It’s no secret that collector cars can be expensive… but some classic cars truly break the bank.
These rare beauties fetch more at auction than gold, fine wine or even fine art. Some vintage cars sell for tens of millions of dollars, with new records being set each year.
Let’s take a look at five of the most expensive classic car auction sales in history.
5. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S NART Spider
When the Ferrari 275 GTB/4S NART Spider hit the production line in 1967, only 10 of the original 25 planned were ever produced. The sporty car NART Spider featured a 3.3 L V-12 engine with 300 horsepower. Perhaps ironically, production was halted due to lack of demand.
But one buyer purchased a NART Spider in 1968 for $8,000 and hung onto it for decades, even reportedly turning down offers from actor Steve McQueen. When the owner passed away in 2013, he left the Spider to his son, who then sold it for over $27 million.
4. 1956 Ferrari 290 MM
Four of these beautiful sports cars were designed to compete in and named for the Mille Miglia (hence, MM). The 290 MM won the race in 1956, with a 3.5 L V-12 engine that offers 320 horsepower and a powerful punch.
Today, only three 290 MMs exist. One was auctioned for $28 million in 2015, and another sold for $22 million in 2018. Some say the 290 MM has appreciated in value more than almost any other classic car.
3. 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Silver Arrow
For a short while, the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Silver Arrow made racing history, displacing the monopoly held by Ferrari and Maserati. This Formula One car won the 1954 and 1955 World Championships. In 2013, a Silver Arrow driven by Juan Manuel Fangio sold at auction for almost $32 million.
With its 2.5 L straight-8 engine, the Silver Arrow harnessed 290 horsepower with a top speed up to 186 mph. It also featured cutting edge design for the time, with a fuel injection-calibrated motor, four-stroke engine, dedicated gas exhaust, and dual actuators.
Unfortunately, a Silver Arrow crashed into another race car during the 24 Hours Le Mans. Debris flew into the stands and killed 83 spectators, leading Mercedes to halt its racing activities for almost three decades.
2. 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider
With its curving, graceful lines designed by Scagletti, the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider was certainly a sight to behold. Under the hood, a 4.1-liter V12 provided 390 horsepower.
Only four of these iconic classic cars were ever built. One of them sold at a 2016 Paris auction for more than $37 million.
This car has somewhat of a checkered past. In 1957, a Spider’s tire exploded during the Mille Miglia. The car flew off the road and killed several race spectators, as well as the car’s driver and navigator.
1. 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO
And that brings us to the most expensive collector car sold at auction (thus far, anyway). Not surprisingly, it’s a Ferrari 250 GTO, this time from 1963.
With a production line of only 36 cars, the ’63 250 GTO is among the rarest of the rare. Popular Mechanics recently named it the “Coolest Car of All Time,” thanks to its exotic shape and amazing 3.0-liter V-12.
In 2018, the ’63 Ferrari 250 GTO also became the most expensive car of all time. David MacNeil, founder of Weather Tech, bought one at auction for a mind-blowing $70 million.
Note: 1962 Ferrari 250 GTOs take the second and third most expensive classic car award, selling for over $49 million in 2018 and over $40 million in 2014.
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