Are These The 5 Most Expensive Cars Ever

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Auction sales are exciting, especially when billionaires are circling and prices are rising by hundreds of thousands with each new bid. So what commodity attracts such interest? Not property or fine art, but cars.

Prices for some of the world’s rarest automotive creations have gone off the scale in recent years; they’re clearly great investments, so it’s not surprising that the world’s wealthiest people are bidding.

Rare Ferraris attract the most attention, and account for nine out of the top 10 priciest models to go under the hammer. But for a bit of variety, we cast the net a bit wider as we reveal five of the most expensive cars sold in the world ever.

Rare Ferraris command silly money
Rare Ferraris command silly money

Ferrari 250 GTO

Nothing gets a billionaire car collector’s wallet twitching like an ultra-rare model wearing the famous prancing horse badge. Topping the list is a Ferrari 250 GTO, which fetched a staggering $38million-plus (£22,843,633) at a Bonhams auction in 2014.

Fewer than 40 GTOs were ever produced, which only adds to the appeal. So whenever one changes hands it’s surely guaranteed to become one of the world’s most expensive cars. This particular example was the 19th, and seems to have been valued so highly because it had such an impressive record over its 40 years of racing.

In fact, strong competition history always adds a few zeroes to Ferrari sale prices at auction. Closely behind the 250 GTO was a gorgeous 335 Scaglietti, sold in Paris in February 2016 for $35,711,359 (£24.7million), which had an equally strong heritage. And a host of other competition Ferraris from the 1950s and 1960s rounds out the definitive top 10.

The right Mercedes can cost a fortune
The right Mercedes can cost a fortune

Mercedes W196

Wealthy enthusiasts can see beyond Ferraris, and a Mercedes raced by the late, great Juan-Manuel Fangio makes it into second place in our top five. Such is the aura surrounding the five-time Formula One world champion’s stunning W196 grand prix car that it almost leaves the likes of the old A-Class and C-Class looking unworthy of the three-pointed star badge. It went under the hammer for $29.6million (£17.5million) at a Bonhams auction held at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex.

This car puts Mercedes’ current Formula One superiority into perspective. It started 12 grands prix back in the 1950s and won nine, and dominated the other three. This was the first fuel-injected F1 racer, and only 14 were ever built. Amazingly, 10 still exist, although Mercedes owns six of them, and the other three are in museums.

This partly explains the price, but so does the car’s authenticity. Not only was the W196 raced by Fangio – widely regarded as the greatest F1 driver ever – but it was still covered in oil, grime and dead bugs from the last time it was driven.

British beauty
British beauty

Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato

An Aston Martin is a rare sight at the best of times, but this is the rarest of Aston Martins. Only 19 examples of the DB4GT were tailor-made by coachbuilder Zagato in the early 1960s, and number 14 – which looks very similar to the car in our pictures – fetched a staggering $14.3million (£9.45million) when it went under the hammer at an RM Auctions sale in New York in December 2015.

The car had been the only example delivered new to Australia in 1962, and with its 314bhp 3.7-litre six-cylinder engine it enjoyed considerable racing success. It remained Down Under until 1993, when it returned to the UK, and after a few more years on the classic racing circuit, it underwent a painstaking restoration.

The attention to detail lavished on the car, combined with its impeccable racing pedigree and sheer exclusivity, means the price is only likely to rise. And if any more Aston MartinDB4GT Zagatos come on to the market, you can expect investors to push prices closer to the $20million mark.

Gordon Murray's maserpiece
Gordon Murray’s maserpiece

McLaren F1 LM

The McLaren F1 needs no introduction. It’s a seminal car in British automotive history, and as only 100 were ever produced, just under three-quarters of which were roadgoing models, it’s no surprise values are now stratospheric. But the $13.75million (£8.8million) paid at an RM Auctions sale in 2015 for one of the last examples ever built still raises eyebrows.

This was chassis number 73, and the previous owner had sent it back to the McLaren factory to be converted to LM specification. That meant an upgrade to take power up to the 691bhp of the F1 GTRs that raced at Le Mans, as well as an increase in downforce.

Yet this car was different from factory-supplied F1 LMs, as it retained the creature comforts of the regular model (pictured) – which could explain the inflated price.

The car that put Ferrari in its place
The car that put Ferrari in its place

Ford GT40

With the imminent launch of a new Ford GT, you can expect values of the previous version, built between 2004 and 2006, to creep up due to a spike in interest. What examples of the 1960s original Ford GT40 are worth these days doesn’t bear thinking about. But the Bonhams auction sale in 2012 of a stunning race-spec version gives you an idea.

Unlike the example in our picture, the auction model was a lightweight Gulf/Mirage race car, finished in competition livery. But the main reason for the $11million (around £7million) final price, once again, was the car’s history.

Not only did this GT40 have racing heritage, it had been used as a camera car in the legendary 1971 movie, Le Mans. As with some other stars of the auction rooms in recent years, the Steve McQueen effect boosted the price significantly.

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