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Top 10: Most expensive cars sold at auction

Top 10: Most expensive cars sold at auction Classic and Performance Car

We list the ten most expensive cars to be sold at auction, with the prancing horses of Maranello increasingly under pressure from other marques


Are these the most expensive cars in the world? Some private deals for top-level cars have exceeded the figures in this list, but while we can be relatively sure of the figures involved,  there will always be an aspect of speculation. The auction prices in this list however, represent the most expensive cars ever sold in a public forum. All prices are confirmed, and include all buyer fees accounted for. All prices are presented in US Dollars, and where the sale took place in other currencies has been converted using exchange rates correct at the time of the sale. 
 
You won’t be surprised to see so many Ferraris in the top ten, although the last three years have witnessed a number of foreign invaders enter onto the list. Very important British cars from Aston Martin and Jaguar feature high up the list, while one of the most significant pre-war Alfa Romeos has also made an appearance. The Ferrari 250 GTO remains at the number one spot since it sold for $38 million in 2014. 
 
Here’s the full list of the top 10 most expensive cars sold at auction:
 

1. 1962-63 Ferrari 250 GTO – $38,115,000


Ferrari 250 GTO
 
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.

2. 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti – $35,700,000 (€31,396,000)


1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti

Artcurial, Paris, France
05 February 2016

Offered from the Pierre Bardinon Collection at Artcurial’s 2016 Retromobile auction, this special Ferrari racer was driven in period by Peter Collins, Maurice Trintignant, Wolfgang von Trips, Mike Hawthorn, Luigi Musso, Stirling Moss and Masten Gregory. One of only four 335 S racers built, it finished second in the 1957 Mille Miglia, won the 1958 Grand Prix of Cuba among other motor racing successes.

3. 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 – $29,605,000 (£19,601,500)


1954 Mercedes-Benz W196

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. 

4. 1956 Ferrari 290 MM – $28,050,000

1956 Ferrari 290 MM
 
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.

5. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider – $27,500,000


1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider
 
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. 

6. 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale – $26,400,000


1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale

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.

7. 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport – $23,000,000


1955 Ferrari 410 Sport

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. 

8. 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 – $22,550,000


1956 Aston Martin DBR1

RM Sotheby's, Monterey, USA
18-19 August 2017

The first of five DBR1s, chassis no. DBR1/1 was raced by Roy Salvadori, Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, and Carroll Shelby taking the win at the 1959 Nürburgring 1000 KM. It’s the most expensive Aston Martin and British car ever sold at auction. 

9. 1955 Jaguar D-Type – $21,780,000


1955 Jaguar D-Type

RM Sotheby's, Monterey, USA
19-20 August 2016

When it sold in Monterey, this D-type became the most expensive British car to be sold at auction. It held this record for exactly one year, when it was surpassed by the Aston Martin DBR1 above. Chassis number XKD 50 was actually the first production D-type, and it went on to win the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1956.

10. 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring – $19,800,000 


1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring

RM Sotheby's, Monterey, USA
19-20 August 2016

With a twin-supercharged 2.9-litre straight-eight engine, this 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider was one of the 12 such car that were bodied by Touring. This exquisite example was sold for $19,800,000 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction. 
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