The top 100 most expensive cars of all time (part 5)

We've assembled the list of the 100 most expensive cars ever sold at auction.




Below is "The top 100 most expensive cars of all time (part 5)":

81 – 1955 Jaguar D-Type (US$4,996,248)

The seventh customer Jaguar D-Type produced, this highly original example was delivered new to Australia where it was campaigned by four-time Australian Drivers' Champion Bib Stillwell and subsequently owned by 1970 Le Mans winner Richard Attwood.

82 – 1960 Jaguar E2A (US$4,957,000)

By 1960 Jaguar had won the Le Mans 24-Hours, no fewer than five times; twice with its original competition-tailored C-Type and three times with the tail-finned D-Type. Sir William Lyons then decreed it was time to translate this sporting pedigree into a production car with an all-new semi-monocoque chassis. This new car would emerge in 1961 as the now legendary Jaguar E-Type.

One prototype was produced. This car is the "missing link" between the D-Type and E-Type, the E2A, a powerful fuel-injected 3-liter sports-racing two-seater.

This unique and celebrated prototype Jaguar E2A was driven by no fewer than four of the world’s greatest racing drivers, Dan Gurney, Sir Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren and Walt Hansgen. https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/16133/lot/364/.

83 – 1960 Ferrari 250 SWB California Spider (US$4,950,000)


83 – 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Competizione Spider (US$4,950,000)

This 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Competizione Spider finished fifth overall in the 1959 Le Mans 24 Hour Race, placing third in the GT class. It went on to race successfully in America and in other international events.

85 – 1939 Talbot-Lago T150C SS Teardrop coupe (US$4,847,000)

There were four Talbot-Lago T150 C SSs with Pourtout Aerocoupé bodies made. Two are in private collections and there are shadowy rumors of another in pieces, although no one has seen so much as a picture. The last is offered here, and is the perfect storm of exceptional provenance.

Begun as war clouds gathered in 1939, it was not seen complete until the conflagration was over. It was built to plans drawn by a legendary designer, and assembled by one of France’s premier coachbuilders. After the war, the Talbot was owned by a wealthy gentleman driver who drove it to many victories on the road courses of France. It was sold in original condition, showing the makeshift field modifications that racing sometimes demands.

86 – 1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Competizione (US$4,840,000)

This car is one of the rarest and most important post-war Alfa Romeos known. It is one of only two factory-made sports cars developed for the 1948 racing season, and successfully campaigned by legendary driver Franco Rol for four seasons, participating in the Mille Miglia on four consecutive occasions, Targa Florio three times and other important Italian events including Pescara and Coppa D’Oro delle Dolomiti.

Decades later, the 6C 2500 was unearthed in France as part of Michel Dovaz’s "Sleeping Beauties" collection. This remarkable, superbly-restored and authentic alloy-bodied Alfa Romeo is equipped with a twin-cam six cylinder engine, triple Weber dual-throat carburettors and a dry sump oil system.

This 1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Competizione is one of the rarest and most important post-war Alfa Romeos known. It is one of only two factory-made sports cars developed for the 1948 racing season, and successfully campaigned by legendary driver Franco Rol for four seasons, participating in the Mille Miglia on four consecutive occasions, Targa Florio three times and other important Italian events including Pescara and Coppa D’Oro delle Dolomiti.

87 – 1956 Maserati 450S Prototype by Fantuzzi (US$4,816,558)

This car, dubbed the "bazooka" by Juan Manuel Fangio and also driven by Sterling Moss, is the prototype of the legendary 450S Maserati. A remarkable history.It sold for EUR 3,500,000 (US$4,816,558) at RM Auctions Monte Carlo auction in 2014.

88 – 1952 Jaguar C-Type (US$4,769,837)

For many connoisseurs the discretely beautiful lines of the early-1950s Jaguar C-Type sports-racing car define the period. The original works-entered C-Type Jaguars won the Le Mans 24-Hour race in 1951, and the thin-gauge bodied, Weber-carbureted "Lightweight" C-Type works cars of 1953 won again.

Some 54 C-Types were manufactured in all, the majority of course for customer sale, leaving the model more rare than examples of the replacement D-Type family. The 1952 C-Type offered here was raced by the Ecurie Ecosse racing team and campaigned throughout 1953.

Raced by Jimmy Stewart (older brother of three-times World Champ Jackie), Ninian Sanderson, Jock Lawrence, Sir James Scott-Douglas and Frank Curtis, the entire history of the car can be read at the official Bonhams auction page.

