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Most expensive cars sold at auction: Top 100

We round-up the top 100 most expensive cars to ever hit the auction block, and the prancing horses of Maranello are still setting the pace


This list, which contains the 100 most expensive cars ever sold at auction, is a stark reminder of two things. Firstly, how well the market has been performing. Near-enough half of the entries here (49, to be precise) are all from the last two years. For all the turnover, the list has a familiar look, bringing us onto our second point... 
 
Two-thirds of the 100 spots are occupied by Ferraris, and the only non-Ferrari in the top ten is the ex-Juan Fangio 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196. That old warhorse is now the second-most expensive car sold at auction, having been shoved from its perch by 250 GTO chassis 3851GT, which was sold by Bonhams in August 2014 for $38,115,000. 
 
Though the market is generally less generous towards pre-war cars today than in times past, their presence is still felt here. The Kellner-bodied 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale, the world’s most expensive car in 1987, is hanging tough at number 31, and were we to adjust for inflation it would be further up the rankings still. 
 
It will come as no surprise to learn that rapidly appreciating modern classics are now banging at the door of the ‘100 Club’, too – most notably the McLaren F1 – but those who scan the following pages and find themselves puzzling at the presence of a 2005 Ferrari Enzo (number 79) should know that this particular example belonged (very briefly) to Pope John Paul II. No club closes its door to the Pope.
 
Here is the top 100 list, with a more detailed look at the top 10:


1. 1962-63 Ferrari 250 GTO
$38,115,000
Bonhams, Carmel, USA
14-15 August 2014

The 2014 sale of a Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta officially positioned the legendary racer as the worlds most expensive. Chassis 3851GT sold for a staggering $38m at Bonhams’ Carmel auction in California. Half a century in single family ownership and impeccable maintenance both helped achieve its astonishing price, as did the GTO’s reputation as the ultimate road-racer. Arguably no other car has ever balanced outright success, sheer beauty and desirability in quite the same way.

1954 Mercedes-Benz W196
 
2. 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196
$29,605,000 (£19,601,500)
Bonhams, Goodwood, UK
12 July 2013
 
Weighing in at just shy of $30m, the Mercedes-Benz W196 was quite the jaw-dropper when it lit up Bonhams’ annual auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2013. Once piloted by five-time Formula 1 world champion Juan Manual Fangio, the straight-eight German monster obliterated its mooted estimation of $7.6m, and to this day remains the most expensive car to go under the hammer on British soil.

1956 Ferrari 290 MM
 
3. 1956 Ferrari 290 MM
$28,050,000
RM Sotheby’s, New York, USA
10 December 2015
 
The most expensive car of 2015 was sold during RM Sotheby’s December New York sale. The ex-works 1956 Ferrari 290 MM, also driven by Fangio on the 1956 Mille Miglia, One of just four 290 MMs produced, this example is arguably the most important, and unusually for a car with such great competition history, it has never been crashed.

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider
 
4. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider
$27,500,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
16-17 August 2013 
 
The 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider went on to sell for $27.5m, making it the most expensive road-only car in this list. One of only ten examples, the 3.3-litre V12-powered car made the record price at RM Auctions’ Monterey auction in 2013. The car was originally in the hands of US Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti prior to being sold on to Eddie Smith. 

1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale

5. 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale
$26,400,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
15-16 August 2014
 
Falling just short of the 275 GTB NART Spider’s price a year earlier, this Ferrari 275 Speciale sold for $26,400,000, again at RM’s Monterey sale. Rarer than the 250 GTO that tops this list (just three were produced), chassis 06701 arrived in California after a lifetime of historic racing and rallying success. Interestingly, RM Sotheby’s state that the one of the cars sister examples, chassis 06885, may well be the car to topple nine figures if and when it eventually changes hands.

1955 Ferrari 410 Sport

6. 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport
$23,000,000
Rick Cole, Monterey, USA
14-17 August 2014
 
Offered at Rick Cole’s Monterey auction in 2014, this Ferrari 410 Sport sold post-sale for $23m. Powered by a 5.0-litre version of the Lampredi V12 engine, it was one of the most powerful Ferrari racers ever built. Just four were made, although all varied in specification and body style, making it unique. Intended to go racing on the Carrera Panamericana, the event was cancelled before it ever had the chance. It was then sold to the USA originally, where it raced in a small number of races. 

