Ever since cars first hit the streets in the late 1800s, they have been a symbol of status and wealth. While many households today have at least one car, the age, make, model, and its use, all play a factor in how much a car is worth. While new cars today can be sold off the lot for millions of dollars, they don’t even compare to how expensive some antique cars are sold on the auction block. So, buckle up. These are the most expensive cars ever sold at auction.
2001 Ferrari 550 Gt1 Prodrive – $4,290,000
The most expensive car sold by far at the Monterey Car Week 2020 (replacement) auctions was a 2001 Ferrari 550 Gt1 Prodrive. It received an estimate of $4,290,000 and set the world record for the most-expensive car ever sold at an online auction.
This vehicle was the second of only 12 built by Prodrive for Care Racing Development. It was also the winner of the 2004 24 Hours of Spa and the 2004 FIA GT Championship.
King Leopold 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports – $12,681,550
At the Gooding London 2020 auction, the King Leopold 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports sold for an incredible amount of $12,681,550, making it the most valuable car at the auction.
This also made it the second Bugatti to have ever sold for over $10 million at a public auction. This particular Bugatti is known to have been driven by some of the most accomplished drivers of its time and placed 3rd at the Monaco Grand Prix.
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO By Scaglietti – $48,405,000
The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti has been described as “the world’s most important, desirable, and legendary motorcar,” and proved its worth at the auction house.
Although it was expected to be paid for around, it managed to score a still impressive price tag of $48.4 million. Known as the “Chassis 3413,” the price of this car is enough to buy you hundreds of other Ferrari models and still leaving you with some extra spending money.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder – $17,160,000
This 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder was auctioned off by Gooding & Company, being originally owned by the Italian architect and designer, Gianfranco Frattini. Since its original ownership, the car only traded hands twice before being sold in 2016.
This vehicle was also featured in the 1963 film Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, and is one of the 37 examples to have sport factory headlight covers.
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO -$48,405,000
This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was the most expensive car ever sold at an auction which took place at RM Sotheby’s sale in Monterey, California, in 2018. This car was owned for two decades by Ferrari lover and vintage car racer Dr. Gregroy Whitten previously and was driven to the auction block by the five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell.
Knowing that this car was going to be sold for a lot at the start, it was opened up by the auctioneer for $35 million.
1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Speciale Bertone – $16,500,000
The 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Speciale Bertone has bodywork from Carrozzeria Bertone that was supposedly inspired by the Prancing Horse “Sharknose” race cars of a different era.
Making the car worth even more is that it was the personal car of Nuccio Bertone, who owned the coachbuilding company after it was passed down to him by his father, Giovanni Bertone. This vehicle has won numerous prestigious awards as well as show trophies. This is not a car for the faint of heart.
Three Alfa Romeo Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica Concept Cars – $14,840,000
In 2020, the most expensive car lot was home to three Alfa Romeo Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica Concept Cars, which were the 1953 BAT5, 1954 BAT7, and 1955 BAT9. They were sold as a single lot for $14,840,000 by RM Sotheby’s at the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York.
The three cars were never shown together and the cosigner bought the cars individually. The first time they were ever seen together was at Pebble Beach, California in 1989.
1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder Competizione – $18,150,000
This is another example of a Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider. However, this one, in particular, is different for numerous reasons. One of the biggest being that it’s a Competizione, meaning that it has upgraded disc brakes and suspension on top of a specialized motor.
Furthermore, it has covered headlights and is only one of nine LWB California Spiders to have lightweight alloy bodywork. It was given the Platinum Award and Competizione Cup Winner at the 2011 Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach to top it all off.
1954 Ferrari 375-Plus Spider Competizione – $19,400,000
Produced by Ferrari in 1954, the Ferrari 375 Plus was a sports car that competed internationally. Unsurprisingly, it won several prestigious races including 24 Hours of Le Mans, Carrera Panamericana, 1000km of Buenos Aires, Agadir GP, and Silverstone.
The car is one of five with rebored V12 engines, which earned them the nickname “The Fearsome Four-Nine.” This car saw much of its success with drivers such as Umberto Maglioli and José Froilán Gonzále behind this powerful engine.
