We've assembled the list of the 100 most expensive cars ever sold at auction.
See previous articles "The top 100 most expensive cars of all time (part 1)"
Below is "The top 100 most expensive cars of all time (part 2)"
21 – 1964 Ferrari 250 LM by Scaglietti (US$ $9,625,000)
Ferrari’s 250 LM holds a special place in Ferrari history, being the last car from Maranello to win the prestigious “24 Heures du Mans” half a century ago (1965). This car is the ninth of 32 LMs built, has an extensive race history (including an initial campaign by Scuderia Filipinetti with Ludovico Scarfiotti and Nino Vaccarella behind the wheel) and has at times been fitted with a different engine, had its chassis shortened, and been fitted with the body of a Porsche 906 Carrera, complete with gullwing doors. It was purchased in 1977 by Eric Stewart (from British pop band 10CC) who set about restoring it to original factory condition including finding and fitting the original motor. That massive restoration resulted in Ferrari Classiche certification. The end result is that the car was sold on January 17, 2015 at RM’s Scottsdale auction for US$ $9,625,000, along with a complete ownership history (including such notable collectors as Paul Schouwenburg, Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Federico Della Noce, and Henri-Louis Maunoir) documented by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini.
One of only nine examples built and eight remaining, this 1957 Ferrari 250 GT has seen action in some of the great races, including ninth outright and fourth in class in the 1957 Mille Miglia, fourth outright in the 1957 Coppa Inter-Europa and a participant in the inaugural Colorado Grand, making it eligible for participation in the Mille Miglia and similar prestigious events of today. An exacting restoration by Dennison International, 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Award Winner and full documentation by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini.
23 – 1935 Alfa Romeo Tipo C 8C-35 (US$9,425,188)
One of the great pre-war Grand Prix racing cars - the ex-Tazio Nuvolari 1935 Alfa Romeo Tipo C 8C-35 '50013' - Scuderia Ferrari Nr '65' sold for GBP£5,937,500 at Bonhams Goodwood Revival Meeting on September 14, 2013, setting a new world record for an Alfa Romeo sold at auction.
The 330-horsepower supercharged Alfa Romeo 8C-35 was campaigned as new by Alfa's proxy factory team, the celebrated Scuderia Ferrari – including the legendary Tazio Nuvolari, one of the greatest racing drivers of all time.
The supercharged Alfa Romeo Tipo C 8C-35 Grand Prix car is a superb example of the first all-independently-suspended, big-engined Grand Prix racing design from Alfa Romeo which the Portello factory tailor-made in 1936 to combat the might of the rival State-backed German 'Silver Arrow' Mercedes-Benz W25E and Auto Union C-Type cars. It was in this Alfa Romeo and its sisters that the legendary Italian superstar driver Tazio Nuvolari and his team-mates fought a bitter rearguard action against the overwhelming might of the German teams and their own star drivers such as Bernd Rosemeyer, Rudi Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Hans Stuck. Here is an artifact which in essence these great names would have seen, touched, experienced, campaigned and confronted around the world's most demanding road racing circuits of the mid-1930s.
24 – 1966 Ferrari 275GTB Competizione (US$9,405,000)
A three-time participant in the GT Class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and boasting the 1967 GT Class win in the race (and 11th outright), this 1966 Ferrari 275GTB Competizione (chassis 09079) was campaigned by the famous Scuderia Filipinetti, one of Ferrari's four factory-preferred privateer teams.
With class wins in both the 1000 Kms de Spa-Francorchamps and 500 Kms de Imola, chassis 09079 has an impeccable race provenance, combined with rarity and specialty of construction, being the second-to-last GT car ever built by Ferrari's factory competition department, representing a long line of important models dating to the 340 Mexico and 166 MM.
The car is certified by Ferrari Classiche and accompanied by an original factory build card, promising to draw major consideration at world-class Concours d'Elegance and prestigious Ferrari events. At Pebble Beach, this car was adjudged second in its class, losing by a few tenths of a point to the prototype Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (chassis no. 0666TR) which sits in the top ten cars on this listing.
In October 2014, this car enjoyed the distinguished privilege of being invited by Ferrari to take part in Driving Through the Decades, the 60th Anniversary celebration of Ferrari North America held in Beverly Hills, California. The Competizione was one of just sixty special Ferraris from across America chosen for display on the Sunday morning concours on Rodeo Drive, a rare honor and indication of just how significant the car is among Ferrari's greatest motorcars.
25 – 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Spider (US$9,288,469)
Another Ferrari with all the boxes ticked for a stellar price, this car is the very last Testa Rossa and also the last front-engined sports racing car built by Ferrari. As the official RM auction page for the car points out, "The first car in a series is good. But the last car is best. It is inevitably refined, improved and developed. Its weaknesses have been addressed and its strengths have been enhanced."