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider

7. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
$18,465,500 (€16,288,000)
Artcurial, Paris, France
6 February 2015
 
As far as barn finds go, the uncovering of the Baillon collection in a France in late 2014 was pretty special. The highlight of the collection was undoubtedly this 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider, which was found under a stack of old car magazines. Purchased in dirty but running condition, this unique California proved that an interesting back-story and original patina can worth more to the right buyer than perfect bodywork. 

1954 Ferrari 375-Plus
 
8. 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus
$18,298,500 (£10,753,500)
Bonhams, Goodwood, UK
27 June 2014
 
Spot the trend? Yes it’s another Ferrari in at number eight with the 375-Plus Spider Competizione. The car was destined for victory in the 1954 Mille Miglia prior to a broken gearbox within sight of the finish line. Following a number of outings at Le Mans and other races at the time, the front-engined 4.9-litre V12-powered car was sold into private American hands, before embarking on further historic race meetings more recently.

Ferrari 250LM

9. 1964 Ferrari 250 LM
$17,600,000
RM Sotheby’s, Monterey, USA
13-15 August 2015
 
In 2015 the 1964 Ferrari 250 LM took the honours as the most expensive car to grace Monterey, with one buyer forking out $17,600,000 on this stunning Ferrari. The 320bhp V12 car is number 23 of the 32 that were built, and thanks to its success in Sportscar racing circles is considered as perhaps the finest. It was formerly part of the Matsuda collection.

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider

10. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
$16,830,000
Gooding & Co, Monterey, USA
15-16 August 2015
 
Auction house Gooding & Company sold this 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider for $16,830,000 in 2015. This particular 250 GT SWB arrived on the West Coast as one of the 37 250s built with covered headlights, and with a rare and desirable hardtop to suit. 
 
11. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Speciale
$16,500,000
Gooding & Co, Monterey, USA
15-16 August 2015
 
12. 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype 
$16,390,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
20-21 August 2011
 
13. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
$15,180,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
16-17 August 2014
 
=14. 1964 Ferrari 250 LM
$14,300,000
RM Auctions, New York, USA
21 November 2013
 
=14 (15). 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato
$14,300,000
RM Sotheby’s, New York, USA
10 December 2015
 
15 (16). 1998 McLaren F1
$13,750,000
RM Sotheby’s, Monterey, USA
13-15 August 2015
 
=16 (17). 1953 Jaguar C-type Lightweight
$13,200,000
RM Sotheby’s, Monterey, USA
13-15 August 2015
 
=16 (18). 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ‘Tour de France’
$13,200,000
RM Sotheby’s, Monterey, USA
13-15 August 2015
 
17 (19). 1953 Ferrari 340/375 MM Berlinetta Competizione
$12,745,500 (€9,856,000)
RM Auctions, Cernobbio, Italy
25 May 2013
 
18 (20). 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
$12,402,500 (€9,020,000)
RM Auctions, Maranello, Italy
17 May 2009
 
19 (21). 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB  Competizione Clienti
$12,000,000
Rick Cole, Monterey, USA
14-17 August 2014
 
20 (22). 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
$11,770,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
18-19 August 2012
 
21 (23). 1964 Ferrari 250 LM $11,550,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
15-16 August 2014
 
22 (24). 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB
$11,414,500 (£7,392,000)
H&H, Duxford, UK
14 October 2015
 
23 (25). 1960 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione 
$11,275,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
18-19 August 2012
 
24 (26). 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage
$11,000,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
17-18 August 2012
 
25 (27). 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
$10,894,000 (€7,040,000) 
RM Auctions, Maranello, Italy
18 May 2008
 
26 (28). 1931 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Coupe 
$10,340,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
20-21 August 2011
 
27 (29). 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
$10,175,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
15-16 August 2014
 
28 (30). 1982 Porsche 956
$10,120,000
Gooding & Co, Monterey, USA
15-16 August 2015
 