1995 McLaren F1 – $15,620,000
The 1995 McLaren F1 was a concept first drawn up in the 1980s with the goal being to build a road car that borrowed heavily from Formula One racing technology. The car has an astonishing 5,000 individual components and has been described as having the greatest-designed modern engine of all time.
The car also comes with four-wheel independent suspension and drilled and vented Brembo disc brakes. In 2017, it sold for more than $15 million.
1935 Duesenberg SSJ – $22,000,000
Incredibly, there were only two Duesenberg SSJs ever built. This particular one that was sold actually belonged to the Hollywood legend Gary Cooper and became the most expensive American car ever sold when it was bought in July at Pebble Beach for a whopping $22 million.
Considered to be one of the most powerful cars of its time, it had a top speed of 140 mph and was a popular model for the rich and famous for riding in.
1956 Ferrari 290 MM – $28,050,000
In 2015, this vehicle set records for the most expensive car sold in New York City, as well as the most expensive car RM Sotheby’s had ever sold at that period of time.
Initially, it was built for Juan Manuel Fangio to race in the 1956 Mille Miglia, although it continued to be raced and was successful thereafter. This model is only one of four in existence and has been raced by the likes of Alfonso de Portago and Wolfgang von Trip.
1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante – $10,447,150
At the Gooding London 2020 sale, this rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57S sold for almost $11 million! This made it the third Bugatti ever to reach over $10 million in the auction and set a new record for any Type 57 model.
The initial owner of this car was the famed British racing driver and known Bugatti enthusiast Earl How. This particular version is one of 17 fitted with the Alante coachwork. This car is no toy.
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spider – $27,500,000
This 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spider is fully restored and was only one of 10 in the world when it was sold in 2014. However, this car also has a unique history other than being expensive and rare; the iconic Steve McQueen appeared in the film The Thomas Crown Affair.
The NART Spiders were the creation of importer Luigi Chinetti who realized that people wanted an open-topped sports car and met their needs.
1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 – $29,600,000
Quite the stylish car, this 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Grand Prix car was driven by the renowned five-time Formula One world champion Juan Manuel Fangio.
On top of the car’s rarity, this helped to increase the price drastically when it was finally sold at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2013. The vehicle was considered to be in authentic condition with the typical marks and blemishes as if it had just been raced on the track.
1962 Shelby 260 Cobra – $14,300,000
The Shelby Cobra is an American-British sports car with a Ford V8 engine. They have been produced and sold periodically in both countries since 1962 in various models.
However, this car is special for a reason. Known as CSX 2000, this was the very first Shelby Cobra ever built, establishing the Shelby legacy. It was finally auctioned off in 2016 from the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust. This is the Shelby of all Shelby Vehicles.
1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale By Scaglietti – $26,400,000
Considered to be rarer than the 250 GTO, it is one of only three Ferrari 275 GTB/C Specialemodels that were built by the Maranello marque in 1964 and 1965. The car was designed and built in order to challenge the Ford GT40 and Shelby Cobra Daytona at Le Mans in 1965.
What made this car different from others was its independent rear suspension. It was considered to be the evolution of Ferrari’s 250 series car.
1956 Aston Martin DBR1 – $22,550,000
Selling for an astonishing $22.5 million at Monterey Car Week in 2017, this 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 is the most expensive British car ever sold at auction.
Not only is it incredibly stylish and rare, but was also the first in a run of five DBR1s that saw great success on the tracks in the 1959 Nürburgring 1000 with Sir Stirling Moss behind the wheel of this speedy vehicle. This car definitely isn’t a toy.
1994 McLaren F1 LM – $19,800,000
The McLaren F1 LM is built for the racetrack and is built as an homage to the five McLaren F1 GTRs that competed and finished the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans in first, third, fourth, and thirteenth.
The car is so impressive, that in order for it to be street legal, some modifications would have to be made. This car was so sought after at the Monterey, California auction, that it almost was sold for more than $20 million!
1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider By Touring – $19.8 Million
In 2016, this 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring sold for $19,800,000 at Sotheby’s Monterey. It is the most expensive pre-World War II car ever sold and is also the most expensive Alfa Romeos ever sold at public auction, and the eighth highest-price ever paid at an auction.