This 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM, chassis number 0808, is also the only 4-litre Testa Rossa built, and was driven by the highly successful endurance racing pairing of Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien to outright victory in the 1962 Le Mans 24 Hour Race.
There is much more to this car. Technically, it has twice qualified for a top 20 placing on this listing, having been auctioned by RM Auctions at Pebble Beach in August, 2002, selling for US$6,490,000. It would no doubt move into a top ten spot if it were to cross the auction block again.
26 – 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spider (US$9,075,000)
This car was commissioned, owned, and raced new by legendary driver, James "Gentleman Jim" Kimberly, the grandson of one of four founders of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, which produced Kleenex and a variety of other paper products. It then proceeded to win all but one of the races in the 1954 SCCA National Championship.
It is one of only twelve 375MM Spiders, the only 375MM Spider with unique pontoon-fenders, and liveried in unique "Kimberly Red."
A detailed and illustrious provenance, an exhaustive and well-documented restoration and single-family ownership from 1968 until it was auctioned at Monterey in 2013 resulted in its stellar price.
27 – 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider (US$8,800,000)
This car is the eleventh of just 50 LWB California Spiders built. The California Spider is as close as Ferrari came to building a touring class sports car since the early Barchettas, and only it and the later 275 GTB/4 N.A.R.T. Spiders have the elemental high-speed, open-air attitude that sets these cars apart from their more common cabriolet counterparts. Chassis 1055 GT is a spectacular example, with a notable absence of apparent or known damage in its well-documented past.
28 – 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante (US$8,745,000)
The 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante is an undisputed masterpiece of automotive art, designed by Jean Bugatti with a competition-derived surbaisse chassis and a factory supercharger.
Just two supercharged Type 57SC cars were built new, but most 57S owners wanted the additional power afforded by the blower. Therefore, most of the original Type 57S cars returned to Molsheim for the installation of a supercharger, pushing output from 175 hp (130 kW) to 200 hp (150 kW) and 120 mph (190 km/h).
This 1937 SC is an extremely authentic example with original chassis, engine and coachwork and features outstanding, unbroken provenance including participation in the prestigious inaugural International Bugatti Meeting in 1958.
Faithfully presented at auction in its original black livery, this Bugatti was masterfully restored to the highest standards and was awarded first in class at The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2011. Fully documented by Bugatti Historian Julius Kruta.
29 – 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider (US$8,580,000)
Another stunning SWB 250 GT California Spider (chassis no. 3119 GT). Sold new in March 1962, through the official Belgian importer Jacques Swaters’, eventually finding its way to the United Staes. The car was shown at the 40th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it won its class. It was subsequently shown at the 29th Annual Ferrari Club of America national meeting in Palm Beach, where it was also a class winner.
30 – 1997 McLaren F1 (US$8,470,000)
The McLaren F1 is a modern day supercar that became an instant collectible when it was released in 1994.
McLaren developed a racing version of the F1 road car to run in the FIA GT1 category in the 1995 season. Despite a design and development period of just 3 months, the F1 GTR swept all before it, winning not only the 1995 GT1 Championship, but also the 24 Heures du Mans on its debut.
McLaren not only won, but dominated the rain-soaked endurance race, finishing in 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th places.
Just how collectible the F1 would become was not entirely evident at the time the cars were available, but it's stocks grew quite quickly.
In 1998, with a total of 106 of all variants built and its production run complete, the McLaren F1 went on to achieve its greatest feat outside competitive motorsport. McLaren development and race driver Andy Wallace took XP5, the fifth and final prototype F1 with some 45,000 hard test miles on the clock, to the Ehra-Lessien proving ground in Germany and on 31st March 1998 set a world record for a production car of 240.1mph.
Several production cars have since gone faster (the Koenigsegg Agera R, the Bugatti Veyron, the SSC Ultimate Aero TT, the Hennessey Venom GT and the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport), but the McLaren F1 remains the fastest naturally-aspirated (i.e. not turbo-charged or super-charged) production car to this day. There are many "firsts" which make the McLaren F1 road car very special but the biggest was that unlike previous supercars, it was not constructed primarily of metal (or wood).
In 1981, McLaren became the first team in Formula 1 to use a carbon fibre chassis and in 1984 it used those techniques to create the most successful Formula 1 car in history – the McLaren MP4/4.
Having completed just a handful of laps in the new 1988 MP4/4 at the beginning of 1984, Alain Prost reportedly told Team Principle Ron Dennis that he knew the car would win the World Championship. The car won 15 of 16 races in the hands of Prost and Ayrton Senna.
The construction techniques refined in Formula One were developed to create the carbon monocoque for the McLaren F1 with the resulting structure weighing just 100 kg whilst offering the highest levels of strength and safety. The bare carbon fibre passenger doors weighed just 7 kg each (which included the weight of the side intrusion beam).
