Most of the time, when you buy a car, its worth decreases instantly when driving it out of the garage. Luckily, some beauties tend to keep and even drastically increase their value over time. Only a few people can afford those cars. These 10 most expensive classic cars ever sold at auction are the perfect example for that.
1) 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO ($48,405,000)
The most expensive classic car ever sold at auction is the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. It was sold in 2018 at the RM Sotheby’s sale in Monterey.
Ferrari enthusiast Dr Gregory Whitten was the proud owner of the car with chassis number 3413 GT, for two decades before being sold.
Five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell drove the car to the auction block and bidding was opened at a jaw-dropping 35 million dollars.
The car was sold after 10 minutes when one of the three bidders that competed bought the car for 48,405,000 dollars. This sum surpassed the previous record total by more than 10 million dollars.
2) 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO ($38,115,000)
You read that right, it’s the same car at number 2!
This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta became the most expensive car ever sold at auction in 2014, for a sum of 38,115,000 dollars. The record was broken four years later by the car above.
It was built to race (and win) in the 1963 FIA World GT Championships.
This 62-63 exemplar of the Ferrari GTO is one of the most raced and even best maintained of all 39,250 GTOs that were built.
3) 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti ($35,700,000)
Then, there’s Ferrari that takes on all three top spots in this list. The 1957 335 Sport Scaglietti has a huge history as a racing car, which is the main reason it was sold for 35,700,00 dollars.
The car has driven in almost any race: From a first race in the Sebring 12 Hours, over the Mille Miglia and even in Le Mans.
It was sold in 2016 at the Artcurial in Paris. Due to ever changing Euro/Dollar exchange rates, its exact position on this list is somewhat contentious, but it ends up picking the bronze medal.
4) 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 ($29,600,000)
To continue, Five-time Formula 1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio drove this Mercedes-Benz W196 Grand Prix car. That’s also the reason it was sold for 29,6 million dollars at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2013.
A fun fact is that the car was sold in ‘authentic’ condition, which means it wasn’t all washed up before the sale. It came with visible blemishes and dirt as if it had just come off the track.
5) 1956 Ferrari 290 MM ($28,050,000)
This Ferrari 290 MM from 1956 broke 3 records at the time when it was sold in 2015. It sits right in the middle of the list of the 10 most expensive classic cars ever sold at auction.
It was sold in New York and with its price tag of 28,050,000 dollars it was the most expensive car sold in 1) 2015, 2) New York and 3) RM Sotheby’s ever sold at the time.
Only 4 of these were made, but this one was originally built for Juan Manuel Fangio to race in the 1956 Mille Miglia.
Next to Fangio, the car is also linked to Alfonso de Portago and Wolfgang von Trips, who raced it as well.
6) 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spider ($27,500,000)
This 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider set a new world record fee in 2013 for a vintage Ferrari sold at auction, at 27.5 million dollars. One astonishing fact is that proceeds from the sale were donated to charity.
The fully-restored sports car was one of only 10 made in the world. The car even made an appearance with Steve McQueen in the film The Thomas Crown Affair.
Car importer Luigi Chinetti invented the NART Spiders as the American market loved open-topped sports cars. Chinetti requested a series of convertible 275 GTBs from Enzo Ferrari with the NART (North American Racing Team) badge on the rear.
7) 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale by Scaglietti ($26,400,000)
This Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale by Scaglietti from 1964 is even rarer than the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO. Only three of these models were made by the Italian brand in late 1964 and early 1965.
This particular racing car was built to challenge the Ford GT40 and Shelby Cobra Daytona at Le Mans in 1965. It was the first Ferrari to feature independent rear suspension and represented the evolution of the successful 250 series cars, including the iconic 250 GTO.
The 275 GTB/C Speciale was a lot lighter and faster than a standard 275 GTB road car. Furthermore, thanks to its aluminium bodywork, a lighter chassis and a tuned V12 engine mounted lower in the car it brought the centre of gravity closer to the track.
However, this particular 275 GTB/C Speciale didn’t compete in any race, but one of the other cars took third place overall at Le Mans in 1965.
8) 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 ($22,550,000)
After almost an entire series of Ferraris, it’s time for Aston Martin to enter.
This 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 was just sold in 2017 for a staggering 22.5 million dollars at the Monterey Car Week in 2017, turning it into the most expensive British car ever sold.
In a run of 5 DBR1s, this was the first one and it had some success at the hands of Sir Stirling Moss at the 1959 Nürburgring 1000.
9. 1956 Ferrari 290 MM ($22,005,000)
The penultimate car on this list is the Ferrari 290 MM. It’s exactly the same as the fifth car on this list. It was built to compete in the 1956 World Sports Car Championship and the Mille Miglia, hence the initials MM.
This particular 290 MM was raced by Scuderia Ferrari in the 1956/57 seasons, with drivers such as Juan Manuel Fangio and Phil Hill. Sir Stirling Moss once rode the racing machine to victory for a private team.
10) 1935 Duesenberg SSJ Roadster ($22,000,000)
Finally, to end this list, we’ll pick a car that is not a Ferrari, Mercedes, or Aston Martin for a change. In fact, the 10th most expensive classic car ever sold at auction is a car from a company that only existed for 17 years!
Only 2 Duesenberg SSJs were ever built. This particular one was once owned by Hollywood star Gary Cooper. Those two reasons made it the most expensive American car ever when it was sold for 22 million dollars at Pebble Beach in July 2018.
The SSJ was one of the most powerful cars of its era thanks to its 400bhp supercharged inline eight-cylinder engine and it reached top speeds of 140 mph.
10 Most Expensive Classic Cars Ever Sold at Auction Conclusion
To conclude, all of the 10 most expensive classic cars ever sold at auction were sold for 22 million dollars or more. You’ve got to dig deep into your bank account to afford one, but if you had the amount of money, what classic car would you buy?
For the real car enthusiasts, find out more expensive classics you would love to discover.