Revealed: The world’s most expensive classic cars sold at auction
As all car lovers know, purchasing a classic car is about much more than getting around in style. It’s owning a piece of motoring history – and getting to hear the sound of a vintage engine rumbling into life. But as well as being a piece of art, buying a vintage car can be a good investment. That’s why MoneySuperMarket have commissioned some research into the most valuable car sales of all time.
Research has shown that classic cars are the best investment for returns, with as much as a 28 per cent return over 12 months – and 467 per cent over 10 years. Car buyers have, accordingly, been willing to put a lot of money behind some truly iconic cars. But which ones have sold for the most?
Driving a Hard Bargain
While the top prices are primarily dominated by some valuable, vintage Ferraris, these were the top models from each manufacturer when it came to auction sales:
1. Ferrari 250 GTO – Built in 1962, only 36 were made (excluding the “330 GTO” specials built with the 250 GTO chassis and body). This one, made specifically for Formula One racer Sir Stirling Moss, sold for a stunning $48,405,000 (£36,755,611) in 2018.
2. Mercedes Benz W196 – A former Formula One frequenter, the 1954 W196 won nine of the 12 races it entered, and justly earned its seller $29,600,000 (£22,476,316) in 2013.
3. Aston Martin DBR1 – One of three race cars to have actually claimed victory in both the 1958 World Sports Car Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours. In 2017 this car was sold for $22,550,000 (£17,123,004).
4. Jaguar D-Type – A conqueror of Le Mans in 1955, 56, and 57, the Jaguar D-Type would be hard to miss on the road even without the eye-watering price tag of $21,780,000 (£16,538,316), recorded at auction in August 2016.
5. Duesenberg SSJ – Previously owned by actor Gary Cooper, this 1935 Duesenberg SSJ was sold for $22,000,000 (£16,705,370) in 2018.
6. Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe – The Royale Kellner Coupe is a stately vehicle, but under its hood it packs one of the largest engines to ever feature in a car. It’s worth its weight in cash, though, as it sold for $9,800,000 (£7,441,483) in 1987, which would be about $21,110,000 (£16,029,562) today.
Sales Over the Years
As well as the top sellers, the piece includes a detailed graph showing how the sales are distributed across the years – showing a peak in high sales most recently, with the most expensive cars having been developed around 1960.
Prices to Drive a Person Batty
Additionally included in the research was the sale of the original Adam West Batmobile. The story goes that the Lincoln Futura Concept car, having been produced for $250,000, was sold to auto customiser George Barris for only $1.
Years later, when he was asked to design the Batmobile, the car became an investment – and an icon for Batman lovers everywhere. When it was sold as a collector piece in 2013, it proved a good deal more valuable than $1 – at $4,620,000 (£3,562,616).