29 (31). 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB
$9,725,000
Rick Cole, Monterey, USA
14-17 August 2014
 
30 (32). 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
$9,680,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
19-20 August 2011
 
31 (33). 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale by Kellner 
$9,654,000 (£5,500,000)
Christie’s, London, UK
17 November 1987
 
32 (34). 1964 Ferrari 250 LM
$9,625,000
RM Auctions, Phoenix, USA
15-16 January 2015
 
33 (35). 1957 Ferrari 250 GT 14-Louvre Berlinetta
$9,460,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
17-18 August 2013
 
34 (36). 1935 Alfa Romeo 8C-35
$9,425,000 (£5,937,500)
Bonhams, Goodwood, UK
14 September 2013
 
35 (37). 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Testa Rossa
$9,418,500 (€6,875,000)
RM Auctions, Maranello, Italy
20 May 2007 
 
36 (38). 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione
$9,405,000
Bonhams, Scottsdale, USA
15 January 2015
 
37 (39). 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spider
$9,075,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
16-17 August 2013
 
38 (40). 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider
$8,800,000
RM Auctions, Phoenix, USA
16-17 January 2014
 
39 (41). 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante
$8,745,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
17-18 August 2013
 
40 (42). 1957 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
$8,580,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
17-18 August 2012
 
41 (43). 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Competizione Alloy Berlinetta
$8,525,000
Bonhams, Carmel, USA
14 August 2015
 
42 (44). 1959 Ferrari 250GT LWB California Spider
$8,500,000
RM Sotheby’s, Monterey, USA
13-15 August 2015
 
43 (45). 1997 McLaren F1
$8,470,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
17-18 August 2013
 
=44 (46). 1955 Ferrari 410 S
$8,250,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
17-18 August 2012
 
=44 (47). 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider
$8,250,000
Gooding & Co, Scottsdale, USA
18-19 January 2013
 
=44 (48). 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo Roadster by Saoutchik
$8,250,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
16-17 August 2013
 
45 (49). 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione
$8,140,000
RM Auctions, Phoenix, USA
18 January 2013
 
46 (50). 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster 
$8,057,000 (£3,905,000)
RM Auctions, London, UK
31 October 2007
 
47 (51). 1950 Ferrari 275S/340  America Barchetta
$7,975,000
RM Sotheby’s, Monterey, USA
13-15 August 2015
 
48 (52). 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante
$7,920,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
16-17 August 2008
 
49 (53). 1929-31 Bentley 4½ Litre Supercharged 
$7,906,000 (£5,041,500)
Bonhams, Goodwood, UK
29 June 2012
 
50 (54). 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ‘Tour de France’
$7,862,500 (£4,872,000)
RM Auctions, London, UK
8 September 2014
 
51 (55). 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C
$7,860,500 (€5,712,000)
RM Auctions, Monte Carlo, Monaco
10 May 2014
 
52 (56). 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider 
$7,700,000
Gooding, Scottsdale, USA
16-17 January 2015
 
53 (57). 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra
$7,685,000
Mecum, Monterey, USA
15 August 2009 
 
54 (58). 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolet 
$7,645,000
RM Sotheby’s, Fort Worth, USA
2 May 2015
 
55 (59). 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
$7,480,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
16-17 August 2013
 
56 (60). 1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK Roadster
$7,433,000 (£4,181,500)
Bonhams, Goodwood, UK
3 Sept 2004
 
57 (61). 1952 Ferrari 212 Export
$7,398,500 (€6,720,000) 
RM Sotheby’s, Lake Como, Italy
23 May 2015
 
58 (62). 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Double Pullman Limousine
$7,380,000 (£4,705,500)
Bonhams, Goodwood, UK
29 June 2012
 
59 (63). 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ‘Tour de France’
$7,273,000 (£4,760,000)
RM Sotheby’s, London, UK
7 September 2015
 
=60 (64). 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider
$7,260,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
14-15 August 2010
 
=60 (65). 1953 Ferrari 250 MM
$7,260,000
Bonhams, Carmel, USA
14-15 August 2014
 
61 (66). 1904 Rolls-Royce 10hp Two-Seater
$7,250,000 (£3,521,500)
Bonhams, London, UK
3 December 2007
 