The only other pre-World War II car that ever sold for more than $10 million at auction was a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Long-Wheelbase Coupe.
1955 Ferrari 410S – $23 Million
The Ferrari 410S was a sports car produced by Ferrari between 1955 and 1956, following the success of the 375 Plus. The vehicle was intended as a long-distance racing car, specifically designed for the 1955 Carrera Panamerica.
In 2014 one model of this car was sold on Rick Cole Auctions for $23 million. Part of the reason for its such high price was that it had a shorter wheelbase as well as a single plug engine.
1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato – $15,000,000
The Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato is a sports car designed by Zagato and made between 1960 and 1963. It was introduced to the public in 1960 at the London Motor Show, and although the factory planned on producing 25 of the vehicles, demand wasn’t as anticipated, and only 20 were released.
This car was the only delivered new to Australia where it saw success on the tracks in the 1960s. At auction in 2015, was the first time a Zagato was on the block in some time.
1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti – $37,700,000
The Ferrari 335S was a sports racing car produced by Ferrari in 1957. It was designed to compete with the Maserati 450S, which had a 4.5-liter engine. In total, only four of these cars were ever produced.
Unfortunately, this car was also involved in a tragic accident in the 1957 Mille Miglia, in which one of the tires exploded, resulting in the car crashing against a large crowd, killing ten spectators, along with the driver de Portago and the co-driver Edmund Nelson.
1932 Bugatti Type 55 – $1,800,000
The Bugatti Type 55 was produced by Bugatti from 1932 to 1935 and was built to be the road version of the Type 51 Grand Prix car. It was introduced at the 1931 Paris Road Show, with one of the cars being sold to the Duke of Tremoille.
Only 38 of these cars were made, although some had some negative reviews to say about the vehicle such as it was too loud because of a combination of straight cut gears and noisy mechanics.
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster – $12,800,000
The Mercedes-Benz 540K is a product of Germany that was built from 1936 to 1940. It was available as both a two-and-four seat cabriolet, a four-seat coupe, or a seven-seat limousine, making it one of the largest cars of its time.
In 2012, the car was brought in at the Pebble Beach auctions by a Prussian Baroness, whose family kept it through World War II, and later had it shipped to the United States.
1931 Duesenberg Model J – $11,500,000
The Duesenberg Model J is a luxury automobile that was designed and built to be one of the most powerful and luxurious cars in the world at the time. The vehicle was first unveiled in 1928, just one year before the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression.
This put a halt on the production. The car was available with a supercharger after 1932 until production of the car fully stopped in 1937. When the car was sold, it had just 12,000 miles on it.
1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Testa Rossa Spider – $11,200,00
The Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Testa Rossa Spider was built by Ferrari to win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and was the last Ferrari racing sports car with a front-mounted engine and the last series in the Testa Rossas.
The “I” in the name indicates that it has an independent rear suspension. This car was sold in 2007, and was once driven by Phil Hill and Oliver Glendebien in 1962, who won Le Mans.
1968 Ford GT40 – $12,200,000
In 2012, just one of three lightweight Ford GT40 race cars ever built was driven up at the auction block in Monterey, California. This particular vehicle was special for several reasons, one of them being that it had been driven by drivers such as Jacky Ickx and Mike Hailwood.
During its time on the track, the car won Spa and Monza and was also featured in the Steve McQueen racing film, Le Mans in 1971.
1953 Jaguar C-type Works Lightweight – $13,900,000
The Jaguar C-Type is a racing sports car that was built by Jaguar from 1951 to 1953 with the “C” standing for competition.
It was designed by Jaguar’s Chief Engineer William Heynes with the body also being helped by William Heynes, Bob Knight, and later Malcolm Sayer. A total of 53 were built, with 43 of them being sold to private owners, mostly in the United States. This specific car was the second of just three lightweight factory racers built.
1955 Aston Martin DB3S – $4,000,000
The 1955 Aston Martin DB3S/102 is a rare car that sold for $4 million at the Good Passion of a Lifetime London 2020 sale. It was ordered by the Australian racing team Kangaroo stable and was their lead car, racing up until 1960.
On top of that, what else makes this car of particular value, besides its rarity is that it set a new Australian Land Speed Record in 1957 going an average of 143.19 mph.