The F1 defined the McLaren road car DNA: low weight, low polar moment of inertia, clever packaging, superb quality and innovative design, resulting in an outstanding driving experience.
The F1 bristles with innovative design. The central driving position, which ensures superb visibility and no compromise on control positions for the driver; the pannier side lockers providing unprecedented levels of luggage capacity in a car of this type; the patented suspension system to provide both control and ride quality.
The McLaren F1 was launched at a price of £540,000 in 1994 – at an exchange rate of 1.5355, that price of US$829,170 represents an excellent investment by comparison to the US$8,470,000 paid for this 1997 model at Pebble Beach in 2013. For a recent road car, it's unprecedented.
Over the course of the next four years (1994-98), just 64 F1 road cars were produced, plus five F1 LM and three F1 GT road cars. There were also 28 F1 GTR race cars and six prototypes produced.
The word was out long before the 2013 Pebble Beach sale that the McLaren F1 was going to become a benchmark in automobile investment – one of those cars which would become so cherished by collectors and drive values forever skyward.
A 1997 McLaren F1 recently deposed from this Top 100 list was sold at RM Auctions' Automobiles of London sale in October, 2008 for £2,530,000 (US$4,058,120).
There were those who thought the price paid was one of those irrational behaviors which auctions regularly throw up, and there were those who thought it indicative that the modern day supercar had been recognized. The latter is now known to be true, and already that investment is proving to be spectacularly successful.
A 1995 McLaren F1 was sold by Gooding & Co at the same Pebble Beach venue in 2010 for US$3,575,000 and it seems certain that other McLaren F1s will appear over the coming years.
So newsworthy are the F1s that reports of private sales are surfacing. The U.K. Sun reported an F1 sold privately for £3,500,000 (US$5,580,000) in November 2012.
Jalopnik recently reported that an F1 (chassis #28) which McLaren built for Michael Andretti to secure "his early departure from their F1 team" had changed hands yet again, for a reported US$10.5 million.
There is of course, an even rarer and more powerful F1 – the F1 LM.
This is McLaren's description of the LM: The McLaren F1 LM was a more extreme version of the F1 road car, and even more than the GTR on which it was based. With a version of the race-spec 6.1-litre V12 BMW engine from the F1 GTR, but without any race restrictors, the F1 LM produces more power – 680 bhp in total.
The styling is heavily derived from the race-winning car, with the front bodywork and rear wing are based on those of the GTR, and full underbody ground effect with a Le Mans-inspired diffuser to optimise downforce. Weight-saving measures are extreme as well, with the F1 LM actually tipping the scales 60 kg lighter than the race version.
The XP car, along with three of the five production models, is finished in the historic Papaya orange paintwork, in homage to the early Bruce McLaren racing cars.
In 1999, XP1 LM joined the standard McLaren F1 road car in the record books, when Andy Wallace set a new 0-100-0 mph standard of 11.5 seconds at RAF Alconbury. Acceleration was such that, from a standstill, 60 mph was reached in less than 4 seconds, 100 mph within 7 seconds, on to a top speed of 225 mph.
While this is lower than the "standard" McLaren F1 due to the GTR-derived rear wing which increases drag, the improved levels of downforce give considerable advantage to cornering performance.
The Sultan of Brunei reportedly purchased two of the five LMs, with special black paint. Don't expect any F1 LMs at market any time soon, but if they did appear, they'd be at the top of this list.
31 – 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider (US$8,250,000)
31 – 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo Roadster (US$8,250,000)
It's little surprise that this 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S fetched a price of US$8,250,000 at auction, having Best of Show title at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The bodywork was designed by famous French coachbuilder Jacques Saoutchik, captured the hearts of the judges, who named it the finest vehicle on display at the prestigious event – quite some honour considering the company.
The low-slung torpedo roadster body by Carrosserie J. Saoutchik, of Paris, is a perfect example of coachbuilding of the late 1920s. It showcases some of the more exotic materials available to the coachbuilders of the day. The hides used to create the lizard skin interior were supplied by Alpina, a company that sourced products from the French colonies in Southeast Asia. The beautiful trim wood, known as Purpleheart, was also sourced out of the French colonies in South America.
Establishing himself by creating stylish designs coupled with high-quality workmanship, Saoutchik took many risks with design and materials. Nicknamed the “Viollet-le-Duc,” after a famously creative French architect, he was obsessed by form and often used brightwork appliqué to highlight the strong lines of his coachwork.
His background as a cabinet maker is evidenced in the tight tolerances and body panel fits that can be seen on his creations. One of his favoured design features, the disappearing top, provides an elegant and innovative solution to hide the convertible top.
