Collecting beautiful cars is addictive and what better thrill than attending an auction with the chance to bring one home. Some automobiles are simply considered priceless and a joy to add to your growing collection. Whether this is your first expensive car or your tenth, take a look at some of the most expensive cars sold at auction.
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta
By far the most expensive car sold at an auction is the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta sold at Bonhams for $34.65 million, according to CNBC. Private sales are hard to verify, but the news site states that another rare Ferrari GTO was sold for $52 million. What makes a Ferrari GTO special? The company only produced 36 GTOs and this particular car was number 19.
1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
The 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa is another car commanding between $12.4 and $16.3 million at auctions also earned the title as one of the most expensive cars at auction. The one offered through Gooding and Company sold for $16.39 million. It was the first 250 Testa Rossa built with an eight-year international racing history.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder
The sleek look of the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder, with its covered headlights, is a rare find. Ferrari only made 37 of these cars with the covered headlights style. Gooding and Company sold one for $17.16 million. That particular automobile was featured in the film “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”. Throughout the years, the car had only been owned by three people.
1931 Duesenberg Model J Murphy-Bodied Coupe
This “disappearing top” convertible is a rare find as the company only made 500 of these models. Generally, the cars are painstakingly well-preserved or lovingly restored to pristine condition. Gooding and Company sold one for $2.6 million and Sotheby’s asked the bidding to begin at $2.0 million for one that began in the 1930s New York underworld.
1931 Bugatti Royale Type 41 Kellner Coupe
The 1931 Bugatti Royale Type 41 Kellner Coupe was built for royalty. The impressive lines and large engine are enviable among collectors. This luxury car sold in 1987 at Christie’s auction in London for $9.6 million. What makes the Bugatti Royale so special is the fact that only six models were manufactured and still survive today.
1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
The 1937 model of Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster is a favorite due to its “longtail and high door”. In 2016, RM Auctions/Sotheby’s sold one for $9.9 million that was believed to have driven only 10,277 miles since new. A 1936 model, that was once owned by the Baroness Gisela Josephine von Krieger and traveled from London and France to Monaco and Switzerland during World War II and later to America after the war, sold for $11.77 million through Gooding and Company in 2012.
1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe
In 2007, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe was discovered in a garage and sold at Bonhams auction for $4.4 million in 2009. Only 17 models of the Type 57S were manufactured and several of these are housed in a French museum. The one that sold at Bonhams was stored away by Dr. Harold Carr for decades.
1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe
This vintage race car commanded $7.25 million at a Mecum auction even during a financial crisis in 2009 and earned the title as one of the most expensive car sold at auction. The car was used in 1965 to beat Ferrari to win the World Manufacturers Championship race and was only one of six cars hand-built for this purpose. According to Mecum Auctions, the coupe body was created on an existing chassis to increase the top speed by 25 miles per hour. The auction house considers the 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe to be “American racing’s Crown Jewel.”