Luxury cars have always held a special fascination, and some of the most expensive classic cars to ever be sold at auction are testament to this. From Aston Martins and Ferraris to Mercedes Benz and Bugattis, these vehicles command prices that can only be described as astronomical.
Many of these collectors’ items were built by highly renowned manufacturers, often with unique features that add to their allure – not to mention their hefty price tags. As global auction houses become more accessible, sales of these ultra-valuable classic cars have skyrocketed, driving prices ever higher.
To get an idea of just how much people are prepared to pay for these vehicles, let’s take a look at the top 10 most expensive classic cars ever sold at auction.
1. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – $48,405,000
This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO with chassis number 3413 GT owned for two decades by Ferrari enthusiast and vintage racer Dr Gregory Whitten – was sold at RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 auction.
The opening bid was an astounding $35 million, and after ten minutes of intense bidding from three competitors, the car sold for a record-breaking $48,405,000. It was driven by five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell to the event and its sale firmly established it as one of the most expensive classic cars ever sold at auction.
2. 1963 Aston Martin DP214 Competition Prototype – $21,455,000
At the prestigious RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction in August 2018, the incredible 1963 Aston Martin DP214 sold for an eye-watering $21,455,000 USD, making it one of the most expensive classic cars ever sold at auction. The car raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1963 and achieved a top-speed record of 198.6 mph at Silverstone Circuit.
It featured a 4.0-litre straight-six engine with three Weber 45 DCOE carburettors, and only two prototypes were ever produced both with identical specifications as well as additional variants such as a touring version.
3. 1956 Ferrari 290 MM – $28,050,000
The 1956 Ferrari 290 MM was sold at Sotheby’s auction in 2018, making it one of the most expensive classic cars ever sold. Developed by Ferrari for the 1956 World Sports Car Championship and the Mille Miglia, this particular 290 MM raced in the 1956/57 seasons with renowned drivers such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill and Sir Stirling Moss.
Despite its age, this incredibly rare piece of automotive history continues to be highly sought after by collectors.
4. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spider – $27,500,000
This unique 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spider is one of the most sought-after classic cars in the world, selling for a record-breaking $27,500,000 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale in 2013. Only 10 were ever produced and it features prominently in the 1968 film ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ with Steve McQueen.
It was originally commissioned by car enthusiast Luigi Chinetti to create an open-topped sports car for the American market and carries the distinct NART badge on its rear.
5. 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 – $29,600,000
In 2013, this iconic racing car was auctioned off for an impressive $29,600,000 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, making it one of the most profitable auctions in history. The winning bid was made possible due to its remarkable provenance as a five-time Formula One world champion Juan Manuel Fangio’s racing car.
It was sold in ‘authentic’ condition with visible blemishes and a thin layer of grime from Fangio’s track use. This rare and valuable car is definitely a collector’s dream come true.
6. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB Spider – $17,160,000
At the auction of the Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction Amelia Island in 2016, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB Spider was sold for an astounding $17,160,000. This rare classic car features a powerful 2,953cc V-12 engine with Weber carbs, a four-speed gearbox and independent coil-spring suspension in front.
It also includes a rare hardtop and covered headlights certified by the Ferrari Classiche Department. With its impressive performance and unique design, it’s no wonder why this classic car fetched such an incredible price.
7. 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 – $22,550,000
The 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 is one of the most expensive classic cars ever auctioned. The iconic British automobile was auctioned off in 2017 during Monterey Car Week for an incredible $22,550,000, making it the most expensive British car sold at auction to date.
The first in a run of five DBR1s, it has seen legendary racing success with Sir Stirling Moss at the helm; winning the 1959 Nürburgring 1000. This incredible car is a true reminder of why classic cars remain such treasured investments.
8. 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus Spyder Competizione – $18,400,000
In 2014, the rare 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus Spider Competizione was sold at the Bonhams auction during the Goodwood Festival of Speed for an astonishing $18.4 million, making it one of the most expensive classic cars ever sold at auction.
This car was powered by a 4.9-litre V12 engine and Formula One transaxle, built with a Carozzeria Pininfarina body and chassis number 0384. It’s no wonder this piece of automotive history fetched such a high price; its combination of power, performance, and style make it truly one-of-a-kind.
9. 1957 Ferrari 250 Testarossa – $16,390,000
At the 2019 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auctions, a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testarossa sold for an astonishing $16,390,000. This Ferrari is considered one of the greatest classics ever produced as it was a prototype built for the world-famous Scuderia Ferrari Team and raced by some legendary drivers.
It features a 3.0L Tipo 128 LM V-12 engine with 300hp and a 1958 Le Mans NART livery. After being restored by Dennison International, this car won first place in its class at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2006.
10. 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder – $5,170,000
The 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder was one of the most expensive classic cars sold at auction when it went for a staggering $5.17 million at Bonhams’ 2018 Scottsdale Sale.
Featuring a lightweight aluminum and steel body, an air-cooled 1.5L 4-cylinder engine, and a top speed of 150 mph, the 550A Spyder has become an iconic piece of automotive history. Its combination of beauty, rarity and performance make it highly sought after by collectors around the world and its astounding sale price certainly reflects that.
Classic cars remain some of the most sought-after and valuable collector’s items. Whether it be a Ferrari, Aston Martin or Porsche, these vehicles can fetch prices that are truly astronomical.
Are you looking to buy a classic car? Check Dyler for a wide selection of cars from the world’s leading brands. With a variety of models, colors, and prices to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect classic car for your collection.