=62 (67). 1955 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ‘Tour de France’
$7,150,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
17-18 August 2013
 
=62 (68). 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Cabriolet
$7,150,000
RM Auctions, New York, USA
21 November 2013
 
63 (69). 1959 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competition Berlinetta Speciale
$7,040,000
RM Auctions, New York, USA
21 November 2013
 
64 (70). 1964 Ford GT40 Prototype
$7,000,000
Mecum, Houston, USA
10-13 April 2014
 
65 (71). 1964 Ferrari 250 LM
$6,979,000 (€4,510,000)
RM Auctions, Maranello, Italy
18 May 2008
 
66 (72). 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster 
$6,930,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
15-16 August 2014
 
67 (73). 1958 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Speciale Aerodynamica
$6,875,000
Bonhams, Carmel, USA
14-15 August 2014
 
68 (74). 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolet
$6,820,000
Bonhams, Carmel, USA
14-15 August 2014
 
=69 (75). 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza 
$6,710,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
14-15 August 2010
 
=69 (76). 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ‘Tour de France’
$6,710,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
17-18 August 2012
 
=70 (77). 1957 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Prototype
$6,600,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
18-19 August 2012
 
=70 (78). 1937 Delahaye 135 Competition Court Torpedo Roadster by Figoni et Falaschi
$6,600,000
RM Auctions, Amelia Island, USA
8 March 2014
 
71 (79). 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC
$6,520,000 (€5,040,000) 
RM Auctions, Monte Carlo, Monaco
11-12 May 2012
 
72 (80). 1931 Bugatti Royale Berline de Voyager 
$6,500,000
Kruse, Reno, USA
27 June 1986
 
73 (81). 1962 Ferrari 330 TR1/LM Testa Rossa
$6,490,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
23-24 August 2002
 
74 (82). 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolet
$6,473,500 (€4,704,000)
RM Auctions, Monte Carlo, Monaco
10 May 2014
 
75 (83). 1960 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolet
$6,380,000
RM Sotheby’s, Amelia Island, USA
14 March 2015
 
76 (84). 1955 Ferrari 857 Sport 
$6,270,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
18-19 August 2012
 
77 (85). 1958 Ferrari 250GT Series 1 Cabriolet
$6,160,000
Gooding & Co, Scottsdale, USA
17-18 January 2014
 
78 (86). 1961 Ferrari 250GT SWB Berlinetta SEFAC
$6,105,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
14-15 August 2010
 
=79 (87). 1928 Bentley 4½ Litre Sports ‘Bobtail’ Le Mans
$6,050,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
18-19 August 2012
 
=79 (88). 2005 Ferrari Enzo
$6,050,000
RM Sotheby’s, Monterey, USA
13-15 August 2015
 
80 (89). 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider
$5,907,500 (€4,507,104) 
Artcurial, Paris, France
3 February 2012
 
81 (90). 1972 Porsche 917/10 Spyder
$5,830,000
Mecum, Monterey, USA
16-18 August 2012
 
82 (91). 1953 Ferrari 340/375 MM
$5,802,000 (€4,235,000)
RM Auctions, Maranello, Italy
20 May 2007
 
83 (92). 1958 Ferrari 250 GT 
Series 1 Cabriolet
$5,720,000
RM Sotheby’s, New York, USA
10 November 2015
 
84 (93) 1966 Ferrari 330 P3
$5,616,000
Christie’s, Monterey, USA
16 August 2000
 
=85 (94). 1958 Ferrari 412 S
$5,610,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
18-19 August 2006
 
=85 (95). 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolet
$5,610,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
16-17 August 2014
 
86 (96). 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
$5,500,500
World Classic, Las Vegas, USA
2 November 1991
 
87 (97). 1955 Aston Martin DB3S
$5,500,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
16-17 August 2014
 
88 (98). 1960 Porsche RS60
$5,400,000
Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach, USA
15-16 August 2015
 
=89 (99). 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione
$5,280,000
RM Auctions, Monterey, USA
19-20 August 2011
 
=89 (100). 1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail
$5,280,000
Gooding & Co, Scottsdale, USA
17-18 January 2014

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