89 – 1955 Ferrari 375 MM Berlinetta (US$4,757,424)

This car’s first public outing was on the Ferrari stand at the Turin Motor Show from April 21 to May 1, 1955. It is the last of the 24 375 MM built, and one of only ten 375 MM Berlinettas, featuring a one-off Pinin Farina body that foreshadows the subsequent Tour de France model in many ways.

Unlike many of its sister cars, this brutally fast 340 hp V-12 engined Berlinetta has never been raced. It was fully restored in 2004 by Wayne Obry’s Motion Products of Wisconsin, shown at the most exclusive events (Pebble Beach, The Quail, Cavallino Classic, Villa d’Este) and has been a class winner at Pebble Beach in 2004 and the Cavallino Classic in 2005. It is fully documented by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini.

The car was sold for EUR 3,136,000 (US$4,757,424) in May, 2011 by RM Auctions.

90 – 1953 Ferrari 340 MM Spider (US$4,730,000)

The 340 MM was the ultimate variant of the 340 series, which began in 1950 with the 340 America. A rare Ferrari indeed, Sherman Wolf’s 0350 AM is the last of ten 340 MMs as well as the last of five 340 MM Spiders bodied by Vignale.

This car was sold new, in a two-tone American racing scheme, to Sterling Edwards, a famous California sportsman and chairman of the Pebble Beach Road Races Committee. After picking up the car in Italy while on his honeymoon, Edwards returned to the US and raced it throughout 1953 and 1954, winning at Pebble Beach, Palm Springs, Stead AFB and Seafair.

In 1955, Los Angeles race car driver Tom Bamford purchased the 340 MM, which he drove in local races through 1955.

Sherman Wolf gained ownership of the Ferrari in 1984 and enjoyed taking it on long-distance tours, including the Mille Miglia Storica and Colorado Grand.

91 – 1931 Bentley 4.0 Litre Supercharged Le Mans (US$4,647,500)

Representing the epitome of 1930s "Boys Own" motoring, this fabulous original Bentley Blower embodies every ounce of the Bentley, Birkin, Barnato and Le Mans spirit and does so, because it was built that way.

In the words of recognized marque historian Dr. Clare Hay, this car (MS 3944) is a "rarity among rarities", being one of only three of the 50 production supercharged Bentleys recorded by the factory as having a Le Mans chassis on their build sheets.

92 – 1956 Maserati 250F (US$4,620,000)

This remarkable Maserati was triumphant in its inaugural outing in the hands of Stirling Moss in the 1956 Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Moss beat Juan Manuel Fangio (Lancia-Ferrari) by 5.7 seconds to take the win, but Fangio won his fourth drivers' title through his second place.

As documented by included paperwork from the Maserati archives, on November 16, 1956, the car was then sold to American racing team owner Tony Parravano and subsequently became part of the collection owned by Sir Anthony Bamford, then ownership moved through a who’s who of Italian competition machinery aficionados. This car has been in good hands since the very beginnings of its life and has been lavished with the utmost care throughout. It will likely become one of the top 100 most valuable cars ever sold at auction during this sale.

92 – 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Long Nose Alloy (US$4,620,000)

Almost all of the cars on this list have a history as interesting as the car itself. This one is no exception. In order to get to the detailed notes on each car inside Gooding & Co, you need to register, but it's more than worth the effort.

This car's first owner, was Haitian diplomat Albert Silvera, one of the wealthiest and most influential people in Haiti. Silvera was Haiti’s ambassador-at-large for as long as anyone could remember. No matter who was in power since the 1940s, Silvera used his wealth to charm his way into their circle.

A glamorous, old-world gentleman, Silvera maintained residences in Port-au- Prince, Paris, and Miami. He was almost never seen without his signature white linen suit and a cigarette in hand. In 1950, Silvera turned his private estate in Pétionville into the glamorous El Rancho Hotel, a popular jet-set destination frequented by celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger, and André Malraux.

Over the years, Silvera owned a variety of beautiful machines: Riva boats, top-of-the-line Rolls-Royce motorcars, and a seemingly endless succession of spectacular Italian sports cars, including Lamborghinis such as a Miura SVJ, an Espada, and three Countaches, plus a succession of Ferraris including an 250 SWB Berlinetta, a 275 GTB/4, two Berlinetta Boxers, and this alloy-bodied 275 GTB.

92 – 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Berlinetta (US$4,620,000)

In 1956, this car was featured in the classic Italian film La Fortuna di Essere Donna starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni and set in Rome. The film was released in the United States under the titles Lucky To Be A Woman and What A Woman!