33 – 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione (US$8,140,000)
In the finest tradition of Ferrari’s dual-purpose road and racing berlinettas, the new 250 GT SWB was a tractable and well-mannered daily driver about town, but it was a veritable beast in a race, where the ever more powerfully-tuned Colombo V-12 and revised rear suspension delivered unprecedented performance.
Competition-specification cars with additionally uprated engines and lighweight alloy aluminum bodies were immediately made available for racing customers, 43 of these competizione examples were made in the model’s first year of production, 1960. (Just two SWB examples were produced in late-1959, the show cars of Paris and Torino.)
The SWB immediately fulfilled the legacy of its LWB predecessor, claiming victories at the Tour de France from 1960 to 1962, and at the RAC Tourist Trophy classic races at Goodwood in 1960 and 1961, where famed driver Stirling Moss was overwhelming in his praise of the car. “As a grand touring car for really serious road racing,” he later recalled of the SWB, “it was quite difficult to fault, in fact.”
34 – 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster (US$8,106,150)
Mercedes-Benz built 406 of its powerful, massive 540K models and only 26 of them were the sleek, luxurious, imposing Special Roadsters such as this 1937 model. One of the most striking variations on the Special Roadster theme, it is the high-door, long-tail version with exposed spare wheels and tyres built into the rear deck. The car was delivered new through Mercedes-Benz UK in 1937 to Sir John Chubb, of the lock family.
After the war, the ownership of this car changed hands several times, crossing the Atlantic twice and along the way picking up an Antique Automobile Club of America National First Place award in 1987 and a first in class award at Pebble Beach in 1988.
It became part of the Bernie Ecclestone Collection in 1995 and was sold by RM/Sothebys for US$8,252,201 in October, 2007.
35 – 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante Coupe (US$7,920,000)
36 – 1929 4½-Litre Supercharged 'Blower' Bentley Single-Seater (US$7,906,745)
The Blower Bentley in main and top right on the Brooklands banking. Top left is two-time Le Mans winner Sir Henry Birkit and many-time land speed record holder Malcolm Campbell, waiting for a race to get underway.
This 1929 4½-Litre "Blower" (supercharged) Bentley has a provenance of the highest order, having broken the Brooklands outer circuit lap record in 1931, been owned by the famous horseracing and motorsport identity Dorothy Paget, and campaigned by the diminutive Bentley-driving Baronet, Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin.
Birkin combined his "Bentley Boy" high-society image with a fearless driving talent and was the hero of a generation of British motor racing enthusiasts. "Tiger Tim's" militarily-moustachioed, be-goggled figure, in his neat wind cap, often with a polka-dot scarf fluttering in the slipstream, personified an English ideal. This so-British hero became the absolute epitome of Imperial power, speed and daring ... full story here .
37 – 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione "Tour de France" (US$7,862,554)
38 – 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB / C by Scaglietti (US$7,860,285)
The ninth of 12 examples of the Ferrari 275 GTB / C produced and perhaps the finest, most original example of its kind. Fully matching numbers with Ferrari Classiche certification.
39 – 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider (US$7,700,000)
One of only 50 Long Wheelbase California Spiders ever built, this car is not a perfectly restored example of one of Ferrari’s most sought-after models, but a car that was purchased 45 years ago by the late Jack Caster, and driven regularly until the well-known collector passed away. Castor also owned Elvis Presley’s BMW 507.
In an article in Forza magazine, Jack said of the car, “I drive this car now far more than I did back when I first bought it. Most Cal Spiders are restored, perfect, and are trucked to shows. I like this one the way it is, so I don’t have to worry about getting a scratch. I can just drive it and enjoy it.”
Despite his relatively modest means, Jack Castor sold his VW Beetle in 1972 and took out a loan to buy the Ferrari for US$2950 (with shipping from Italy and import duties, it cost him $3,750) because he was so taken with the model.
Over the years, he happily rebuffed countless written and verbal offers to purchase the Ferrari. As letters arrived in his mailbox, promising ever-increasing sums of money in exchange for the California Spider, Jack politely dismissed each offer, telling hopeful suitors that he would prefer to drive and enjoy his car.
Although more than 55 years have passed since it left the factory, 1425 GT has never warranted a full restoration. Simply maintained as required, the Ferrari is largely unchanged since Jack Castor acquired it over 45 years ago. Still wearing its late 1960s red paint and original black leather upholstery, this California Spider possesses a glorious, irreplaceable patina that is sure to resonate with sophisticated collectors.
The late Jack Castor’s 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider sold at auction on January 16 for $7,700,000.
40 – 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe (US$7,685,000)
The second most expensive "movie car" in history, though to be fair, it's a car with an impeccable race history and world championship in its own right that just happened to have also been used in a film – the immense price this car fetched at auction can almost entirely be attributed to its racing provenance.
This 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe is one of Carroll Shelby's Daytona Cobras which was used to win the F.I.A. (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) World Manufacturers Championship for GT cars in 1965.