased in Italy, it remained in the UK for over 40 years before being auctioned.
15. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione
$18,947,775 Gooding & Company
This is an aluminum body California Spider of which only eight were made. The aluminum bodies tended to easily dent and crush and that makes this even rarer because it features its original bodywork. It placed 5th in the 1959 LeMans race.
14. 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus Spider Competizione
Only five of these 375 Spiders were produced. Famous owners include Jim Kimberly, Howard Hiveky, Jacques Swaters, and Karl Kleve.
13. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
This beautiful California Spider sat in a French barn for over 50 years. It was sold in original condition.
12. 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider
$20,670,300 RM Sotheby’s
This car cracked a lot of records when sold in 2016 including the most expensive pre-war car ever auctioned, and most expensive Alfa Romeo.
11. 1963 Aston Martin DP215
$21,455,000 RM Sotheby’s
This one-off was kept by the factory after it closed its racing division. It was hoped it could relaunch as a series later. Aston Martin sold the prototype in 1974.
10. Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe
When it came up for auction over 4.000 people were in attendance to bid on it. A London car dealer bought it.
9. 1935 Duesenberg SSJ
$22,000,000 Gooding & Company
Only two of these were ever produced. The 400 hp engine was estimated to power the roadster to over 140 mph.
8. 1955 Jaguar D-Type
$22,737,329 RM Sotheby’s
The racing history makes this so valuable as it won LeMans in 1955, 1956, and 1957. This was one of the first race cars to feature monocoque chassis design.
7. 1956 Aston Martin DBR1
$23,049,002 RM Sotheby’s
This Aston Martin is the most expensive British race car ever sold. Only five were ever produced.
6. 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale
$27,940,000 RM Auctions
With original aluminum bodywork, only five were made in 1964. It was auctioned in 2014.
5. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spider
$29,578,000 RM Auctions
Ferrari made only 10 of these NART Spiders and most are sold privately. It is believed to be in its original condition.
4. 1956 Ferrari 290 MM
$29,649,000 RM Sotheby’s
Sold in 2018 it has an extensive racing history having been driven by some of the most famous drivers of the time. Built originally for Juan Manual Fangio, it was also driven by Peter Collins, Phil Hill, Castelloti, Eugenio and Wolfgang von Trips among others.
3. 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196
Winner of the 1954 French Grand Prix driven by Juan Manuel Fangio it was driven by some of the top drivers of the period. It is rare for such purpose-built race cars to survive in this condition.
2. 1957 Ferrari 335S
Sold in 2016 at the Rétromobile classic car show in Paris. Only four were ever produced. Though looking like a street-legal car it is for racing only.
1. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
$48,405,000 RM Sotheby’s
Did you notice the jump in price between the number two and this Ferrari? This is considered the holy grail of car collecting. Only 36 were made and rarely do they come up for auction. This is currently numero uno but there will come a point where this will be surpassed. Will it be a Ferrari?