The fifth of only seven examples of a 340 hp V12 racing car built specifically for use in events such as the Mille Miglia (the MM in its name), it's price has almost nothing to do with its film appearance. This is a rare and valuable car in its own right. It was never raced and sold for US$4,620,000 with a fully documented history at Pebble Beach in 2010.

92 – 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL (US$4,620,000)

The rarest and most desirable of all 300 SL Mercedes-Benz, this car is the sixth of 29 aluminum-bodied 300 SL Gullwings built, it was sold with numerous competition-born features, Rudge wheels, belly pans and luggage, original matching numbers and had just had a major refurbishment by Rudi & Co.Numerous awards at concours events.

92 – The Batmobile (from 1966 TV Series) (US$4,620,000)

While the cars above it on this list may have sold for more money, the Batmobile is one of the most significant automobiles in the history of moving pictures and heavily influenced society's relationship with the automobile. It began a trend of using motor vehicles as stars or co-stars in television series, a trend which has since spawned a substantial industry and many television series and movies.

The car we know as the original Batmobile began life as a concept car: the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, created by Ford and the Lincoln Styling Department. The 19-foot long, two-seat, grand touring car prototype was hand-built in 1954 by Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy, and unveiled with pearlescent Frost-Blue livery at the 1955 Chicago Auto Show.

The Futura's instruments were housed in the steering wheel, had a push-button transmission, exterior microphones to pick up and transmit the sounds of traffic to the occupants inside, and a host of the forward-thinking features and technologies which automakers traditionally deploy in concept cars to evaluate public reaction, and to promote the automaker's R&D prowess.

As we pointed out when writing up the forthcoming auction of this car, the use of external microphones to transmit ambient noise to the occupants is exactly the opposite of today where automakers go to great lengths to block out such sounds.

In 1959, sporting a fresh red paint job, the Futura was recycled into another feature film, It Started with a Kiss, starring Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford. The Futura even appeared on the movie's poster.

George Barris then acquired the vehicle and kept it in his garage for several years. In late 1965, 20th Century Fox Television and William Dozier’s Greenway Productions contacted Barris and asked him to produce a car for the heroes to drive in an upcoming television series based on the super successful Batman comic book series. An extensive history of the Batmobile and this vehicle can be found on our article covering the most expensive movie & TV cars.

92 – 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster (US$4,620,000)

Mercedes-Benz’s success with the 500 K, aided by the continuing defaults of its sporting luxury competitors as the Great Depression worked its way through society, politics, royalty and finance, encouraged the introduction in 1936 of the 540 K.

Regarded by many, and respected by all, as the high point of the Classic Era’s great chassis, engine and coachwork combinations, the Mercedes-Benz 540 K reflected the restless pursuit of perfection by Mercedes-Benz engineers, technicians and craftsmen and by the coachbuilders of Sindelfingen.

92 – 1884 De Dion, Bouton et Trépardoux Dos-à-Dos Steam Runabout La Marquise (US$4,620,000)

By far the most historically significant vehicle on this list, this is the oldest running motor car in the world, turning 130 years of age in October, 2014. It is Count Jules-Albert de Dion's prototype quadricycle of 1884, having been built the year before Karl Benz and Gottleib Daimler invented the internal combustion engine. Remarkably, it fetched only US$4,620,000 in 2011, and will no doubt be worth considerably more at some future point.

Dubbed "La Marquise," after the Count’s mother, this quadricycle drives the back wheels through connecting rods, the same principle as the Hilderbrand & Wolfmuller motorcycle.

This quadricycle is also the world's first family car, as it carried four passengers dos-a-dos and unlike its predecessors dating back to Cugnot’s tractor of 1770, it still works.

Writer David Burgess-Wise examined La Marquise closely for Automobile Quarterly in 1995. He pointed out that it is both De Dion’s prototype quadricycle and the oldest running real car in private hands, so its credentials are unmatched.

"The only older functioning vehicle is the 1875 Grenville," (basically a powered gun carriage), he said. "Amedee Bollee’s ‘L’Obesissant’ of 1872, now in the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers in Paris, was working in 1923 and presumably could be got working again, but the museum doesn’t normally run its exhibits. There’s the chassis of the 1830 Gurney Drag in the Glasgow Museum, and the 1854 Bordino steam coach in the Turn museum is apparently complete, but neither is likely to run again."

The vehicle has a very sophisticated boiler, at least for it's day, which can be steamed in 45 minutes. It is also compact at only nine feet long and relatively light at 2,100 pounds. But, it has four wheels, seats four, and can be driven by one person, like a modern car.

This vehicle won, indeed, was the only participant in the world's first motor race which was run from the Pont de Neuilly (Paris) to Versailles and back in 1887 (pictured above). The course of 32 km was covered in 1 hour and 14 minutes with De Dion and Bouton sharing the driving, meaning the world's first auto race was won at an average speed of 25.9 km/h, reportedly topping out at 60 km/h on the straights. The next year, De Dion again used La Marquise to beat Bouton on a three-wheeler, at an average of 28.9 km/h. Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the car's range is almost exactly the distance of that "race."

There's a video about this remarkable vehicle and you can read the full story is on the official RM Auctions page. The car was previously auctioned in 2007 by Gooding & Co at Pebble Beach in 2007, selling for US$3,520,000.

92 – 1938 Talbot-Lago T150C Lago Speciale Teardrop Coupe (US$4,620,000)

Beautiful and functional, this 1938 Talbot-Lago T150C Lago Speciale Teardrop Coupe not only features stunning streamlined Figoni et Falaschi coachwork, but also won its class in the 1948 24 Hours of Spa.

After taking control of Talbot in 1935, Anthony Lago renamed the French-based enterprise Talbot-Lago. He immediately hired an engineer named Walter Brecchia, and together they created the first Talbot-Lago, based on a Talbot-Darracq three-liter Type K78.

Brecchia’s next engine proved brilliant. Based on the six-cylinder K78 block, displacement grew to four liters, and a new cylinder head dramatically improved breathing and volumetric efficiency. The hemispherical-head design featured a valvetrain actuated by a low-set camshaft with crossed pushrods, acting through both long and short rocker arms. The engine developed 140 hp, and initially, it breathed through twin Solex carburetors.

A consummate salesman, Lago persuaded French racing great René Dreyfus to manage his new Talbot-Lago race team. Dreyfus delivered in June of 1936 at the French Grand Prix at Montlhéry, when Lago asked him to "stay ahead of the Bugattis for as long as you can." All three Talbot-Lagos finished in the top ten, running toe-to-toe with the Bugattis before mechanical problems slowed them near the end.

The next year, Talbot-Lagos placed first, second, third and fifth at the 1937 French Grand Prix. Victories continued with a win at Tourist Trophy races at Donnington Park and a first place in the 1938 Monte Carlo Rally. While the Talbot-Lago racing cars were outclassed by the omnipotent German Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union GP cars during the late 1930s, the Talbot-Lagos were uncannily reliable and often finished surprisingly well.

Lago’s greatest achievement remains without doubt the Talbot-Lago T150-C chassis, with the “C” standing for competition – a clear reference to the car’s racing success. Features such as a large capacity oil pan, punched handbrake lever, a dual braking system, and a higher compression ratio were taken directly from the racing program. Two versions were offered. The first, designated SS (taken from the English phrase "Super Sport") referred to a short-wheelbase chassis, designed for elegant two- or three-place coachwork.

A second, somewhat longer (2.95 m) chassis was also offered, called the "Lago Speciale." Mechanically identical to the SS, it was intended to accommodate more luxurious coachwork. In fact, the weight difference was just 130 kg, and the performance of the new four-liter engine was great enough that many owners raced their Lago Speciales as well. Both chassis offered exceptional handling, a result of the car’s independent front suspension with its advanced geometry, along with light weight and excellent brakes.

This car is the only long-wheelbase Lago Speciale Teardrop Coupe in existence.

100 – 1964 Aston Martin DB5 (US$4,595,998)
An original United Artists publicity photo for the 1964 feature film Goldfinger. Sean Connery is pictured with this Aston Martin DB5 which we wrote up at the time of the auction. One of the most expensive movie cars ever to have sold at auction.

When Ian Fleming created James Bond for his novel Casino Royale in 1953, he unwittingly set the imagination of a generation in motion. Bond was made famous by the film franchise (the longest continually running and second-highest grossing film series ever), and the almost–believable fictional super hero combined girls, guns and gadgets.

The car which set this price (US$4,620,000) is the original and most memorable of 007’s gadget-festooned automobiles, the Aston Martin DB5 which starred in the films Thunderball and Goldfinger, is to be sold at auction. It was possibly the most famous automobile in the world during the 1960s when Fleming’s books became box office hits, and the highly-modified 1964 model Aston Martin which was presented by gadgetmeister Q to Sean Connery (Bond) in the movie Goldfinger has an extraordinary tale to tell.

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